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Coaches expect top players to participate

2/18/2004

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe and
Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison will coach the U.S. Olympic tennis
players at the Athens Games.
Garrison hopes her team will include the Williams sisters, who
have been battling injuries since July.
"My first concern is about their health, as it is with all of
the U.S. players,'' Garrison said Wednesday. "But I can tell you
they are very excited about the possibility of playing in the
Olympics and they want to play.''
With just one exception since 1988, the Davis Cup and Fed Cup
captains have led American tennis players at the Olympics.
In 2000, McEnroe's brother, John, was the Davis Cup captain but
turned down the Olympic job and was replaced by Stan Smith. At
those Sydney Games, the U.S. men failed to win a medal in singles
or doubles.
But that wasn't exactly a star-studded squad, with Pete Sampras
and Andre Agassi sitting out. Michael Chang, Todd Martin, Vince
Spadea and Jeff Tarango went a combined 1-4 in singles play, while
the doubles team of Alex O'Brien and Jared Palmer lost their
opening match.
The team for this August's Olympics should be much stronger,
with U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick and the top-ranked doubles
team of twins Bob and Mike Bryan expected to compete.
The American women fared much better in 2000, with Venus
Williams winning the singles gold medal and pairing with younger
sister Serena to win the doubles title. Also, Monica Seles won the
bronze in singles.
Serena Williams had knee surgery in August and hasn't played
since beating her sister in the Wimbledon final. Venus Williams
returned to action at the Australian Open after six months off with
a stomach muscle injury. But she has pulled out of two tournaments
since Australia with a hurt knee.