The tennis world broke out with joy on Tuesday after it was announced that the world’s No. 1 Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic play in the mixed doubles event at the Tokyo Olympics.
Barty and Djokovic were both drawn in 16-team draws on Tuesday, with the Aussie teaming up with John Peers and Djokovic teaming up with Nina Stojanovic.
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This means that Djokovic now has the chance to win gold in singles and mixed doubles, while Barty’s chances of a medal also increased with the Australian star still alive in the women’s doubles.
Djokovic chasing a rare ‘Golden Slam’ (all four major and Olympic golds in the same year) are through to the third round in singles.
He and Stojanovic meet the Brazilian couple Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefano in the first round.
Barty, beaten in his initial singles match by Sara Sorribes Tormo, team up with the Peers and take on the Argentine duo Nadia Podoroska and Horacio Zeballos.
Barty also plays in the women’s doubles, where she and Storm Sanders have reached the quarterfinals as the sixth seed.
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari take the second seeding in the mixed doubles, with Iga Swiatek representing Poland along with Lukasz Kubot.
Fans were in a frenzy over the prospect of seeing Djokovic and Barty in the mix.
Australia’s tennis medal hopes down to double
Australia’s Olympic tennis medal hopes rest solely on doubles after James Duckworth was the last to be eliminated from singles on Tuesday.
Heavy rain meant that Duckworth had to wait to start his second round match against the Russian heavyweight Karen Khachanov.
He pushed the favorite early before bowing out in a 7-5 6-1 loss in 88 minutes.
But Australia’s medal hopes are still alive and kicking, with Barty and Peers in mixed, Barty and Sanders in women’s doubles as well as Sam Stosur and Ellen Perez in doubles.
Barty and longtime friend Sanders have made the final eight teams, as has the five-time Olympic Stosur and her partner Perez.
Because the Aussie teams are at opposite ends of the draw, they do not have to meet before the final (if they reach it).
On Monday, Barty admitted his disappointment at being thrown out of the singles, but saw a medal in doubles.
“Of course yesterday was disappointing,” Barty said.
“I do not want to hide behind the fact that I wanted to feel really good here, but we are moving on to tennis quite quickly.
“I really enjoyed getting out there with Storm today and we’re still looking for a medal for Australia.”
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