Novak Djokovic resumed normal service on the ATP Tour on Sunday extending his record of Masters 1000 Series titles to 30 when he defeated third seed Kei Nishikori in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto. To put his dominance of these tournaments in to perspective, he’s won ten of the last 15 Masters 1000 Series titles since the beginning of 2015 and, considering his age, competition at this level and overall form, he’s likely to extend this record considerably further over the next few seasons with his record is likely to stand for decades to come.
On the ATP Tour this week at Atlanta, both of my outright selections Young (66/1) and Verdasco (12/1) are still in the hunt for the title come Sunday. Young is through to the second round and faces compatriot Smyczek tonight and they have met 15 times on the ATP, Challenger and Futures tours to date. They’ve had some monumental battles in the past and Young just leads the head-to-head 8-7; he’s won eight of their 14 encounter on hard courts, but Smyczek has won all four encounters at ATP level including here in qualifying back in 2013.
Verdasco is also through to the second round and faces fellow veteran Benneteau who leads the head-to-head 4-0. The last time they met was at Wimbledon in 2013 and Verdasco won in straight sets and, on current form, the lefty Spaniard should prevail once again.
The 2016 Olympic Tennis tournament gets underway this Saturday at the purpose-built Olympic Tennis Centre in Rio. The Centre has 16 courts, some of which are temporary, while the centre court is a permanent structure that will no doubt be used for future major tennis tournaments on both the ATP and WTA.
The men’s tournament has already witnessed a number of high profile withdrawals like Federer, Wawrinka, Berdych, Raonic, Thiem, Ferrer, Gasquet and Kyrgios but there is still plenty of quality and strength in depth to ensure the competition will be competitive. World number one Djokovic lines up and is the clear odds-on favourite to win a first Olympic Gold medal while defending champion Murray is second favourite. It’s hard to look past the two meeting in the men’s singles Gold medal match final on Sunday, August 14th.