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Williams Sisters, Nadal Set to Defend Olympic Titles in London

Venus and Serena Williams of the U.S. and Spain’s Rafael Nadal will have the chance to defend their Olympic tennis titles after being named among the players competing at this year’s Games.

Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, winners of the men’s doubles in Beijing in 2008, will also compete again together on the grass courts of Wimbledon as part of the Swiss team.

Nineteen of the current top 20 in both the men’s and women’s singles rankings are scheduled to play, with only Mardy Fish of the U.S. and France’s Marion Bartoli missing out. Russia’s Elena Dementieva has retired and won’t be defending the women’s singles title.

“We are delighted to see the strongest ever field in the history of the Olympic tennis event,” International Tennis Federation President Francesco Ricci Bitti said in a statement. “Since tennis’s return to the Olympics in 1988, the event has continued to grow at each games, with the current generation of players all embracing this unique opportunity to represent their country.”

The Williams sisters have been included for both the singles competition and the doubles, which they won last time. They have strong records at the All England Club, with Venus taking the singles title five times and Serena four times.

Nadal, an 11-time Grand Slam champion, has won twice at Wimbledon and was runner-up to current top-ranked Novak Djokovic last year. Serbia’s Djokovic won the Olympic bronze medal four years ago.

There are 64 entries for each of the singles tournaments at the Olympics, with a limit of four players for each country per gender. The doubles events, including mixed doubles for the first time since 1924, will have 32 teams.

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