Our Olympics Q&A series continues with one of Australia's greatest ever tennis players, four time Olympic athlete Rennae Stubbs. Rennae competed in the Games in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. This year, she makes the transition to the booth for Olympic tennis coverage from Wimbledon. NBC's Olympic tennis coverage appears within NBC's alliance of networks on Bravo. Rennae talks to us about the importance of the Olympics in her career and what it's like to have the competition at Wimbledon.
Q: How does it feel to be back at Wimbledon and have the Olympic tennis competition there?
It’s surreal to be back and see the colors and Olympic rings. It is an amazing feeling. If you are going to hold a tennis event at the London games, it’s fitting to have it at the All England Club. The All England Club is the most special place in tennis. If you are going to win a medal in England, it deserves to be at the home of Wimbledon.
Q: As someone that's competed at several Games, how important has being a part of the Olympics now as a broadcaster been for your career?
The experience has been incredible. To be a part of the NBC Olympics broadcasting team is the pinnacle of sports broadcasting. I was contemplating playing one more year of professional tennis, so I could compete at my 5th Olympics, at a place that has meant so much to me throughout my career. When I got the call to be a part of the NBC Olympics broadcast team, that was the tipping point in my decision not play.
Q: What are the biggest challenges in preparing for calling an Olympic sport and during the event itself?
The Olympics is different from a regular Grand Slam or tennis event. The competitors are truly playing for their country. The emblem on their shirt has an incredible impact on them during a match. It has to affect them. The process is the same, but the meaning behind the experience is a little different. There is not that much I do differently from a broadcasting point of view. I just try to convey the huge importance this experience has on a player’s career. The Olympics only come around once every four years, and the pressure is different.
Q: How much of the Olympics are you able to take in as a fan? What else will you try and take part in outside the booth in London?
I am going to try to go see as many events as possible. Even when I was an athlete, I tried to get to as many events as possible. Deep down inside, the Olympics is the greatest sporting event in the world, and to witness it first hand is indescribable. I have plans to go see some old friends that are still competing. As an Australian, we grew up idolizing our nations athletes… especially the swimmers. I am certainly going to try and get to the pool.
Q:How do the Games in London compare to other Olympic Games?
So far they are amazing. The Opening Ceremony was great to see. I think it was incredibly British and I loved it. It was funny, historic in nature, royal, and I loved the passing of the torch from one generation to the next. To be honest, the Opening Ceremony was the first one I have seen from start to finish in 20 years. I have marched in the last four and we are usually sequestered away from the events and don’t see them before we go out onto the track.
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