Tanuja Masand

His seventh Wimbledon title behind him, Roger Federer, who regained his world No.1 position after the historic win, will begin his Olympic gold quest against a little-known Colombian, Alejandro Falla, whose main claim to fame is that he came close to upsetting the Swiss master's applecart at SW19 in 2010.

It would have been the most humiliating defeat for Federer in his career had he lost to the unheralded Colombian two summers back at the All England Club.

The Swiss was two sets down in the opening round and had to dig deep into his reserves to come out triumphant on Center Court, winning in four sets. At the Olympics, the ambience would be the same though this time around Federer, representing his country for the fourth successive time in the quadrennial event, would be 'defending' his title which he won on the famed grasscourts a fortnight ago.

The Olympic Games' tennis event is being held at Wimbledon and not just Federer, even the likes of No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and many more top-ranked players, will be having a feeling of déjà vu.

Following the draw ceremony on Thursday, Federer has been pitted in the same half as fourth-seeded David Ferrer, who will take on Canada's Vasek Pospisil in the first round. A reticent Falla told reporters at the Games Village that no matter where Federer plays, he will always be the favorite.

Federer's biggest rival, Djokovic, who clinched bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, will be up against Fabio Fognini of Italy in the opening round. The Serb, who relinquished his world No.1 position to Federer after Wimbledon, has another major hurdle to cross in the form of local favorite and third seed Andy Murray, who will take on Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka.

A notable absentee from the men's draw is defending champion, Rafael Nadal, who had to withdraw following a hamstring injury.

Andy Roddick of the United States too would be eagerly waiting for the Games' tennis events to kick off, as grass is one of his preferred surfaces and most of his exploits, if not all, have come at Wimbledon. The three-time finalist at the famed lawns --- 2004, 2005 and 2009 --- said he was really excited to be a part of the Olympic Games after a gap of eight years.

The last time he competed in the quadrennial event was at Athens in 2004, and he said that representing the country was an altogether different experience.

In the women's singles, the Williams siblings --- Venus and Serena --- face some clever first-round challenge. Serena, who clinched the Wimbledon title recently, is seeded fourth and will take on Serbia's Jelena Jankovic, while Venus has to contend with Italian ninth seed Sara Errani, the French Open runner-up.

It goes without saying that Serena will be the favorite for the singles title, while the duo would be in the hunt for gold in doubles too, given that they are two-time gold-medallists in the event. Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus will take on Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu, while Maria Sharapova, the glamorous third seed from Russia and 2004 Wimbledon champ, will take on Shahar Peer of Israel.








Roger Federer and Fellow Tennis Stars Take Swing at Olympic Gold