Brazil wins historic tennis medal with bronze in women's doubles

Luisa Stefani of Team Brazil and Laura Pigossi of Team Brazil celebrate victory after their Women's Doubles Bronze Medal match against Veronika Kudermetova of Team ROC and Elena Vesnina of Team ROC on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Luisa Stefani of Team Brazil and Laura Pigossi of Team Brazil celebrate victory after their Women's Doubles Bronze Medal match against Veronika Kudermetova of Team ROC and Elena Vesnina of Team ROC on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Luisa Stefani and Laura Pigossi have won Brazil's first Olympic Tennis medal winning bronze in the women's doubles at Ariake Tennis Park

Brazil's Luisa Stefani and Laura Pigossi lapped up their historic Olympic medal after winning a tough and an edge of your seat women's double bronze medal 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 over ROC's Elena Vesnina and Veronika Kudermetova.

The duo's journey to Olympic bronze is an astonishing story in itself after they entered the competition at the seventh hour - one hour before the cut-off time.

"We are so so happy with this. we overcame all our difficulties and we believed right from the beginning we could make it. I am very happy to share this medal with Luisa, its been wonderful to have her as a partner in tennis. This is my dream and now a present for me," Pigossi said.

"I thought it was possible [to win the bronze], I thought we deserved it.

"I'm still trying to come around to what is happening but I would really like to thank all the Brazilians. We lost a game and everyone was behind us, and now we won a medal...it's the Brazilian public that made us believe."

The bronze medal match was an extraordinary encounter lasting over two hours at the Ariake Tennis Park.

ROC broke early in the first set to take a 3-0 lead before the Brazilian pair were able to claw their way back to level proceedings. While Vesnina and Kudermetova managed to eventually win the opening set, Brazil showed their fighting spirit to pull it back in the second and force the match to a tie-break.

And what a tie-break it was.

ROC had four bronze medal points but Stefani and Pigossi weren't about to let their bronze medal hopes fade away, taking it to Vesnina and Kudermetova by winning four consecutive games. And as ROC's return landed out of the court, the Brazilian pair couldn't quite believe they had won.

"It's a feeling of pure happiness," Stefani said. "This medal stays forever in history but also all the memories we've accumulated this week and the feelings we went through."

"Words are still missing to express how I am feeling," Pigossi said.

Previously Brazil's best result in Olympic Tennis came when Fernando Meligeni finished fourth at Atlanta 1996.

While Stefani and Pigossi said their history-making moment is still sinking in, the duo, who have been dubbed 'La-lu' back in their native Brazil by supporters, believe it all came down to the belief they had in themselves.

"People didn't believe we could go far. My level of confidence is not so optimistic but it's there. I've learnt a lot this week with her [Pigossi] and with the team. I mean it's been amazing," Stefani said.

The win is also a special moment for tennis in Brazil.

"It's also a responsibility but I think a motivation," Stefani said. "Maybe we can bring more players to Brazil. With this victory maybe we can inspire more girls to play tennis, that is what is wonderful about sport: to motivate people."