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By Kylie MacLellan
LONDON, July 26 Top seed Roger Federer could
meet Britain's Andy Murray in the Olympic tennis final in a
repeat of their Wimbledon showdown earlier this month, after the
pair were drawn on opposite sides of the competition on
World number one and 17-times grand slam champion Federer,
seeking his first Olympic singles medal, will play Colombia's
Alejandro Falla in the opening round.
Federer, who beat Murray to a secure a record-equalling
seventh Wimbledon title, battled back from two sets down to beat
Falla in the Wimbledon first round in 2010.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic, seeded two, will take on Italy's
Fabio Fognini, referee Stefan Fransson said, unveiling the draw
in a lounge at Wimbledon's centre court adorned with large
photos of London landmarks including Buckingham Palace and the
Djokovic, who won bronze in Beijing, is in the same half of
the draw as British number one Murray, who he would meet in the
Before that third seed Murray will have to beat Federer's
fellow-Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in his opening match, an
announcement which drew a noisy response from a room packed with
team leaders, officials and media.
Murray has won six of the ten times the pair have met
"It is a tough draw for both guys," Federer told reporters.
"They are good friends and I think they even practised twice
together in the last three days so they are well prepared for
each other ... but obviously Murray goes in to that match as a
favourite, he goes into the tournament as one of the
Wawrinka, who was out practising on a sun-drenched court
three on Thursday morning, is carrying the Swiss flag in Friday
evening's opening ceremony and will have to wait until the
schedule of play is released that day to find out if he will
have to play on the first day of the competition on Saturday.
Women's top seed Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will play
Romanian world number 79 Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round,
while America's Serena Williams, fresh from her fifth Wimbledon
title, takes on former world number one Jelena Jankovic of
Neither of Beijing's singles gold medallists will be
returning to defend their titles, after Spain's Rafa Nadal was
forced to pull out through injury and Russia's Elena Dementieva
retired. But the draw is the strongest ever, with 18 of the
world's top 20 men and 19 of the top 20 women taking part.
"It is a very important event. The field is packed with top
players and everyone is taking it seriously," said eighth seed
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, who faces Britain's Anne
Keothavong in the first round. "She has home advantage."
Top seeded men's duo Mike and Bob Bryan, who won bronze in
Beijing, will begin their medal campaign by playing Brazil's
Thomaz Bellucci and Andre Sa, and could face defending doubles
gold medallists Federer and Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.
In the women's doubles, top seeded American's Liezel Huber
and Lisa Raymond get a pass to the second round after the
withdrawal of Ukraine's Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko due to
Unseeded defending gold medallists Venus and Serena Williams
will take on Romania's Sorana Cirstea and Simona Halep.
(Additional reporting by Mark Meadows, editing by Ossian Shine)