With the Olympic tennis event in Rio already underway, here are the five things that Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and more have loved the most about their Olympic experiences.
WTA Staff

With the Olympic tennis event in Rio already underway, there's just one thought on every player's mind: bringing home a medal.

In the ITF's Olympics book, My Life, My Medal, tennis players shared their medal-winning memories from the Olympics and Paralympics, from Seoul 1988 to London 2012.

Read on to hear the five things that Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Justine Henin, Serena Williams and more loved the most about their Olympic experiences, right here on wtatennis.com!

Team Italy, Olympic Village

1. Staying in the Olympic Village was one of their most cherished memories.

"I enjoyed every moment because I had a chance to meet other athletes from my country as well, living in the Olympic Village. It's a completely different story, you get involved with other athletes as well form other countries. Even in Barcelona, when I was at home, I could go home, but I went the first couple of days to the Village." - Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (Spain; Barcelona 1992)

"My fondest memories are of taking part in the opening ceremonies at Seoul and Barcelona and staying in the Olympic Villages. It was fascinating to be able to talk with the other athletes from all the different sports, cultures and backgrounds. We had a lot of fun guessing which country and sport they represented." - Stefanie Graf (Germany; Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992)

"Everything is surprising because it is very different - the atmosphere, having lunch with some other Argentinians? and going to the restaurant and meeting the rest of the athletes. You find yourself saying, "Look who is here!" All of them are strong experiences which take place in a unique place and moment." - Gabriela Sabatini (Argentina; Seoul 1998)

"It was fantastic to pick the other athletes' brains about training, how they deal with pressure, etc? My favorite place was the cafeteria and I got to meet so many athletes in a casual setting and share stories with them. Having dinner with all the great athletes and talking to them like regular people was super cool. I had to sometimes pinch myself when I talked to a few of them." - Monica Seles (United States; Sydney 2000)

Angelique Kerber, Germany

2. The Opening Ceremony is an unforgettable experience.

"From the very first day, when I had the occasion of carrying the flag at the Opening Ceremony, everything I experienced was really lovely. I was very happy about it." - Gabriela Sabatini (Argentina; Seoul 1998)­

"When you're out there, you go out on Opening Ceremony day and you're just like in awe. Like you have to pinch yourself, is this really happening?" - Mary Joe Fernandez (United States; Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996)

"The Opening Ceremonies in all the Olympics I've played are some of the three biggest highlights of my whole life. Obviously besides kids and all that. But I never forget those moments." - Lindsay Davenport (United States; Atlanta 1996)

"It was the most amazing rush of my life, walking into the stadium in Atlanta. We were in the tunnel going out and the whole team USA, like 680 people, started chanting 'USA, USA, USA' in this tunnel and it was reverberating and I still get goosebumps thinking about it." - Gigi Fernandez (United States; Barcelona 1992, Atlanta, 1996)

Rio 2016

3. Checking out other sports is a must - because athletes are sports fans too.

"It doesn't really matter to me [what sport] because when you're there you get involved in it. You're just so involved and your heart gets involved. You get drawn in. So wherever I would go - fencing, archery, whatever it is - I don't care because I know I'll be into it." - Venus Williams (United States; Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008, London 2012)

"When we arrived in advance, we were practicing and training. And one day Steff [Graf] said, 'Let's go train with a 400 meters hurdler,' as he was a very good German one. He said, 'Okay I'm going to do some practice at the track and do some running.' Steffi said, 'Let's go with him, we can also do some practice and warm-ups.' For 15 minutes I was running with him and I was dead. I was like, 'Oh my god, I still have to play.'" - Claudia Kohde-Kilsch (Germany; Seoul 1998)

"I had a lot of opportunities to see different things. I saw archery, swimming, I never made it to the gymnastics, but I saw the athletics, it's just a great experience. It's just so fun to see all these different athletes who are just in there, from countries you don't expect." - Serena Williams (United States; Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008, London 2012)

Elena Dementieva

4. The winning moment is unlike any other.

"We [Belarus] never had any medals ever in the history of tennis. That type of pressure was there, and I really wanted to deliver? At that particular moment we won gold, that was one of the biggest reliefs. I was like, 'Okay, thank god, we've done it.' Then there was pure joy." - Victoria Azarenka (Belarus; London 2012)

"It's very emotional to hear the anthems. I probably cried a little bit. You get goosebumps, you get nervous, it's quite emotional. It's very cool and it's different. You have the podium and you receive your medal with the other two. It's the Olympics! It feels like tennis but it's a little bit different." - Conchita Martinez (Spain; Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004)

"I remember being on the podium trying to tell myself not to cry. I remember just keeping repeating that to myself because it is overwhelming when you get up there, and you think it's all fun and you think it's all happy, and then depending on your personality, it can be more emotional. It started to get a little emotional for me, but most of it was shock." - Lindsay Davenport (United States; Atlanta 1996)

"The presentation ceremony took me by surprise. When you win a silver medal in tennis it means you've just lost in the final? I was very, very disappointed but within a couple of seconds I did switch because there was huge emotion coming up. And also a real pride. It's cool! You're able to bring a medal back to your country." - Amélie Mauresmo (France; Athens 2004)

Athens, 2004

5. Playing for your country, not just yourself, is a humbling experience.

"There was a lot of joy. There was a lot of surprise, of sharing with the Belgian delegation. All the athletes were there. I didn't cry, but I did sing. And I was so very, very proud. After the match and the ceremony I came back to the Village and all the athletes were waiting for me in the Belgian house and we celebrated together for an hour. Everyone was so happy." - Justine Henin (Belgium; Athens 2004)

"The Olympics is something still different and you play for your country. There's more pressure? With the Olympic medal [my country] realized a little bit more what I was achieving. From then on I became a star in Bulgaria." - Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere (Bulgaria; Seoul 1988)

"It's probably No.1 in my career because it's one thing that the world will always relate to and I did it for my country, it wasn't just for me. Even now if I pull it [the medal] out and I'm around little kids they're so excited." - Zina Garrison (United States; Seoul 1988)

"On one side, I was bitterly disappointed to lose the final, but on the other hand, I was really proud of our country and what we achieved in Beijing. This was a day when a dream came true. Of course, straight after the match I was disappointed, but afterwards this became less so. We could hear the national anthem and see the Russian flag. There were tears from the sadness, but there were tears of happiness for being so proud for my country." - Dinara Safina (Russia; Beijing 2008)

- Photos courtesy of Getty Images