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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Top 5 contenders for the gold medal in the men's singles event

Novak Djokovic with the Wimbledon trophy
Novak Djokovic with the Wimbledon trophy
FEATURED COLUMNIST

The Tokyo Olympics won't witness Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal competing for a medal. But it will feature World No. 1 Novak Djokovic who's on a mission to add the Olympic gold medal to his illustrious resume.

The Serb will face competition from a host of NextGen stars, each of whom will be eager to get their hands on the lucrative prize.

With the Tokyo Games just around the corner, let's take a look at the top five players capable of claiming the men's singles gold.

Also read: Tokyo Olympics 2020: Top 5 contenders for the gold medal in the women's singles event

Also Checkout: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule


#1 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

Novak Djokovic with the French Open trophy
Novak Djokovic with the French Open trophy

Despite owning a staggering 20 Grand Slam titles and a record-extending 330 weeks at the summit of the world rankings, Novak Djokovic still has a glaring gap in his resume. And that is the prized Olympic gold medal.

In three outings so far, the Serb has managed to secure just one bronze medal, which came years ago in the men's singles event at the 2008 Beijing Games. Djokovic's medal hopes in the next two editions were crushed by Juan Martin del Potro, who beat the Serb in the bronze medal play-off in 2012 and the first round in 2016.

Needless to say, the Olympic gold remains a big source of motivation for Djokovic.

"Winning a medal is my goal, and it is not a secret I am aiming for the gold," the top seed said ahead of the Games. "After Tokyo 2020, I will start to think about the US Open."

Winning the Olympic gold carries even more significance for the World No. 1 this year. No tennis player apart from the legendary Steffi Graf has ever managed to complete the Calender Golden Slam, which refers to winning all four Majors and the Olympic gold in singles in the same year.

Djokovic has already won the first three Grand Slams of the year and bagging a gold medal in Tokyo will leave him just a US Open title away from becoming the first man to accomplish the feat.

#2 Daniil Medvedev (Russia)

Daniil Medvedev (R)
Daniil Medvedev (R)

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev leads a strong Russian contingent that includes the likes of Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev. Medvedev, of course, remains Russia's best bet to topple Djokovic at the Olympics and claim the gold.

The 25-year-old has a 29-8 win-loss record for the year and has claimed two titles. He also made a spectacular run to the Australian Open final in February. The Russian has made huge improvements to his game on different surfaces and now appears to be a more complete player than ever before.

On clay, he won four matches at Roland Garros for the first time ever in his career and then followed it up with his maiden title on grass at Mallorca. He then navigated his way into the fourth round at Wimbledon for the very first time.

Medvedev has already broken new ground this year and he will be looking to cap off a stellar season with the Olympic gold.

#3 Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas has had a few forgettable weeks. After squandering a two-sets-to-love lead against Novak Djokovic in the French Open final, Tsitsipas was bundled out of Wimbledon in the first round by Frances Tiafoe.

Things then got worse for the World No. 4 as he crashed out in the quarterfinals in Hamburg, losing to Filip Krajinovic.

The young Greek will need to find a way to cast aside recent setbacks and focus on getting his country an Olympic medal in tennis for the first time since 1896.

If Tsitsipas can clear his mind and find the right headspace, he is definitely capable of doing some damage. His recent struggles are, after all, an aberration, considering how well he has done over the rest of the season.

The World No. 4 has a tour-leading 40 wins this season. He also won his first Masters 1000 crown in Monte-Carlo and reached his maiden Grand Slam final in Paris.

Tsitsipas will be eager to get back to winning ways when he sets foot in Tokyo.

#4 Alexander Zverev (Germany)

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev

Back in 2016, a 19-year-old Alexander Zverev was eligible to represent Germany at the Rio Olympics. But fitness issues prevented the teen from fulfilling his Olympic dream.

Five years on, the lanky German has got a second opportunity to play at the Olympics. Zverev will also feature in the doubles draw, but the German isn't bothered by the extra commitment.

β€œ[For me] the triple commitment [to singles, doubles and mixed doubles] is not a problem, it is the Olympics," Zverev said after his 2021 Madrid Masters win. "You accept everything to get the most for your country.”

Titles in Madrid and Acapulco, as well as a run to the French Open semifinals, are the major highlights of Zverev's season.

In Tokyo, the 24-year-old has a chance to etch his name in the annals of German sporting history. No German has ever won men's singles gold in tennis and that could be enough to fuel Zverev as he sets his sights on the top step of the podium.

#5 Andrey Rublev (Russia)

Andrey Rublev
Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev posted a staggering 41-10 win-loss record last year and captured five titles. The Russian was always going to find it difficult to emulate such a spectacular season, but he hasn't done too badly this year.

The World No. 7 triumphed on the hardcourts of Rotterdam and also made the finals at Monte Carlo on clay and Halle on grass. Much like compatriot Daniil Medvedev, Rublev has proven to be a threat on all surfaces.

If he can hit the ground running in Tokyo, he could prove to be a dangerous opponent. Given the Russian's competitive spirit and hunger to win, it won't be a surprise to see him finish on the podium.

Also Checkout: Tokyo Olympic Tennis Schedule

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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