The medals have been awarded and the Olympics are done. But who were the biggest winners and losers in Rio this week?
Monica Puig: This hasn’t just been a good week for Monica Puig, it’s been sensational. The world No.34 confirmed suspicions that she’s the real deal with a dream run through a tricky draw in Rio. When she swept aside Garbine Muguruza she sent out a massive message. When she held her nerve against Angelique Kerber – the in-form player of the moment – she not only confirmed her tennis credentials, but became the belle of Puerto Rico too.
Andy Murray: Tennis has been played (off and on) at the Olympics since 1896. In that time, no player has ever managed to successfully defend their title… until now. By winning Gold in Rio, Andy Murray has done something that nobody else in tennis has ever managed to do. Doing so has secured the Brit a special place in the pantheon of Olympic greats, one achievement that will forever elude Roger, Rafa and Novak.
Juan Martin Del Potro: Yes his Olympics ended in defeat, but what an Olympics it was. That he beat Novak Djokovic was remarkable. That he backed it up was sensational. And that he made it to the Gold medal match – taking down a re-energised Rafa Nadal along the way – simply proved that the Tower of Tandil is well and truly back (and the tennis world couldn’t be happier).
Honourable mentions to:
Rafa Nadal: How good is it to have Rafa back? A doubles Gold with his best buddy, backed up by a fourth place finish is no mean achievement for the injured Spaniard.
Angelique Kerber: Is there a better player in the women’s game right now? Kerber is consistently crushing it, and was a whisker short of Olympic Gold.
Daria Gavrilova: Forget what Dasha did at the tennis, she crushed the Olympics as a spectator. Nobody – in any sport – did a better job of taking all the events in.
Novak Djokovic: The tennis world winced when Del Potro and Djokovic were drawn together in the first round of Rio, but few expected the world No.1 to lose the match. He did, and once again walked away from an Olympics without the Gold medal that most people expected him to win.
Serena Williams: It wasn’t so much the defeat to Elina Svitolina that was a surprise, it was the manner of it. Yes, Svitolina played out of her skin, but Serena looked like a shadow of her normal self. It was a disappointing way for the sports’ most decorated Olympian to bow out of what is likely to be her last Games.
Garbine Muguruza: Garbine Muguruza wasn’t just beaten in the third round by an inspired Monica Puig, she was destroyed. The manner of that destruction, in arguably the biggest event she’ll play in this year, raises yet more questions about both her temperament and consistency.
Honourable mentions to:
Aga Radwanska: The Pole crashed out in the first round after enduring a 55 hour journey to Rio. A bad week indeed.
Venus Williams: Yes, her Olympics had a silver lining in the mixed. But nobody expected Venus to go out in the first round of the Singles or Doubles.
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