TORONTO, August 4, 2016
The tennis draws for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were conducted on Thursday, with the members of Team Canada learning their potential pathways to a medal. Canada will be represented in Rio by four players – Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal), Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa), Daniel Nestor (Toronto), and Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver).
Competing in his second Olympic Games, Pospisil will take on No. 6-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils in the first round of men’s singles. The two played each other just last week in the second round of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto, with Monfils winning the match and eventually making the semifinals. Should he advance past Monfils, Pospisil would play the winner of Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva against Italian Thomas Fabbiano.
“It will be tough,” Pospisil said. “I played a great first set against Monfils last week at Rogers Cup and let it get away from me in the second set. I will try to produce the same level I did in the first set and carry that through but it will be an exciting match.”
Bouchard will be making her Olympic debut for Team Canada against Sloane Stephens of the United States. She could then face No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany or Colombian Mariana Duque-Marino in the second round.
“I know Sloane well, as I’ve known her since we were 12,” Bouchard said. “She’s playing really well right now so I will just try to play good tennis. It will be a battle for sure. I just want to go out and do as well as I can here.”
Two doubles teams will also be in competition. On the women’s side, Bouchard and fellow first-time Olympian Dabrowski will challenge Poland’s Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Paula Kania in the opening round. Should they advance, waiting in round two could be No. 1 seeds Venus and Serena Williams, or Czechs Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova.
Pospisil and Nestor, who is participating in his sixth Olympic Games, are seeded No. 7 in men’s doubles. First up for the duo will be New Zealanders Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus. They sit in the same quarter as No. 2 seeds Andy and Jamie Murray of Great Britain. In the second round, their opponents could be either Germans Philipp Kohlschreiber and Jan-Lennard Struff or Slovakians Andrej Martin and Igor Zelenay.
“Things have been going well,” Nestor said. “I’m happy to be here as it’s a great opportunity. I think we have a chance to medal but every match is tough and comes down to the wire and it will be about who plays better in the big points. Every team is going to be tough. We are ready for our opponents but they are probably ready for us too.”
Nestor and Sebastien Lareau are the only Canadians to have won an Olympic medal, as the two paired up for gold in men’s doubles at the Sydney 2000 Games.
The remaining draw to be done is mixed doubles. Featuring 16 teams, the sign-in deadline is Tuesday and will comprise of players already competing in men’s and women’s singles or doubles.
Play will begin at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.