The Olympics in Rio just began this past weekend, with the opening ceremonies taking place on August 5,2016 but they have already witnessed a shocking upset in men’s tennis. The world’s number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic was ousted in the first round of Olympic play. He suffered a loss to Juan Del Potro, who defeated the tennis player in the bronze medal match at the 2012 Olympics, in London. This continues a historical trend with the men’s number one seeds falling short at the games. Roger Federer famously short in the last three Olympic games, while other number ones have also failed to win a gold medal.
Djokovic entered the tournament as the reigning world’s number one tennis player and the favorite to win the gold for his native country of Serbia. Just two months ago, he achieved the one goal on the professional circuit that had thus far eluded him – winning the French Open. In so doing, he not only achieved a career Grand Slam but became the first man, in almost half a century, to have won four straight Grand Slam championships. At that point, Djokovic looked simply unbeatable, and the assumption that he would once again finish this year atop the rankings was hard to dispute. However, after suffering a surprisingly early defeat in the third round in Wimbledon and now, this shocking loss in the first round of the Olympics, he is beginning to look a lot more vulnerable than previously believed.
However, there are still some very accomplished men who have a chance at making history. Both Rafael Nadal of Spain, and Andy Murray of Great Britain remain, and each man has won the Olympic gold medal before. They also have multiple Grand Slam titles under their belts. Murray won the gold before a wildly enthusiastic home crowd in London, in 2012, and recently won Wimbledon for the second time in his career. Now, he is trying to become the first man, in history, to win a second Olympic gold medal in men’s tennis. However, he has the added pressure of trying to avoid the kind of shocking upset in men’s tennis that the Rio Olympics have already witnessed.
Nadal will also try to become the first man to win two gold medals in men’s tennis. He won the gold medal in the 2008 games, joining American Andre Agassi, as the only two men who have managed to achieve the career Golden Slam – winning all four Grand Slams, as well as the Olympic gold medal. Nadal is a former number one champion, who happens to be one of the most decorated players in the history of men’s tennis, with fourteen Grand Slam titles to his name. He is trying to add a second Olympic gold medal to his resume.
As for Federer, the most decorated men’s tennis player in history, could not participate in the 2016 games, due to a serious knee injury that forced him to end his season early. Federer had to settle for the silver after he lost the gold medal match at the 2012 Olympics to Murray. However, he did win a gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, in doubles play with his partner and countryman, Stan Wawrinka.
The 2016 Olympics in Rio just started, yet they have already witnessed several shocking upsets, not just in men’s Tennis, but with the defeat of the top-seeded Williams sisters, in women’s doubles tennis, as well as the top-seeded men’s doubles team, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hughes Herbert of France. It should be noted that Murray, who is now the top remaining seed on the men’s side, already suffered a shocking early exit in the men’s doubles, where he and his brother lost, despite being the highly regarded second seed in the draw. These are reminders that upsets do happen. In the Olympics, particularly on the men’s side, they seem to happen more often.
Opinion by Charles Bordeau
Edited by Jeanette Smith
SB Nation: Olympic tennis 2016: Bracket, schedule and scores for men’s competition
BBC: Rio Olympics 2016: The stars you won’t see in Brazil
NBC Olympics.com: Upsetting! Djokovic 1 of 3 top seeds out of Olympic tennis
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