While tennis is not a traditional Olympic sport, it is clear that the chance to represent one’s country at a Games and try to claim a gold medal is regarded as the ultimate achievement despite the Grand Slams holding the usual pride of place for most years.
The big question is whether anyone can stop Serena Williams who looked nearly unbeatable in the Wimbledon women’s singles this year and the American won’t lack motivation when she takes to the court. Odds of 7/4 (William Hill free bets) are likely to be snapped up by several customers, although she did look vulnerable in the earlier rounds last month.
Victoria Azarenka is the number one seed and the Belarussian played pretty well against Williams in the Wimbledon semi-final, despite losing in straight sets. Ladbrokes go 6/1 about Vika standing on top of the podium on 4th August.
Azarenka hasn’t been given the kindest of draws considering she could face either Venus Williams or Angelique Kerber in the quarter final, although Venus did not come up to scratch at Wimbledon and perhaps her best chance of Olympic glory will come in the doubles when she teams up with her younger sister.
That is reflected in the 100/1 (Boylesports free bets) about the American, although Maria Sharapova will feel that she has stronger claims on a gold medal in the women’s singles, with the Russian on course for another last eight clash with Sabine Lisicki which could see Maria take revenge.
The 25-year-old will desperately like to add an Olympic medal to her silverware cabinet with odds of 5/1 available and similar odds can be had with Petra Kvitova despite the 2011 Wimbledon champion looking out of sorts when losing to Serena last month.
Tennis is a sport that lends itself very well to the Olympic global feel considering that the players are from a diverse array of countries, with Samantha Stosur flying the flag for Australia and Li Na hoping to do China proud.
Francesca Schiavone makes plenty of appeal to claim gold for Italy at odds of 300/1 considering the 2010 French Open champion was on the verge of beating Kvitova and she could present a stern test for Serena Williams.