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Are Olympic medals in tennis equally or even more valuable than Grand Slam titles?

The Olympic Games are just around the corner and all the tennis players who have qualified are excited about joining the biggest sporting event in the world, while those left behind are dreaming about being able to play the next time. Now I'd like to ask you: Do you think the Olympic Tennis Event is at par with Grand Slams or do you see the gold medal as less important than a Grand Slam trophy?

Here's what WTA players are saying:

It’s getting closer and closer. I’m getting little butterflies in my stomach. As a tennis player, you get to play Grand Slams what seems every other week. You don’t think about the Olympics. It’s an added bonus. – SERENA WILLIAMS, 2000 and 2008 gold medalist with sister Venus in the women’s doubles

The Olympics is one of my biggest goals. Growing up, the Olympics was a huge part of our culture, so I can’t wait to be an Olympian. – MARIA SHARAPOVA, Russia's first female flag-bearer

The moment when I was handed the Olympic torch was one of the most emotional and amazing moments of my life, let alone my career. – ELENA BALTACHA, Britain's No.4

From my point of view, even though the Olympics are without a doubt overall the biggest sports event, in the case of tennis, I find Grand Slam titles more important than an Olympic gold medal, even though I can absolutely understand how special the Olympic event is and how amazing it must be to win a medal there.

The Olympics are more exclusive because they come around once every four years, but at Grand Slams the draws are larger (players have to win one match extra to win a title) and at Grand Slams players earn more rankings points (at the Olympics gold medalist receives 685 rankings points, while Grand Slam champions get 2000).

Your thoughts? Feel free to share your perspective in the comments below.

Marine, thanks for the inspiration for this article!

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15 thoughts on “Are Olympic medals in tennis equally or even more valuable than Grand Slam titles?

  1. James

    Interesting article :-)

    I think Grand Slams are the most important, but the Olympics is something special and you can tell that most of the players are regarding it very highly. It definitely deserves more ranking points!

  2. Jean

    Glory and national pride are the prizes, not money,so it's a very special competition. I do not agree that there should be more ranking points; none at all, in my opinion. The Olympics are primarily amateur competitions, so national pride and glory are what the athletes compete for, which I think is most appropriate. In fact, Elena Dementieva once said that winning a gold medal (2008) for her country meant more to her than winning a grand slam, although in 2004 she reached the finals of both the US Open and the French Open.

  3. Des Platt

    I think it is a total none sense. I've read a couple of articles in the last week both saying that if the Olympics isn't the pinnacle of the sport , it should not be played in the Olympics. As James said , Grand Slams are more important and that is end of discussion for me. It shouldn't be in the Olympics and I have no interest at all in it

  4. John Bolan

    Tell Elena Dementieva the Olympics aren't more important than a Grand Slam. No one trained like she did to win Olympic Gold four years ago. Not only did she skip excellent tournaments to practice in hot and humid Florida (to match the weather in China) she dedicated herself to win the Olympics. Certain countries concentrate much more than others on the Olympics. The Russians honored Elena (especially Elena), Dinara and Vera as national heros. 50 years from now, the winners of majors will be forgotten, but ELena will never forget her gold medal. Besides majors are so overated.

  5. Des Platt

    John, you are wrong.Are you a golf fan ( I am too) using the term majors rather than grand slams? Winners of the grand slams are not forgotten 50 years later ; look at the deserved adoration of Rod Laver. Of course the winners of gold won't forget them , but most other people will. Top players peak in grand slams and majors in golf; they leave the rest to the Wozniackis and the Colin Montgomeries and just use thos etournaments to peak

  6. Lea

    @Josh Bolan Majors are so overrated haha, keep your anger to yourself. You're sounding more and more delusional as time goes on.

  7. Sneznajna

    @Josh Bolan Waouh I'm more and more surprised that you are a tennis writer as you seem to arrogantly spew to everybody that you know tennis more than anyone.
    Tell Dementieva that she's gonna enter the tennis hall of fame because she's won a gold medal in a tournament that is equivalent to a Tier 2 tournament on the wta. And tell her that she's gonna be remembered as a tennis legend because she's won That gold medal.
    Haha don't make me laugh please.

  8. Marine

    Thanks for mentioning me,Marija. In my opinion the Olympics are more prestigeous as they took place only every 4 years and feature the best athletes of each given sport. For this reason I think that the Olympics should be awarded the same amount of points as slams or even more.

  9. Marine

    Also, I agree with John. Winners of grand slams are not the ones to be remembered for a long time unless they perform well consistently. Top players need to peak not only during slams but during the whole year. Otherwise, when the slam points are gone they're likely to fall out of the elite. Schiavone is a good example of that.

  10. Des Platt

    Marine, that might be your theory but it is just not believed by most. People will remember Bueno, Evert, Navratilova , Clijsters, Goolagong , Court, King, even Sharapova unfortunately ; indeed the the earlier ones are already being remembered for 40 to 50 years. I didn't even know Dementieva had won a medal until today.

  11. John Bolan

    Wow – what venom appears on this site when someone disagrees with a comment. The examples used to remember grand slam winners included only those who won many grand slams. Of course all great players will be remembered, but will Schiavone, Li and Kvitova be remembered if they win no more slams? Wozniacki was the best player for almost two years as was Safina before her. Will they not be remembered in the future?
    Thank you, Des Platt, for correcting me on grand slam.
    Mathematically, I feel too many points are awarded at grand slams. As a fan who goes to several tournaments each year, I ask shouldn't the WTA encourage players to play in ALL tournaments. The La Costa tournament had big prize money and not mamy top players. It also had terrible attendance and cost the sponser a lot of money in losses. Many countries with excelent players like Poland, Germany and Serbia don't have a slam. Poland no longer has any tournament. Wouldn't it be better if the WTA emphasized all tournaments, not just slams?
    If any of you are too young or don't remember the reception the Russian players received upon their return to Moscow after the Olympics, do the research. No grand slam winner in history ever received a welcome home and gratitude of their country like what happened in 2008.

  12. Marine

    Des Platt,what is believed by most neither of us knows. Different people,different opinions.

    John,I agree that the best players should support WTA events as not all fans can afford to pay for watching them at slams. If they decided it's OK to just put work in slams and no other events it would work against them in the end.

  13. Des Platt

    Fair point, John. Apologise if you detected venom in my response. I certainly don't feel venom and it would be a boring world if we all agreed. I understand your point about great players rather than just one time slam winners. I just thought it was accepted in most sports that top players peak in big events; of course they have to play some events in between to keep sharp. And you are right that it is good for spectators to see top payers outside of grand slams; it would be sad if it became like cricket in England where you hardly see the top players play outside of Test matches.

    I just think it will be a long time before the Olympics acquires the tradition of grand slam events for tennis but I may well be wrong.

  14. Arjan

    For the people saying a Gold medal in Tennis is more important or would be valued more, I think a good point would be 2004 Gold Winner Nicolas Massu. Of course, most tennis fans know the name, know who he is, but is he as famous as a Michael Chang? Michael Stich? Del Potro? Muster, etc..?
    I think definitely not.
    Noone even mentions Massu when you're talking about great, or even decently good tennis players… why is that?

    Thus, if you want to leave your mark in Tennis, if you want to make an impression, winning a Grand Slam is definitely the way to go, thus should stand above all else in Tennis. Certainly, winning olympic gold is for many a career highlight, is a tremendous honor, but it doesn't carry the same meaning as winning a Slam.

  15. Des Platt

    Thank you Arjan and said without vitriol. Del Potro is fairly recent in our minds but you are so right about Chang and Stich

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