Canadian Auger-Aliassime lures two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray to start Tokyo tournament
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime will be at a severe disadvantage in terms of experience when he makes his Olympic debut in Tokyo.
The 20-year-old will face reigning two-time gold medalist Andy Murray of Great Britain in the first round of the tournament as the draws for four of the five Olympic tranches were revealed in Japan on Thursday. Mixed doubles matches will be announced next week.
Action on the hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo kicks off Saturday in Tokyo.
Auger-Aliassime of Montreal beat Murray in their only career clash, making a straight-set decision in the second round of the 2020 US Open.
WATCH | Auger-Aliassime Falls in the neighborhoods of Wimbledon:
But Murray is the first man to win back-to-back Olympic tournaments, stepping onto the podium in his London 2012 home games and repeating the feat four years later in Rio. Hip injuries have marred the 34-year-old’s career since, forcing him to even consider retiring in 2019.
Find live broadcasts, must-see videos, breaking news and more in one package perfect for the Olympics. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.
More from Tokyo 2020
Murray also competed in the 2008 Beijing Games, where he was upset in the first round.
15th-ranked Auger-Aliassime has just qualified for the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, which marked his career best result in a major tournament.
Meanwhile, world No.1 Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for his first career Olympic gold medal against No.138 Hugo Dellien of Bolivia. The Serbian will also face No.5 Alexander Zverev and No.7 Andrey Rublev in his half draw.
Djokovic is attempting to become the first man to complete a Golden Slam by winning all four tennis majors and an Olympic gold in singles the same year. Steffi Graf achieved the feat in 1988.
Auger-Aliassime could meet No.2 Daniil Medvedev and No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas ahead of the final.
Another intriguing first-round match stars Kei Nishikori of Japan against Rublev of ROC.
Osaka hopes to make history at home
On the women’s side, home prospect Naomi Osaka will face China’s Zheng Saisai, 52nd. Osaka is returning to competition after withdrawing from Roland Garros after the first round to take a break for her sanity.
The 23-year-old had previously announced that she would accept a fine for ignoring the media at Roland Garros before fully withdrawing.
Osaka holds a 2-1 career lead over Zheng.
The first seed Osaka could face is 16th Kiki Bertens, who is in the final tournament of his career. Iga Swiatek, the 2020 Roland Garros champion, is a possible quarter-final opponent for Osaka.
72nd-ranked Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez will face 46th-ranked Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine in her Olympic debut. She would face world No.1 Ash Barty, who drew No.48 Sara Sorribes Tormo, in the fourth round if both make it that far.
In women’s doubles, Canadian duo Gabriela Dabrowski and Seventh-seeded Sharon Fichman will face Brazilians Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani in the first round.
Half of the top 10 male players are not in Tokyo, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Matteo Berrettini and Canada’s Denis Shapovalov all missing for various reasons.
Serena Williams and Simona Halep aren’t playing either.