Re: OOP Monday
"Day Two Preview:
World No. 1 Roger Federer Begins His Bid for Olympic Gold
Monday sees the start of world No. 1 Roger Federer's attempt to win an Olympic gold medal. The three-time Grand Slam champion plays Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) on Centre Court in the day's evening session.
Having lost the bronze medal play-off at 2000 Sydney, Federer has ambitions to do better this time around. He played his first match in Athens on Sunday, teaming with Yves Allegro (SUI) in the doubles to reach the second round.
Federer is one of the favourites to take the gold medal in Athens thanks to his outstanding form. He successfully defended his Wimbledon title in July, claiming his third Grand Slam title overall and second of the season after the Australian Open. The Swiss has won eight titles so far in 2004, four of which were at successive tournaments, and he had a 23-match winning streak June to August.
The world’s top male doubles pair also play on Monday. Identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan make their Olympic debuts against Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny. The BRYANS represented their country for the first time in Davis Cup last year, and so far have a perfect 3-0 doubles record in the event.
Mark Philippoussis (AUS) is certain to enjoy plenty of local support in his match against Olivier Rochus (BEL) on Show Court 2. The Aussie with Greek roots has spoken of his desire to do well in his father’s homeland.
This is Philippoussis's third Olympics, having reached the last 16 at both 1996 Atlanta and on home soil at 2000 Sydney. Although he lives in California, Philippoussis has an impressive record representing his country, helping Australia to Davis Cup titles in 1999 and 2003.
Federer is one of six Grand Slam singles champions in singles action on the second day.
No. 3 seed Carlos Moya (ESP), winner of 1998 Roland Garros, is first out on Centre Court and plays Thomas Enqvist (SWE). Three-times Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten (BRA) is up against No. 10 seed Nicolas Massu (CHI).
Reigning Roland Garros women’s champion Anastasia Myskina (RUS) plays Magui Serna (ESP) on Show Court 1, while another Roland Garros champion, 2000 winner Mary Pierce (FRA), opens against Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP).
Conchita Martinez, who won 1994 Wimbledon, comes up against world No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo (FRA).
Mauresmo is one of the women’s medal favourites in Athens. The second seed arrived in Athens fresh from winning her third title of the year on hard court at Montreal. She was part of France’s Fed Cup-winning team last year and has helped her country return to the semifinals in 2004.
Eleni Daniilidou (GRE), ranked No. 36 in the world, represents Greece’s best chance of a medal. The 21-year-old, who lives in Thessaloniki, is second on Centre Court in the day session against Aniko Kapros (HUN). Daniilidou played at the Sydney Olympics four years ago but lost in the opening round of both the singles and doubles.
Russian women have hit the tennis headlines this year, with Myskina and Maria Sharapova (RUS) giving their country their first two Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon respectively.
With all four of Russia’s singles players seeded in Athens, there is a high chance the nation will win a medal.
The four seeded Russians all begin their Olympic campaigns on Monday. Among them is Sydney silver medallist Elena Dementieva, the No. 4 seed, who plays Alicia Molik (AUS). No. 3 Myskina plays Serna as described above, while No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) meets Mariana Diaz-Oliva (ARG) and No. 9 Nadia Petrova (RUS) faces Martina Sucha (SVK).