Scottish Andy Murray has to believe that his Olympics betting odds have taken a turn for the better now that Swiss Roger Federer has pulled a Tiger Woods and announced he will miss the Rio Olympics – along with the remainder of the 2016 season – in order to properly and extensively rehab his torn meniscus following surgery earlier in the year. Federer’s absence should leave Murray sitting in the catbird seat as the Scotsman looks to win a second gold medal. As fans of Olympics betting might remember, and as fate would have it, Murray defeated Federer of all people in the finals of the men’s singles tennis tournament at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Federer expects to return with a vengeance in 2017, but he will be 35 by now – and 39 by the time Tokyo 2020 Summer Games roll around. Thus, it is safe to say that the Swiss’ Olympics betting odds of ever winning a gold medal have been pretty much permanently compromised. Federer’s hopes of winning an eighth Wimbledon were also dashed when he lost in the semifinals of the 2016 edition of the tournament to Milos Raonic – after which Raonic hopefully exclaimed “Another game for Milos!” To literally add insult to injury, Federer fell and tweaked his knee joint during that loss to Raonic – the same knee joint he originally tore in February when he slipped while running a bath for his twin daughters. For what’s worth, he might still win Father of the Year.
The history of sports is filled with inspirational comebacks, so we wouldn’t put it past Federer to win a history-making 18th Grand Slam win. The Swiss already has three more than retired Pete Sampras, but with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still active and with 14 and 12 Grand Slams respectively; Federer might want to make it more difficult for them to become the tennis with player with the most Grand Slams in the Open Era. Plus, a nice even number like 18 is just so much better than 17, for so many reasons that don’t all apply exclusively to tennis. And speaking of Grand Slams, the tennis tournaments at the 2016 Summer Olympics has achieved the status of unofficial Grand Slam, what with the likes of Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro, Kei Nishikori, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all competing.
On the other hand, top guys like Dominic Thiem, Tomas Berdych, Raonic, Richard Gasquet, and others will do like Federer and miss Rio for one reason or another – and there are plenty to choose from. All things considered, this state of affairs will certainly make for an intriguing tournament, where Olympics betting odds say that Djokovic will battle Murray to become the gold standard, but where the unexpected could happen – and, one might reasonably argue, has already happened thanks to Roger Federer’s withdrawal from the competition – especially taking into account that, unlike most majors, this tourney’s early rounds will feature a maximum of three sets, setting the stage for potentially shocking early exits.