The 2012 London Olympics are finally here and with most of the top names back at Wimbledon, there is sure to be some top class tennis ahead.
The one thing we do know about the Men’s Singles event at the Olympics is that we will have a first time gold medal winner by the end of the week.
With 2008 Champion, Rafa Nadal pulling out through injury, the other members of the dream quartet will be licking their lips at the prospect of a shiny gold medal.
For Rogerer Federer, everything seems to have fallen into place at exactly the right time. The current world no.1 has never won an Olympic medal and it’s a glaring absence on an otherwise perfect CV. Having defeated both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray here just a matter of weeks ago, there’s no question that this event will be highly prioritised by Roger. What better way for him to win an Olympic gold medal and cement his place at the top of the world rankings than to do it on his much cherished Centre Court.
The draw has been kind to Federer and he will not meet Djokovic or Murray until the final. That’s enough to make him a joint favourite with Novak Djokovic and this definitely could be Roger’s year.
Djokovic himself would love nothing more than to win a gold medal for his nation. Novak was spurred on to his 2011 successes by a Davis Cup victory for Serbia and he’d love nothing more than to bring home the gold medal for his army of fans. The Serb may have looked a little jaded at Wimbledon a few weeks back but he’ll be going for gold here and has every chance.
Andy Murray will still be on a high after becoming the first man to reach a Wimbledon final in over 70 years, and will be hopeful of medal success. This time he probably won’t benefit from a semi-final without the presence of another top four ranked player and will likely have to defeat Djokovic and Federer in succession to win the gold medal. Murray has a tough draw, but his medal chances are very good, although the gold may be just out of reach.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro will all have high medal hopes. Ferrer and Tsonga both did brilliantly well at Wimbledon and should come in full of confidence. Berdych will have been disappointed with his early Wimbledon exit but will see this as a chance to make immediate amends. Meanwhile Juan Martin Del Potro was easily beaten by Ferrer in the Wimbledon fourth round and will be determined to put that right this time around.
If you want to look further afield, Andy Roddick would love to do well, and John Isner has been performing well in recent weeks.
Over in the women’s singles, it’s no surprise at all to see Wimbledon Champion, Serena Williams leading the way in the bookies odds. She can currently be backed at around 2/1 to win the gold medal and if she turns up playing the kind of powerful, assured tennis she was doing three weeks ago, it’s tough to imagine who’ll be able to beat her.
Maria Sharapova is the second favourite and should do well. She was a fourth round surprise loser to Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon but should make it to the latter stages here and has every chance of picking up a medal.
2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova and current world no.1 can both be backed at odds of around 7/1, but again it is tough to see either of them coming through against the might of Serena Williams. Both women fell to the strong American at Wimbledon and if Serena doesn’t stop them you get the feeling Sharapova probably would. From the two, it’s Kvitova who probably has the better chance as her game is better suited to the surface.
German, Angelique Kerber made it through to the semi-finals at Wimbledon and has been in fantastic form this season. She can be backed at around 28/1 to win the gold but could certainly be considered as a medal hopeful, even if probably not for the top prize.
The dream story here would be for Venus Williams to return and win her second gold medal, but although she can be backed at 100/1, her limp first round exit here last month doesn’t provide much inspiration.