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Jennifer Brady, Coco Gauff headline U.S. Olympic tennis team for Tokyo

United States' Jennifer Brady hits a backhand return
United States’ Jennifer Brady hits a backhand return to Japan’s Naomi Osaka during the Australian Open on Feb. 20.
(Mark Dadswell / Associated Press)

Jennifer Brady, who helped UCLA win an NCAA women’s tennis title in 2014, and Marcos Giron of Thousand Oaks, who won the 2014 NCAA singles title while representing the Bruins, were nominated to the 12-person U.S. Olympic tennis team for the Tokyo Games. David Wagner of San Diego, an eight-time Paralympic tennis medalist in the wheelchair quad division, will lead a seven-person U.S. tennis delegation to the Paralympic Games, which will be held in mid-August after the Olympics conclude.

The team nominations were announced on Thursday by the U.S. Tennis Assn.

Brady, who reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open last year and was the runner-up at the Australian Open earlier this year, is ranked No. 15 in the world. She will join 17-year-old Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula and Alison Riske in the women’s singles competition. All are first-time Olympians. Serena Williams, who has won four Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles, recently said she would not compete in Tokyo. Sofia Kenin, the highest-ranked American woman at No. 6 in the world, said on Wednesday she had relinquished her spot.

Tennis star Serena William declined to say why she was skipping the Olympics but previously said she couldn’t accept separation from her child, required by Olympic organizers.

“I couldn’t take anyone with me, and I definitely wanted to have someone,” she said, referring to Olympic organizers’ prohibition of family members or friends accompanying athletes as a means of minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

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In doubles, Nicole Melichar will partner with Gauff, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands will play alongside Pegula.

Giron, No. 66 in the men’s world rankings, will be part of a quartet of first-time Olympians in men’s singles. Also nominated were Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe — who upset third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of Wimbledon this week — and Tennys Sandgren. Rajeev Ram will team with Tiafoe in doubles, and Austin Krajicek will team with Sandgren. David Nainkin of Los Angeles will coach the men’s team.

David Wagner became a quadriplegic while chasing a frisbee into a deceptive current at Redondo Beach. He discovered wheelchair tennis, and it became his calling.

The men’s and women’s mixed doubles teams will be announced later. The highest-ranked American men — No. 32 Reilly Opelka, No. 33 John Isner, and No. 40 Taylor Fritz of Rancho Palos Verdes — opted out of playing in Tokyo.

Wagner will try to win a medal for the fifth consecutive Paralympics. He has won three gold medals and a silver in doubles as well as two silver medals and two bronze in singles. Also nominated in the quad competition were San Diego native Dana Mathewson, Emmy Kaiser and Shelby Baron among the women, and men’s competitor Bryan Barten. Casey Retzlaff and Conner Stroud will compete in the Paralympic men’s field.


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