Can Andy Murray win a third successive Olympics gold medal when the Games are held in Tokyo in 2021?
Olympics tennis predictions
Initially set to hold in the summer of 2020, the Olympic Games have been moved to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has been tearing apart the sporting calendar, and unfortunately, the Olympics has not been spared.
The Games will now be held from 23 July – 8 August, 2021.
Tennis was part of the modern Olympics from inception in 1896, but the sport was dropped in 1924 as a result of a dispute between the International Olympic Committee and the International Lawn Tennis Federation. It returned as a full medal sport in Seoul in 1988, with German, Steffi Graff winning the women’s title, and Czech, Miroslav Mecir claiming gold in the men’s singles.
No woman has won more than one singles’ gold medal, while Great Britain’s Andy Murray, champion in 2012 and 2016, remains the only player to have won emerged multiple Olympic singles champion.
Can Murray do the three-peat?
Andy Murray may end up being one of the biggest beneficiaries from the postponement of the Olympic Games as he now has an extra year to work his way back to fitness and top form. It’s difficult to predict where Murray will be at fitness-wise come the summer of 2021, but shift in the dates generally appears to be in the Scot’s favour, and does give him a greater window to work with.
Murray has not played since last November due to a pelvic injury, a setback from the hip resurfacing surgery he had last January. The former world No. 1 was initially targeting a return at the Miami Open in March, but that has obviously been put on hold as a result of the suspension of the tour.
The three-time Grand Slam champion claimed claimed his first Olympic gold medal on home soil in London in 2012, where he famously outclassed Roger Federer in the title match at Wimbledon, before retaining his title in Rio in 2016, battling past Juan Martin del Potro in an epic final. He’s definitely got something going with the Olmypics, and if he is fit and playing by the time the Games come around next year, do not count out the reigning champion.
Federer and Djokovic seek maiden Olympic titles
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are two of the greatest players to have ever played the game, but conspicuously missing from their trophy cabinets is an Olympic singles gold medal.
Federer does have a doubles’ gold, teaming up with Stan Wawrinka to win the 2008 title in Beijing, but the great Swiss has so far not been able to go all the way in the individual discipline. He’s had four tries, with the closest he’s come to gold being a runner-up finish in 2012, when he was comprehensively beaten by Andy Murray at Wimbledon. Many thought that would be the year for Federer, given that the tennis event was staged at one of his most successful hunting grounds, and that he had beaten Murray in the Wimbledon final just under a month earlier, but it ended in disappointment for the Swiss.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion is currently recovering from knee surgery, which he underwent in February, and is due to be back for the grass court season. For now, that scheduled return period still holds, with the tennis season set to resume on 7 June.
There’s a very strong argument that an Olympic Games in July 2020 would have given Federer a strong shot at gold as he would be fresher than most of his rivals having not played between February and May, but that advantage has now been thrown out of the window with the suspension of the tour and postponement of the Olympics.
Again, it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen next year, but generally speaking, the longer Federer stays without an Olympic gold medal, the more unlikely he is to ever win that elusive silverware. The great Swiss will be 40 next August.
Federer’s fellow great, Djokovic is also yet to add the Olympic title to his haul, but the world No. 1 is still very much at the peak of his powers, and, all things being equal, will surely be amongst the top favourites for the title next year. Given the excellent start he’s made to 2020, winning all of his 18 matches, he would have loved the Games to go ahead as planned this year, but he must now wait another year before getting his latest shot at the gold medal.
Djokovic has just one Olympic medal, from the Beijing Games in 2008, while he suffered a first round loss to Juan Martin del Potro in an extremely tough Rio 2016 draw. Except he suffers a big injury next year, he will be there or thereabouts in the gold medal conversations in Tokyo.
Nadal to add second Olympic title?
Unlike Federer and Djokovic, Rafael Nadal doesn’t have to worry about the absence of an Olympic gold medal- the great Spaniard took care of business in 2008 in Beijing, when he defeated Fernando Gonzales in the final. Nadal added doubles gold in Rio in 2016, partnering Marc Lopez to victory.
The 19-time Grand Slam champion has never hidden his love for representing his country, be it at the Davis Cup, the ATP Cup and the Olympics, and will be typically fired up when the Games come around in Tokyo next year.
Who are the other contenders for the men’s singles title?
Of course, the Olympic Games is not just about the Big 4, there are a host of other players that will like their chances of claiming the big prize in Tokyo. The younger guns will be out in force, with Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev spearheading the challenge, while the old guard will again rely on the likes of Gael Monfils and Stan Wawrinka.
Who are the contenders for the women’s singles title?
Like in most women’s draws these days, it’s tough to pick a winner, especially with the tournament still over a year away. Given the remarkable depth of the WTA tour, and the rate at which talented new champions like Bianca Andreescu and Ashleigh Barty are springing up, it will once again be a wide open field.
There are some names that stand out, none more so than Serena Williams. The legendary American is one of the most decorated tennis players in Olympics history, winning a singles gold medal in London in 2012, and three doubles golds in 2000, 2008 and 2012. Serena’s main priority now is to claim that one more major to even Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record, and possibly surpass it, but a chance at another Olympic gold medal will likely appeal to the American.
Sydney 2000 champion, Venus Williams and Monica Puig, a surprise winner in Rio 2016, are the only other active players to have won Olympic singles gold medals, while Victoria Azarenka (bronze in 2012), Angelique Kerber (silver in 2016) and Petra Kvitova (bronze in 2016) are the only other active medalists.
Unsurprisingly, some of the younger players like Andreescu, Barty and Naomi Osaka will be making their Olympics debuts in 2021.