|Women's singles tennis|
at the Games of the XXVI Olympiad
Gold medalist Lindsay Davenport (2013)
|Venue||Stone Mountain Tennis Center|
|Dates||23 July–2 August|
|Competitors||64 from 34 nations|
The women's singles competition was part of the tennis program at the 1996 Summer Olympics. It was held from 23 July to 2 August at the Stone Mountain Tennis Center. There were 64 competitors from 34 nations, with each nation having up to 3 players. Jennifer Capriati was the defending champion; however, she chose not to participate. The title was won by Lindsay Davenport of the United States, who defeated Arantxa Sánchez Vicario of Spain in the final 7–6(10–8), 6–2. The bronze medal was won by Jana Novotná of the Czech Republic, who defeated American Mary Joe Fernández in the bronze medal match 7–6(10–8), 6–4. Sánchez Vicario was the second woman to win multiple medals in the singles (following Steffi Graf in 1988 and 1992); Fernandez would have done so as well, had the rules not been changed to add a bronze medal match (Sánchez Vicario and Fernandez each earned bronze in 1992).
This was the eighth appearance of the women's singles tennis. A women's event was held only once during the first three Games (only men's tennis was played in 1896 and 1904), but has been held at every Olympics for which there was a tennis tournament since 1908. Tennis was not a medal sport from 1928 to 1984, though there were demonstration events in 1968 and 1984.
Returning from the 1992 Games were both bronze medalists, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario of Spain and Mary Joe Fernández of the United States, as well as all four of the quarterfinal losers. Silver medalist (and 1992 champion) Steffi Graf was kept out by a knee injury. The U.S. team was strong even without defending champion Jennifer Capriati, with #1 seed Monica Seles, Fernandez, and Lindsay Davenport. Spain also send a strong team, with Sánchez Vicario joined by Conchita Martínez as the next two seeds behind Seles.
Belarus, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Russia, Slovakia, and Tunisia each made their debut in the event. France and Great Britain each made their seventh appearance, tied for most among nations to that point.
The competition was a single-elimination tournament, but with a significant change from 1988 and 1992. A bronze medal match was held, unlike the previous two Games. Matches were best-of-three sets. The 12-point tie-breaker continued be used in any set, except the third, that reached 6–6.
All times are Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)
|Tuesday, 23 July 1996
Wednesday, 24 July 1996
||Round of 64
|Thursday, 25 July 1996
Friday, 26 July 1996
||Round of 32
|Saturday, 27 July 1996
Sunday, 28 July 1996
||Round of 16
|Monday, 29 July 1996
|Wednesday, 31 July 1996
|Friday, 2 August 1996
|Bronze medal match|