Djokovic, Osaka to begin Olympic gold medal bids on day one in Tokyo

The big guns will be out in force as events get under way in Tokyo on Saturday

Naomi Osaka at Tokyo Olympics in 2021 Naomi Osaka at Tokyo Olympics in 2021 ©

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will begin their quests for Olympic gold on day one of the tennis event in Tokyo on Saturday.

Men’s world No 1 Djokovic plays Hugo Dellien of Bolivia in the final match on Centre Court, while women’s No 2 Osaka kicks things off on the show courts with her first-round match against Sasai Zheng of China.

Djokovic, Osaka chasing first Olympic golds

Both Djokovic and Osaka will be trying to win their first Olympic gold medals. Men’s No 1 Djokovic won the bronze medal in Beijing but lost in the semi-finals in London in 2012 and in the first round, to Juan Martin Del Potro in 2016.

The 34-year-old goes into the Olympics having won all three of the Grand Slam titles so far in 2021, needing just the US Open to become the first man to win the coveted calendar-year Grand Slam of all four majors since Rod Laver in 1969. Should the Serb win gold in Tokyo, he would then be in a position to emulate the achievement of Steffi Graf, who won the “Golden Slam” of all four majors and Olympics in 1988.

Osaka will be playing in her first Olympic Games but under intense pressure as one of the faces of her home Games, while she will also be playing for the first time in almost two months, having pulled out after one round at Roland-Garros and then missed Wimbledon, for mental health reasons.

Medvedev, Swiatek among other big names in action

Second seed Daniil Medvedev is also in action on day one, taking on Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the second match on Centre Court, while Roland-Garros champion Barbora Krejickova plays another Kazakh, Zarina Diyas.

On Court 1, last year’s Roland-Garros champion Iga Swiatek opens her campaign against Mona Barthel of Germany while Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Ugo Humbert and Lorenzo Musetti are among others in action on the outside courts.

And Andy Murray, the 2012 and 2016 singles champion, will be in doubles action with partner Joe Salisbury, taking on the Roland-Garros champions, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in round one.

The full orders of play can be found here

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