The Dark Horses at Tokyo Olympics 2020 Who Can End Novak Djokovic’s Golden Slam Run

Published 07/20/2021, 4:30 PM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Toby Melville


With the Tokyo Olympics less than a week away, players and fans are gearing up for the world’s biggest sporting event. Moreover, it is time for the athletes to not play for themselves but become a representative of their country. Thus, the competition would indeed be more spectacular and incomparable.

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In the men’s singles tennis event, Serbian World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is inarguably the favorite. Winning three Grand Slams in 2021 so far, he will contest for the gold medal as the top seed this year.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini Pool via REUTERS/David Gray

Apart from the Serbian ace, there are many other favorites eager to claim the Olympics champion title. However, it is the dark horses that they must be wary of at the Games.

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Read More: Has Novak Djokovic Won An Olympic Medal?

Players to keep an eye on at the Tokyo Olympics 

Although these players might not be clear favorites, they have enough potential to cause the biggest of upsets. The dark horses at Tokyo Olympics are Diego Schwartzman, Kei Nishikori, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Hubert Hurkacz, Marin Cilic, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev, Ugo Humbert, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Frances Tiafoe.

Diego Schwartzman – Argentina Olympics Tennis Team

Despite an inconsistent 2021 season, the Argentine World No. 11 Schwartzman would be a crucial contender for a medal. His withstanding ability in longer rallies could make a difference in Tokyo.

Tennis – ATP 250 – Argentina Open – Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina – March 7, 2021 Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman celebrates winning the final against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo with the trophy REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Moreover, he will be the leading man on the tennis team for Argentina. Schwartzman will also play doubles with Facundo Bagnis.

Kei Nishikori – Japan Olympics Tennis Team

The home-favorite and former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori would have all the attention during the Games this year. Also, he has put forward some stunning performances that will make fans expect more from him in the Olympics.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 05: Men’s singles semi-finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan and women’s singles semi-finalist Naomi Osaka of Japan pose for a portrait outside The Kitano Hotel following their quarter-final matches on day 10 of the 2018 US Open at The Kitano Hotel on September 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

With WTA World No. 2 Naomi Osaka leading the women, Nishikori will be the leader for the men for Team Japan. In 2016, Nishikori stole the Olympics bronze medal from Rafael Nadal and could improve the results this time.

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz – Olympics debutants

Canada’s Felix and Poland’s Hubert ended their Wimbledon 2021 campaign against Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. However, they are improving their game with every passing tournament.

Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland during the doubles semifinal on day 6 of the Rolex Paris Masters, an ATP Masters 1000 tournament held behind closed doors at AccorHotels Arena formerly known as Paris Bercy on November 7, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Therefore, it would be interesting to see them do wonders in Japan. If they are successful, it would also boost their career massively.

Tokyo Olympics: Marin Cilic, Karen Khachanov, and Aslan Karatsev 

In the Rio Olympics, the 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic dropped out in the third round. But this time around, the Croatian star will want to give it his all, considering it is a potential opportunity for a medal at the Games.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 16: Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates victory in his Singles match against Marin Cilic of Croatia during day five of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 16, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Besides him, the Russians Khachanov and Karatsev are also frequently doing well on the Tour. Plus, they both have the mindset to beat even the best on any given day. The two will take part in singles and the doubles category with Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev, respectively.

Also Read: Marin Cilic, Karen Khachanov, and Other Tennis Players Troll Tokyo Olympics 2020 Rooms

Ugo Humbert, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Frances Tiafoe

Frenchman Humbert, Spaniard Carreno Busta, and American Tiafoe are the underdogs in every tennis tournament. They all put in the time and effort to bring out their best results. Hence, Tokyo could be the time their labor receives its fruit.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 28, 2021 Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. celebrates winning his first round match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The tournament commences on July 24, 2021, and will see tennis stars competing for the medals. Most significantly, it will be Djokovic who has the most to lose as he attempts to become the first male tennis player to complete the Golden Slam.

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Will he pull off the ultimate tennis reward, or will the dark horses would get the better of him?

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Watch this story: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Others Winning Medals of Glory at Olympic Games

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Purav Joshi

962 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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