Djokovic stands between Murray and second gold

Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:11am EDT
 
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By Drazen Jorgic

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Britain's Andy Murray, bristling with confidence after ending a three-year wait for another grand slam title at Wimbledon, will seek to make history in Brazil by becoming the first man to win successive Olympic gold medals in men's singles tennis.

But to replicate his London Olympics triumph Murray will need to find a chink in the armor of Novak Djokovic, the proud Serb who has dominated men's tennis in recent years and now has his eye on the only major honor to elude him.

In recent years Murray has struggled to hold his own in the rivalry against childhood friend Djokovic, who defeated him in the 2016 Australian and French Open finals to became the first man since 1969 to hold all four grand slam titles at once.

Djokovic's maiden French Open title elevated the Serb, a winner of 12 grand slams, to the pantheon of tennis greats but a lackluster third-round exit at Wimbledon has offered hope to Murray and his other rivals that his dominance may be ebbing.

"Winning medals for your country is as good as it gets," said Murray, who in 2012 became the first Briton in 104 years to win a men's singles gold medal at Olympics.

Three-time grand slam winner Murray will be hoping to improve on his 24-10 career match record against Djokovic in Brazil, where the two men are favorites to take gold.

Roger Federer's hopes of winning a men's singles Olympics gold to go with the doubles title he won in 2008 look to be at an end, however, after the 34-year-old pulled out of Rio -- and the rest of the season -- to undergo rehabilitation on his left knee.

In the women's game, 22-time grand slam winner Serena Williams is hot favorite to retain the Olympic singles gold that she won for the first time in 2012.   Continued...

 
Novak Djokovic of Serbia  and Andy Murray of Britain after Djokovic won at the French Open.  REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen