A memorable summer has gotten even better for former University of Georgia standout Ellen Perez after learning she will be a part of Australia’s Olympic tennis team in Tokyo.
The 25-year-old Perez (UGA 2015-17), who hails from Shellharbour, New South Wales, Australia, will be competing in doubles with three-time Grand Slam doubles champion Sam Stosur, the Australian Olympic Selection Committee announced recently.
It will be the first Olympics for Perez who is ranked 50th in the world in doubles. She is a seven-time finalist and two-time champion on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) doubles circuit. She has won two singles titles and 17 doubles crowns on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tour. Perez was a five-time All-American during her Bulldog career.
The 37-year-old Stosur, who has been ranked as high as No. 1 in her career, will become the first Australian tennis player to compete at five Olympics. Along with her Grand Slam doubles titles, she captured the US Open singles title in 2011. Currently, she is ranked No. 87 in doubles.
The 2021 Olympic tennis action will be held July 24-Aug. 1 at Ariake Tennis Park. Australia is sending 11 tennis athletes to Tokyo, its largest contingent ever after sending 10 to Sydney in 2000 and 10 to Rio in 2016. The current top-ranked player in the world is Australia’s Ash Barty. The Olympic tennis competition will be a knockout draw with the winning semifinalists playing for the gold medal and the losing semifinalists playing for the bronze. Singles will be best-of-three tiebreak sets while doubles will be two sets, and if tied, a 10-point tiebreaker will determine the winner.
On Friday, Perez wrapped up her latest appearance in a Grand Slam tournament, falling in the first round at Wimbledon. The 12th seeded America duo of Coco Gauff and Caty McNally defeated Perez and Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3,6-2. Last month at the French Open, Perez paired with China’s Saisai Zheng to beat Gauff and Venus Williams in the first round. Then, Zheng went down with an injury in her singles match, and the duo was forced to withdraw from the doubles. Perez has played in the doubles main draw of 11 Grand Slams including six Australian Opens, two French Opens, two US Opens and one Wimbledon.
Earlier this week, France’s Clara Burel, ranked No. 142, defeated Perez in straight sets in the first-round of their singles match at Wimbledon. It marked the third time that Perez, ranked No. 235, played in the main draw of a Grand Slam singles event (2016 US Open while a Bulldog and 2019 Australian Open).