Tokyo 2020 is just over five months away and the Olympics mixed doubles events are sure to throw up a few dream pairings.
The United States pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock won the gold medal match at the 2016 Rio Games as they beat compatriots Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram 6–7 (3–7), 6–1, [10–7] in the final.
Mattek-Sands are likely to compete in the doubles events in Tokyo again, but it remains to be seen if Sock will be nominated following his slump the past few years.
Mixed doubles only made its return to the Olympic programme at London 2012 following an 88-year absence.
“Qualification” for the mixed doubles for this year’s Olympics is as follows:
– The 16 teams will consist of players already entered in the singles or doubles
– The top 15 combined ranking teams and the host nation are eligible
Of course, a lot of rankings changes can happen before the cut-off date, but here are some interesting combinations.
Australia – Ashleigh Barty and Nick Kyrgios
Barty is the current WTA Tour world No 1 and Kyrgios is the leading Australian men’s player as things stand as he is No 20 in the ATP Rankings.
Barty has pedigree as a doubles player as she has won the 2018 US Open women’s doubles alongside CoCo Vandeweghe while she has runners-up medals from the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Kyrgios LOVES the dynamic when it comes to the team environment as he admitted at the start of the year that he struggles for motivation outside of team competitions.
They will bring a lot of flair and entertainment to the courts.
Both Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov are lingering around the world top 20 while Milos Raonic could be another option should he get his game together in the next few months.
Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Johanna Konta and Jamie Murray/Andy Murray
Konta has made a stuttering start to 2020, but she will be confident her form will pick up before the Games later this year. She teamed up with Jamie at the 2016 Rio Games, but they lost in the opening round to eventual winners Mattek-Sands and Sock.
She, of course, will also have an option of partnering Andy Murray (who may or may not take part in the Olympics) or Joe Salisbury, who won his maiden doubles Grand Slam at the Australian Open after teaming up with Rajeev Ram from the United States.
Germany – Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev
Three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber and young gun Zverev have form as they have represented Germany at the Hopman Cup a couple of times, finishing runner-up to Switzerland in 2018 and 2019.
Greece – Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari
Just imagine the headlines if Tsitsipas and Sakkari win the gold medal. Greece lightning, etc. Yeah, cheesy we know.
The pair got a taste of the mixed doubles action as they paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup, beating the United States in the round-robin phase, but losing against Switzerland and Great Britain.
Japan – Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori
The home nation will be hoping former US Open winner Nishikori will be fit and ready play alongside two-time Grand Slam winner Osaka at Tokyo.
There are few things more special than a home team winning a gold medal in front of their fans.
Spain – Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza
Maybe second time will be a charm for the Spanish duo after they pulled out of the 2016 event before a ball was hit as Nadal wanted to focus on the singles and men’s doubles.
But as things stand, Muguruzua is in form after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open and Nadal is, well, Nadal.
Switzerland – Belinda Bencic and Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka
Bencic and Federer have a lot of chemistry as they won the now defuct Hopman Cup in 2018 and 2019.
Bencic has already stated that she would be “very happy” to partner Federer at this year Olympics, provided he wants to play mixed doubles.
Should Federer not be available then a certain Wawrinka won’t be a bad replacement.
United States – Serena Williams and (Tennys Sandgren) Rajeev Ram/Frances Tiafoe
We are just joking about Serena and Tennys as they are not buddies, but maybe Serena could team up with 2016 silver medallist Ram, who is currently safely in the top 10 men’s doubles rankings following his Australian Open success with Salisbury.
Of course, Serena needs no introduction and she would love to add a fifth Olympic gold medal to her CV having one singles and three women’s doubles (alongside sister Venus) gold medals.
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