Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are the stars at this year’s Olympics with Roger Federer absent and Rafael Nadal injured. Andy Murray is coming off from his Wimbledon high, having won the championship in June, and Novak Djokovic got his confidence boost before the Olympics at Rogers Cup. Who will take home the Olympics gold medal this year?
Wimbledon winner’s first match is against Viktor Troicki, a lesser known Serb who is world number 35. Novak Djokovic faces a much steeper competition in his opening match against Juan Martin Del Potro, who is ranked low because of his injuries, but has had great track record on court when he is playing.
The Scottish tennis player has won the gold medal at London 2012 Olympics, where he vanquished Roger Federer in three straight sets. Plus, he managed to defeat Novak Djokovic in the semifinals before getting to the Swiss. The fact that Federer has pulled out of the lineup means that there is even higher chance for Andy to win his second gold.
But Novak Djokovic won’t be an easy opponent to defeat four years later. Not only is he the current world No. 1, but he is playing his best tennis.
Murray and Djokovic have a lot of in common. Not only are they born only a couple of months apart, they are recent fathers, having gotten married to their high school sweethearts.
Kim Sears, the wife of Andy Murray, will most likely accompany him to Rio Olympics as she has followed him to Miami, Paris, and London for all the major tournaments after the birth of their daughter, Sophia. Jelena Ristic, who runs her husband’s non-profit organization, will most likely be there for Djokovic with their son, Stefan.
When talking about how the tennis games are different, now that he is a father, the 29-year-old Scottish player said that his perspective in tennis has significantly changed.
“I’m playing for something a bit different now,” he said, referring to his baby daughter Sophia, according to New York Times. “Hopefully she’ll be proud of this one day.”
While the Serbian used his time at Rogers Cup to prepare for Olympics, Andy Murray “pulled out of the Rogers Cup in order to dedicate more time to preparing for the Games in Brazil,” according to Daily Mail.
“My body needs some recovery time after reaching the latter stages of tournaments over the past few months,” Andy said to Toronto Star. “I’m sorry to my fans in Toronto but I look forward to being back in Canada next year.”
With so many tennis superstars skipping the Canadian tournament, Novak Djokovic had an easy time snagging the championship title this year.
“I actually think that Toronto is a great way for me to prepare for the Olympic Games and what’s coming up after that,” Novak said to ESPN. “But also, you know, I enjoy my time in this tournament that I always love playing.”
Roger Federer recently announced that he had to pull out of Rio and the rest of the season due to his knee.
“Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year,” he wrote on his Facebook post. “The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover.”
As for Rafael Nadal, he is still lined up to compete in the Olympics, but his wrist injury will most likely prevent him playing his best tennis.
“I will not be at the best level in any of the categories,” Rafa admitted according to Sky Sports. “I have not competed for two months and I have not trained a lot. I will train a few days here to see what I can do and then decide what is best, to be more positive for me and the team.”
But because he missed out on French Open and Wimbledon this year means that he will be a little rusty in terms of playing full matches.
[Photo by Ben Curtis/AP Images]