August 11, 2016 | 12:02 PM
The singles draws in Rio and most previous Olympics make the events no better than the 14th strongest field of the year for men (after the 9 Masters 1000s and the majors). Given that, it is extraordinary that the #1 and other top male seeds have been repeatedly eliminated in singles before medal rounds, whereas the top women have repeatedly taken medals (it's only a bit extraordinary that the only time Serena has medaled was 2008 when she took gold over #3 Sharapova). The women are usually considered the more nervous when it comes to medaling-type matches.
The Big 4 men have each managed to win just 1 singles medal, hardly the domination you'd expect from them, given they've each lusted for the gold at every occasion in their careersl:
- 2012 gold for #4 Murray over #1 Federer (silver)
- 2008 gold for #2 Rafa over #15 Gonzalez
- 2008 bronze for #2 Joker over #9 Del Potro
The last #1 seeded man to win the gold was Andre in 1996.
In the 5 Olympic Games between 1988 and 2004, the only top 5 men other than Agassi to medal were:
- #5 Kafelnikov (2000 Gold over #22 Haas)
- #4 Mecir (gold over #11 Tim Mayotte)
- #3 Edberg (1988 bronze over Gilbert)
RIO is really no different, though one would expect the quality of the field to make Murray a favorite to repeat with Nadal not far behind for a silver.
In the MEN'S round of 16, THE AVERAGE RANKING of players remaining 45
- only 3 of 9 seeds remaining are top 10 players: #2
Murray, #5 Nadal, #7 Nishikori
- 4 more seeds remain from the top 20: Monfils, Goffin,
Cilic and Agut
- Johnson and Simon remain from the top 32 players
- the other 7 Olympians remaining:
#37 Muller, #40 Fognini, #54 Bellucci, #84 Donsky, #117 Daniel, #121 Martin
and #141 Del Potro!
In the WOMEN'S quarters the AVERAGE RANKING: 19:
- two top 10 and three top 20 players remain: #2 Kerber,
#9 Keys, #14 Kvitova, #20 Svitolina, #13 Konta
- the other 3 players: #27 Kasatkina, #32 Siegemund,
The men's and women's doubles fields may actually be stronger than most events as many of the top singles players play (the only other event where this is common is Indian Wells, and there they are not playing for gold).
Men's event has been a nice mix of singles and doubles stars remaining and should produce some interesting tennis.
Three Men ranked in the top 25 of singles remain in the doubles semis, and a 4th - Pospisil - was ranked as high as 25th last year.
Six of the eight semifinalists have won major doubles titles (Sock and Pospisil won Wimbledon in 2015). Nadal has won 3 Masters 1000 level doubles titles, and while Johnson has yet to win a major in doubles, he was the #2 ranked NCAA doubles player during his career at USC:
(doubles rank in parentheses)
Nestor (9) & Pospisil (17) vs Nadal (200) & Marc Lopez (21)
Johnson (43) & Sock (23) vs Tecau (10) & Mergea (14)