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Take a Closer Look: Team USA

Take a Closer Look: Team USA
Photo: © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA: 

Singles: Brian Baker, Steve Johnson, Denis Kudla, Jack Sock, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephans, Serena Williams, Venus Williams 
Doubles: Brian Baker/Rajeev Ram, Steve Johnson/Jack Sock, Serena Williams/Venus Williams, Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe

Men:

Team USA's men are more of an underdog this year than in previous Olympic Games. Without a major headliner in either the singles or doubles, the most we can hope for is a few upsets along the way. 
Brian Baker: Journeyman Baker has been plagued with injuries and hasn't played much in the last three years, but is making a push at this year's Olympic Games. He is currently ranked 156, so look for him to maybe win a round or two. 

Steve Johnson: Johnson has had a great 2016 season so far, winning his first ATP tour title at Nottingham in June, as well as having solid doubles results (Runner Up at at Memphis Open in February and Winner at Geneva in May). He will probably only win a couple of rounds in the singles, but will be a solid partner in the doubles and may make a few waves playing with Rajeev Ram.

Rajeev Ram: The doubles specialist Ram brings much needed doubles leadership to the men's side of Team USA. With the withdrawal of the Bryan Brothers, many wondered if USA would even make it to the later rounds of doubles, but now it seems like USA might have a real chance to make it past the quarters with the partnership of Johnson/Ram. 

Denis Kudla: Young gun Kudla has been laying low most of 2016, but he has the potential to unleash at the Olympics. Don't be surprised if he registers a few upsets, but also don't be surprised if he loses first round. You just don't know what you're going to get. 

Jack Sock: The new face of American men's tennis, Sock has been touted as the future of the sport with his strong physique and blistering groundstrokes. He has had a solid 2016, reaching the finals of Auckland and US Men's Clay Courts in singles, as well as the finals of Indian Wells and the Italian Open in Doubles. Sock won the 2014 Wimbledon Doubles Title with Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Sock is my dark horse favorite on the Men's side, so look for him to register some surprising wins. 


Women:

The Team USA women are the standouts of this year's Olympic Games. No other team is as strong nor has as much depth as the American women. From top to bottom, look for these ladies to take home some serious hardware. 
Serena: This goes without saying. She's the most dominant player on the women's side and the defending gold medalist, so this is hers to lose. I'd be very surprised if she didn't win the whole thing. 

Venus: Venus has been having a decent year despite her age at 34. She lost to Madison Keys at Coupe Rogers, but showed why she is the champion she is. Expect her to get to the quarters or later, depending on the draw. 

Serena/Venus: The defending Olympic doubles champions are on track to do it again this year. They won the doubles title this year at Wimbledon, and with Serena's dominance of the game, it would be very surprising if they didn't win Gold. 

Madison Keys: Keys has been having a stellar year, and with her play at Coupe Rogers, is showing exactly why she is the heir apparent to the Williams sisters. I hope to see her in the semifinals, but that depends on how the draw shakes out. 

Sloane Stephans: Stephans has been quiet in recent years, and although she definitely has the talent, she can't seem to put together the big wins that would make her a favorite. Look for her to win a couple of rounds and possibly knock off a seed. 

Bethani Mattek-Sands/ CoCo Vandeweghe: This doubles duo is all about flash and style. From Mattek-Sands' crazy socks to Vandeweghe's slugger attitude, this pair is certainly entertaining. They have the talent to make some big waves, but it will depend on how they play on each given day.
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