By Ros Satar
- Top Seeds: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori
- Defending Champion: Andy Murray
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
RIO DE JANERIO, BRAZIL – Andy Murray will look to head World No. 1 off as he attempts to defend his Olympic title.
Top Quarter – Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Now that the prospect of a Calendar-Golden Slam has gone, a good old-fashioned Golden Slam on top of a holding all four Slams at the same time will just have to do for Djokovic. He might have looked a little rusty at times in his comeback since his third round crash at Wimbledon, but he won a record-extending 30th Masters title in Canada, and is certainly feeling sharp.
It is a tough opener for the World No. 1 as he relives the Bronze medal match from 2012 against Juan Martin Del Potro. Then he was left disappointed as he missed out on the chance of another medal, but since then Del Potro has suffered the worst kind of injury bad luck. Making his comeback this year, it has still been a bit of a rollercoaster for the Argentine, and the last time he registered a win over Djokovic was in the Indian Wells semi-final. Since then, The Serbian has won the last three times they have met.
He could face either Britain’s Kyle Edmund or most likely Jack Sock as his first seeded opponent in the third round.
At the other side of the quarter is Tsonga, who starts against Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri, and should coast past the rest of the possible unseeded opposition before potentially facing Spain’s consistent Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. There he will have to snap a two-match losing streak against the Spaniard to advance.
Second Quarter – Rafael Nadal, David Goffin
The tennis world wonders just what state Nadal’s wrist is in – he believes he is ready to compete in both the singles and the doubles, and has been practising in Mallorca along with Murray. It could be a good start for the Spaniard – he opens against Federico Delbonis over whom he has a flawless record, and if he is fit and healthy he should survive to face his first seed in Gilles Simon.
Goffin might have preferred to come into Rio a little more battle hardened with just one win to his name since Wimbledon and he starts against the big-serving Sam Groth. On paper he should make it to the quarter-finals, but Pablo Cuevas has had a great year, winning titles on clay and grass this year, but has he got the hard court credentials to upset the seedings?
Third Quarter- Gael Monfils, Kei Nishikori
The Frenchman is in fine form at the moment, and his incredible nine-match losing streak came at the hands of Djokovic in Canada. He will start against Vasek Pospisil who he beat in Canada and so will feel confident of advancing. His first seed is likely to be Marin Cilic – it has been a while since they faced each other (2009) and should be good for the quarter-finals.
Nishikori must take some comfort from his performance in Toronto after his withdrawal in Wimbledon, and he had a glimmer of hope to make the final a little more competitive when Djokovic’s level dipped ever so slightly. He should make the quarter-finals.
Bottom Quarter – David Ferrer, Andy Murray
It has been an injury marred year for the Spaniard, failing in his title defences in Doha, Rio and Acapulco, and missing Monte Carlo and Barcelona with a calf injury. He has not been on a hard court since the spring, and could be an early casualty, especially given Steve Johnson’s early form this summer. The American was not able to carry that momentum through in Toronto but he might oust the higher seed in the third round.
Murray will be the flag bearer for Team GB and there has been many discussions in the past about the weight of the flag and whether to have it holstered or not. As barmy as that sounds – it might be a consideration for the Brit, who would dearly love to defend this title.
So far he has made the final of all three Slams this year, but has not been able to get past Djokovic in two of them.
His opener is Viktor Troicki who has never beaten him despite pushing him past a straight sets win only once (Roland Garros, 2011). His first seed is likely to be Benoit Paire and with winning records over potential quarter-finalists Ferrer or Johnson – he should be assured of a solid tilt at defending his title.
The Olympic Tennis event takes place between 6-14 August.
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