OLYMPIC SPOTLIGHT ON: Doubles
Men's DoublesWith the dust from the bombshell of the Bryan brothers pulling out of the 2016 Rio Olympic games starting to settle, we look ahead to the partnerships we are most looking forward to watching:
Pierre-Ougues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut (FRA)- the 2016 Wimbledon Men's Doubles Champions and 2016 BNP Paribas Indian Wells Masters continue the French tradition of high performing doubles teams at the Olympics. In 2012, French teams took home silver and bronze, only behind the Bryan brothers. Herbert/Mahut showed great on-court chemistry at Wimbledon, so it will be interesting to see them translate that to the hard courts in Rio.
Andy Murray/Jamie Murray (GBR)- Everyone loves a sibling doubles team, and the British Murray brothers are no different. Although they had a disappointing first round loss in the 2012 London Olympic games, both Murrays have grown and matured, so let's hope they step up. With Andy defending his singles title, many may suspect that his focus will be elsewhere, but winning gold in two events is better than just one!
Leander Paes/Rohan Bopanna (IND)- There's no doubt about it- Paes is the gold standard when it comes to doubles specialists. Playing in his seventh straight Olympics, Paes is bringing a wealth of knowledge to the doubles court. Bopanna is a phenomenal doubles player in his own right, ranked as high as number three in 2013, and is currently ranked higher than Paes at 15 in the world. While their on-court talent is obvious, Paes/Bopanna will need to lay their off court differences to rest in order to be successful. Hopefully the Olympics will allow them to do just that.
Womens' DoublesThe Williams sisters are looking to do something that has never been done before in Olympic history- win gold three times in a row, and four times total. These Olympic Games are truly theirs to lose, and with more records on the line to add to their resume, I only see them stepping up and dominating.
The Australian Rodionova sisters were added to the list of entrants, following Dominika Cibulkova's withdrawal. These relatively unknown doubles specialists are definitely ones to watch out for.
The other American women's doubles team is one that really excites me, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe. Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe will be loud and in your face in every single match they play, and their energy and desire to compete is simply contagious. I'd love to see an all USA final.