The Argentine defeated Djokovic to win singles bronze at London 2012 and could prove a serious threat to the world No. 1’s hopes for Olympic gold.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia will begin his Rio 2016 Olympic Games the same way he ended his London 2012 campaign. He will face Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the men’s singles first round.
The draw for the men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles and women's doubles events were made on the morning of Thursday (4 August) at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Rio.
The order of play for the competitions, which begin on Saturday, will be released later on Thursday. The draw for the mixed doubles event will be held next Tuesday.
Andy Murray, the No.2 seed from Great Britain and gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will play another Serb, Viktor Troicki. Murray has won all seven of his Tour-level meetings with Troicki.
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Rafael Nadal, third seed in the draw and the gold medallist at Beijing 2008, will have a first-round match against Federico Delbonis from Argentina. This will be Nadal's first competitive match since his defeat at the French Open in June. Fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori from Japan will ll start his campaign facing Spaniard Alberto Ramos-Vinolas.
Nadal and Djokovic have been drawn in the same half but different quarters, meaning they cannot meet before the semifinals. Murray has been draw in Nishikori's half, with other potential semifinal opponents including No.6 seed Gael Monfils, No.7 David Ferrer and No.9 Marin Cilic.
In the women’s singles tournament, world No.1 Serena Williams will begin her bid to repeat the gold-medal performance from London 2012 against Daria Gavrilova of Australia.
Gavrilova, who lives in Melbourne, represented Russia until the end of 2015 before switching to Australian nationality. The pair have one previous meeting, the American losing just three games when they played in Doha three years ago.
Serena could face sister Venus in the semifinals, assuming the Sydney 2000 Olympic champion can maintain the impressive form that saw her reach the last four at Wimbledon. The siblings hold the tennis record for most Olympic gold medals won, each owning four. They also red hot favourites to retain their Olympic doubles title; they will play the Czech pairing of Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova in the first round of the women's doubles event.
On the other side of the women's singles draw, No.2 seed and 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber from Germany will face Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia. If Kerber advances, she will have to face either Sloane Stephens of the USA or Eugenie Bouchard from Canada.
In the men’s doubles event, French top seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert will begin their campaign with a testing opener against Colombian duo Juan Sebastien Cabal and Robert Farah, while the Murray brothers, Andy and Jamie, will have to overcome both their opponents and a partisan crowd when they take on Brazilian pair Thomaz Bellucci and André Sá.
Fellow Brazilian duo Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, strongly tipped to win a medal on home soil with both players having won Grand Slam doubles titles over the last 18 months, will tackle Thai brothers Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana, while No.4 seeds Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are up against American duo Brian Baker and Rajeev Ram.