MELBOURNE, June 29 (Reuters) - World number one Ash Barty will lead Australia’s biggest Olympic tennis team at Tokyo as the nation bids for its first medal in 17 years at the Games.
Barty, Australia men’s number one Alex de Minaur and world number 60 Nick Kyrgios are among eight Olympic debutants in the 11-strong team, with former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur on board for her fifth Games.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamt of and (I’m) obviously super excited to get out there and represent the green and gold,” said Barty, who will become Australia’s first Indigenous tennis Olympian, in a video released by Tennis Australia.
“It’s a massive, united team and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Barty, De Minaur, Stosur and men’s world number 43 John Millman will compete in both singles and doubles, while Kyrgios will play only singles.
Rio Olympians Millman and John Peers, a doubles specialist, return for their second Games as Australia look to win their first medal since Alicia Molik took singles bronze at Athens in 2004.
Molik will captain the women’s team which includes Ajla Tomljanovic in the singles, and Storm Sanders and Ellen Perez for doubles.
The Tokyo tennis tournament starts on July 24 at Ariake Tennis Park.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Editing by Peter Rutherford