Rio 2016: 5 players outside the Big Four to look out for
With Wimbledon coming to an end, all eyes will now fall on the 2016 Summer Olympics which will be held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
At the Men’s Singles tournament, the Big Four of Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Nadal will definitely be one of the top contenders for a place in the podium. However, in the past few years, a number of players have emerged who, at a number of times have proved that they are more than a match for the Big Four and have often pulled off victories over the famed quartet.
The absence of the likes of Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic owing to Zika fears doesn’t make the path smooth for the Big Four as there are quite a few players who can give them a tough challenge. Here are 5 such players to look out for in the Olympics.
#1. Stan Wawrinka
The first name that comes to our mind following the Big Four is the 31-year old Swiss who is ranked fifth in the world just behind Rafael Nadal. Wawrinka is the only player outside the famed quartet who has won two Grand Slams in the last eleven years, winning the Australian Open and the French Open in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
2016 hasn’t been a very eventful year for Wawrinka as apart from a semi-final appearance at Roland Garros, his performances have not been very convincing. Wimbledon turned out to be a huge disappointment for Wimbledon as he bowed out in the second round against Juan Martin Del Potro.
Rio 2016 will be Wawrinka’s third appearance at the Olympics after 2008 and 2012. Wawrinka’s singles performance at the Olympics has been poor so far as he exited in the first and second rounds at Beijing and London respectively. However, this year is bound to be much better as Wawrinka has been in sensational form in the last two years and through his big serve, offensive play and powerful backhand has been a very tough player to beat.
The tournament will be held on hard courts, one of Wawrinka’s favorite surfaces – and also the same surface on which he won his first Grand Slam.
The Swiss has a 63% win percentage at hard courts overall and has won 15 out of his 19 matches in hard courts this year. If he can be at top of his game then Wawrinka could win his second Olympic medal after having won the gold medal in the Doubles tournament of the 2008 Beijing Olympics alongside Roger Federer.