Tennis is one of the first sports to get underway at the Rio 2016 Olympics after the opening ceremony on Friday and the men’s singles division will see a number of big names fighting it out for the top prize.
Over the years, a lot of Grand Slam winners have missed on winning the Olympic gold medal and that is why, it is never easy to predict the winner in this competition. However, here’s a look at the top 5 contenders who will be the favourites to claim the title at Rio -
Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
The Serbian superstar claimed both the Australian Open and the French Open titles earlier this year, but his impressive run was cut short by his shocking third round exit at Wimbledon last month. However, his impressive performances over the last year and his dominance on hard court has established Djokovic as the top contender for the gold and in spite of first round clash against Argentine powerhouse Juan Martin Del Potro, the Serb will be looking to claim the top prize at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Kei Nishikori (Japan)
Kei Nishikori has won most of his career titles on hard courts and at the Rio 2016, he will be looking to become the first Asian tennis player to win an Olympic gold medal. The Japanese No. 1 has shown great potential over the last couple of years and in 2014, he narrowly missed out on the US Open title after he was defeated by Marin Cilic in a hard-fought finale.
Andy Murray (Great Britain)
The Scotsman has shown great form in the last couple of months by winning his second Wimbledon title and he will be looking to carry his momentum when he begins his Rio 2016 campaign. Murray claimed the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics after defeating Roger Federer in the final and he will be looking to become the first singles player to win the Olympic gold medal twice.
Rafael Nadal (Spain)
The last couple of years have not been kind for the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and his last Grand Slam title came way back in 2014 when he won the French Open. The Spaniard’s wrist injury kept him out of this year’s French Open and Wimbledon competitions, but Nadal remains one of the most dominant tennis players in the world and it will be unwise to discount the World No. 5 at the Rio Olympics.
Marin Cilic (Croatia)
The Croatian has improved a lot under the guidance of compatriot Goran Ivanisevic and he was successful in winning his maiden Grand Slam in 2014 at the US Open. On the hardcourts of Flushing Meadows, he cruised past Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori to claim the title and if he can repeat the same kind of dominance, he can surely be the dark horse in the race for the gold medal.