Rio Olympic Medal Picks
It wasn't easy for some of the players to even GET to Brazil...
Second day on the Road to Rio... Still not even close... pic.twitter.com/xWADA06BGP— Aga Radwanska (@ARadwanska) August 2, 2016
But many of the committed were willing to go to any lengths necessary to make the trip...
@EVesnina001 i can even stay in the overhead bin!! No problem ??????????????— Sara Errani (@SaraErrani) August 2, 2016
Others took the time to get in some additional on-court action (and selfies) before boarding their plane...
While others could hardly wait to make a little history...
And then there was Daria Gavrilova...
Though, I'm not sure the big 'roo is going to help her much in Rio... as she was the one who drew the REALLY short straw on draw-making day.
Rio Olympics (Hard Court)
=ROUND OF 16 PREDICTIONS=
#1 S.Williams/USA d. #15 Svitolina/UKR
#6 Vinci/ITA d. #11 Kvitova/CZE
#14 Pavlyuchenkova/RUS d. #3 Muguruza/ESP
#5 V.Williams/USA d. #12 Bacsinszky/SUI
#7 Keys/USA d. #9 Suarez-Navarro/ESP
Kasatkina/RUS d. #16 Strycova/CZE
#8 Kuznetsova/RUS d. #10 Konta/GBR
#2 Kerber/GER d. #13 Stosur/AUS
#1 S.Williams/USA d. #6 Vinci/ITA
#5 V.Williams/USA d. #14 Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
Kasatkina/RUS d. #7 Keys/USA
#2 Kerber/GER d. #8 Kuznetsova/RUS
...Serena tries to become the first player to successfully defend Olympic singles Gold. She enters as the favorite to do so, but there are potential pitfalls along the way (her early-round path starts with Gavrilova and could go through Cornet and Svitolina/Watson). A possible QF with '15 U.S. Open/Grand Slam spoiler Vinci would be quite interesting, to say the least. I'm going with Muguruza's summer slowdown to continue, Venus' summer surge to go on (as long as the "issue" that was hampering her serve in Montreal is taken care of), Kuznetsova to emerge as a possible medal dark horse (she and Myskina are the only "elite" members of the revolutionary Hordette generation without an Olympic medal of any hue) and Radwanska to once again come up short in the games (she lost in the 2nd Rd. in Beijing, 1st Rd. in London). Her shortfall could be Kasatkina's gain. The Russian should face the Pole in the 2nd Round, and could worm her way deep into the draw if she can take her out.
GOLD: #1 Serena Williams, USA
SILVER: #2 Angelique Kerber, GER
BRONZE: Daria Kasatkina, RUS
4th Place: #5 Venus Williams, USA
GOLD: #1 S.Williams/V.Williams, USA
SILVER: Kasatkina/Kuznetsova, RUS
BRONZE: #7 Makarova/Vesnina, RUS
4th Place: #5 Bacsinszky/Hingis, SUI
...the Sisters are the easiest medal pick in all five tennis disciplines. Sure, they COULD lose, but they're 15-0 in Olympic action and a fourth WD Gold would lay down a record total that might just last a lifetime (and maybe more). Yeah, I know, I'm doubling down a bit on Kasatkina at these games, but how much fun would a Dasha/Sveta medal run be? I mean, come on!
Venus and Serena at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Rio (AFP/GETTY) pic.twitter.com/AX7z9UEVv3— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) August 3, 2016
#1 Djokovic/SRB d. #5 Tsonga/FRA
#3 Nadal/ESP d. #11 Cuevas/URU
#9 Cilic/CRO d. #4 Nishikori/JPN
#2 Murray/GBR d. #12 Johnson/USA
...for all he's done, Djokovic has a fairly small Olympic footprint (a Bronze in '08, and a loss in the Bronze Match in '12). That all would change with a Gold medal run that would add his name to the short list of players with Career Golden Slams in singles, and the even shorter list of players (Graf, Agassi, S.Williams) with Career Golden Slams AND a season-ending tour championships crown to complete a career singles "Six Pack" of major titles. If the Serb slips (he plays del Potro in the 1st Rd., four years after losing out to the Argentine for the Bronze in London), Murray is suddenly the strong favorite to become the first man (player, if Serena doesn't beat him to it) to defend Olympic singles Gold.
GOLD: #1 Novak Djokovic, SRB
SILVER: #2 Andy Murray, GBR
BRONZE: #9 Marin Cilic, CRO
4th Place: #3 Rafael Nadal, ESP
GOLD: #3 Melo/Soares, BRA
SILVER: #2 A.Murray/J.Murray, GBR
BRONZE: #1 Herbert/Mahut, FRA
4th Place: Marach/Peya, AUT
...Melo/Soares are the best -- and probably only -- hope for the host nation to take home a medal in tennis. The Bryans won in 2012, but aren't in Brazil to defend.
The Mixed Doubles draw will be released next week.
*OLYMPIC TENNIS #1 SEEDS, w/ result*
1984 (demonstration) Kathy Horvath, USA (QF)
1988 Steffi Graf, FRG (Gold)
1992 Steffi Graf, GER (Silver)
1996 Monica Seles, USA (QF)
2000 Lindsay Davenport, USA (2nd Rd - w/d)
2004 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL (Gold)
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB (w/d)
2012 Victoria Azarenka, BLR (Bronze)
2016 Serena Williams, USA
1984 (demonstration) Jimmy Arias, USA (SF)
1988 Stefan Edberg, SWE (Bronze)
1992 Jim Courier, USA (3rd Rd.)
1996 Andre Agassi, USA (Gold)
2000 Marat Safin, RUS (1st Rd.)
2004 Roger Federer, SUI (2nd Rd.)
2008 Roger Federer, SUI (QF)
2012 Roger Federer, SUI (Silver)
2016 Novak Djokovic, SRB
All for now.