The Tokyo Olympics men’s singles draw has been released, and it is bringing a number of exciting first-round clashes! Though it seemed like everyone and their grandmother withdrew from the Olympics, there is still an exciting tournament ahead with Novak Djokovic looking to become the first man to achieve the Golden Slam and the rest of the field looking to stop him.
Tokyo Olympics Draw Analysis
Top half, first quarter: Can anyone stop Novak?
Novak Djokovic is the top seed anchoring this draw and has received a nice draw to start. The Serb opens against Bolivian Hugo Dellien and will then face either Jan-Lennard Struff or Thiago Monteiro. The third round is where the first challenge for Djokovic might come, as he could face the 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti, who already took two sets off him in their French Open meeting.
Further down in the quarterfinals, Andrey Rublev opens with a blockbuster first-round against Kei Nishikori, a match that would be an absolute delight in front of a live crowd but should be almost as good for us at home. The other seed is Gael Monfils who has been a non-factor on tour since the August 2020 restart, winning only three matches since. His first-round opponent though, Ilya Ivashka, might be one to watch in this section as the Belarusian is having a career year and is coming off a fourth-round run at Wimbledon.
Djokovic’s most likely quarterfinal opponent will be Rublev, the only current Top 10 member the World No. 1 hasn’t faced yet. This could bring a certain level of uncertainty and danger, though looking at their games, it will take an extraordinary performance from Rublev and a poor one from Djokovic to produce an upset.
Quarterfinal prediction: (1) Novak Djokovic vs (5) Andrey Rublev
Top half, second quarter: An easy path for Zverev, a tricky one for Hurkacz
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev headlines the second quarter and enjoys an easy draw, opening against Yen-Hsun Lu and then faces Daniel Elahi Galan or Mohamed Safwat. The seed in his section is Lorenzo Sonego, who also shouldn’t pose much of a threat.
On the other side of the quarter is seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole has had a rollercoaster year with titles in Delray Beach and Miami and a semifinal at Wimbledon, but has struggled between those highs. He opens against an in-form Marton Fucsovics and also has 11th seed Aslan Karatsev in his section.
Quarterfinal prediction: (4) Alexander Zverev vs (11) Aslan Karatsev
Bottom half, third quarter: Dark horse Khachanov and question marks around Tsitsipas
The top seed of this section is No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas. It’s tough to know what to expect from the Greek as he has only played three matches since the French Open, including a first-round exit at Wimbledon to Frances Tiafoe. He could face the American again in the second round here if he gets past Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first. The other seed in his section is Ugo Humbert, the Halle champion, who could present a challenge to Tsitsipas.
The other portion has Diego Schwartzman as the eighth seed, who opens against Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas and then plays Tomas Machac or Joao Sousa. There is also the 12th seed Karen Khachanov, considered a dark horse here by some. On current form, the Russian is the most likely candidate to advance to the quarterfinals over Schwartzman.
Quarterfinal prediction: (12) Karen Khachanov vs (3) Stefanos Tsitsipas
Bottom half, fourth quarter: Olympic blockbuster and Medvedev back on hard
The main headline of the fourth quarter is definitely the first-round clash between ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and two-time-defending Gold Medalist Andy Murray. It is a brutal draw for Murray, especially considering their 2020 US Open meeting ended in a straightforward win for the young Canadian. However, considering that this match will be best-of-three and a first round, it should be much more of a contest.
The other seed in the section is No. 6 Pablo Carreno Busta, coming into the Olympics off of a title in Hamburg. However, the surface switch might be tricky, especially with the experienced Marin Cilic lurking in the second round.
The top seed of the section is second seed Daniil Medvedev. Alongside Naomi Osaka, he is probably the happiest person to be back on hard courts. The Russian had a decent grass season, but considering his previous success on hard, we should expect him at another gear at the Olympics. Medvedev starts against Alexander Bublik, a match that should be more exciting now than their meeting at the French Open. The rest of his section is pretty easy with potential second-round opponents Sumit Nagal or Denis Istomin and 15th seed Fabio Fognini.
Quarterfinal prediction: (9) Felix Auger-Aliassime vs (2) Daniil Medvedev
Main Photo from Getty.