2046 Olympics - Preview
Changchun, China - Hardcourt
The Olympics are one of the few remaining holes in my 'resume'. I make a lot bigger deal out of them than most managers. From an 'objective strategy' point of view, they make the longest stretch of tournament play in the year even longer, and aren't really worth it(750 pts, to the winner, less than a Masters). Even more bizarrely, doubles doesn't garner a single ranking point!?!? Nonetheless, my primary goal has always been to take Sri Lanka to the top of the world stage. In keeping with that, the Olympics are the greatest and rarest of prizes, since it comes along once every four years; the WTC is here every year. It's important enough for me to make a rare departure from the usual obsession over making the objectively best scheduling choice.
Seems useful here to recap how things have gone in recent Olympiads:
** 2034 -- No Sri Lankans were in the field, and indeed none had yet participated, ever, to this date. This was the 12th Olympics, 44 years into the tour. It is notable because of how close it came to making history. Every Olympics up to this one had been won by a different player -- to win twice is something that is extravagantly difficult, perhaps impossible. If someone is at their peak for one Olympics, they'll be into their 30s for the next one. The only way there is any chance is for their career be timed well, so that they are before their prime for one and a little after it for the second. Of course they'd also have to be absurdly dominant to be good enough to win a big event like this during both of those phases of their career.
In '34, Eric Gorritepe came far closer than anyone ever has to getting a second gold medal here. He had won in '30, and made the championship match against second-seeded Gael Graff(ARG). Graff won the first two sets, but Gorritepe rallied to force a 5th ... narrowly losing 8-6 in the final set. As close as you come without winning, but the history books here(and in every other world I've looked at) still have nobody with two Olympic titles.
** 2038 -- At 22, Anil Mehul was the first-ever Sri Lankan to appear in the Olympic tournament. That in itself was a huge accomplishment, and he would do more than show up. He knocked off Gaskell in the first round in one of their first matches, then beat Antuofermo in a tight second-rounder to reach the third round where he lost to 11-seed Strahinja Kecic.
** 2042 -- Last time out, Mehul was the top seed but lost to Julian Hammerstein, who had just recently switched to a doubles career and was still a major force, in the semifinals. He did snatch the bronze by beating Federer in the 3rd-place match, but it was still a considerable disappointment.
** 2046 -- Iglar is once again skipping the Olympics, so Girsh and Mehul are the top-seeded players. Hammerstein is entering once again but his doubles skills have long been complete, and he's not the force from the back of the court that he once was. Italian Mugur Kinczllers is probably the biggest threat, but Girsh is the favorite here by a considerable distance.