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Andy Murray faces difficult start to defence of Olympic title

Andy Murray faces difficult start to defence of Olympic title
© Reuters
Andy Murray is the star name in a six-strong British tennis team in Tokyo.

Andy Murray faces a tough start to the defence of his Olympic tennis title after being drawn against ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Murray is the only tennis player to win back-to-back singles gold medals having triumphed in London and Rio but his hopes of making it three in a row have been severely hampered by physical struggles.

He won consecutive matches at a grand slam for the first time in four years at Wimbledon before being comprehensively beaten by Auger-Aliassime's Canadian counterpart Denis Shapovalov and then giving a downbeat assessment of his career prospects.

Twenty-year-old Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, headed to Tokyo on a high after a strong grass court season that culminated in a first grand slam quarter-final appearance at SW19, while he easily defeated Murray at the US Open last year.

Debutant Liam Broady, a very late entrant to the field after numerous withdrawals, will take on Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo while Heather Watson opens against Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany.

Dan Evans and Johanna Konta, who would have represented Britain's best hopes of singles medals, were both forced to withdraw ahead of travelling after testing positive for coronavirus.

Plenty of star names have remained at home, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, but Wimbledon champions Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty are both in Japan along with Naomi Osaka, who will play her first match since withdrawing from the French Open.

Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first man in history to win a Golden Slam of all four grand slam titles and Olympic singles gold in the same year, will take on Bolivia's Hugo Dellien first up, with Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev the other top-four seeds.

Barty faces a tricky opener against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo while Osaka, who would have been the subject of intense attention as one of the faces of the Games even before the furore that blew up over her decision not to fulfil her media duties in Paris, takes on Zheng Saisai of China.

Osaka has not played a match since opening up about her mental health struggles and pulling out after one round in Roland Garros, with the 23-year-old deciding not to play at Wimbledon.

Britain's best hope of a medal may come in doubles, although Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury were given a tough draw against French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski will take on Argentinian duo Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos.

Entries for the mixed doubles will be announced on Tuesday.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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