The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was one of the most unusual Olympic formats in recent memory. Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak that shocked the world in 2020, the event was postponed and played in the middle of 2021. Despite banning fans from many events, the 28th Olympics was held, in all its splendor, a sight to behold given the incredibly difficult year the world has had to go through.
On the tennis side, many pundits have predicted that Novak, Medvedev and potentially Tsitisipas or Zverev, would be the 3 medalists at the Olympics. However, in an event that stunned the tennis world, Karen Khachanov came from left field to win the prestigious silver medal at the Summer Games. Despite never going past a quarter-final at a major tournament, Khachanov retained his best tennis for a stage that meant so much to him. This is the curious case of Karen Khachanov, a player who can produce one of the highest levels of tennis when in play, and can also lose to an unranked qualifier when out.
For example, at the US Open last year, despite her Olympic silver medal, Karen Khachanov was beaten in the 1st round by Lloyd Harris, in 5 sets. Over the past 3 years, Khachanov has also struggled to perform at Masters 1000 events, having lost in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of 18 of the last 20 Masters 1000 events. Khachanov is clearly an amazing player, but his best and its worst are so astronomically different. Compare, for example, his run at the 2018 Paris Masters, beating Djokovic, to his performance at one of that year’s Masters 1000. In Miami this year, he lost to Tommy Paul. No disrespect to Tommy Paul, he’s a rising talent in the sport who will achieve great results, but Karen Khachanov really shouldn’t lose in the 2nd round of the Masters to players rated in their 40s. Karen Khachanov broke through alongside a generation of players, like Zverev and Medvedev, however, he was almost left behind.
Overall, given his prestigious silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, is Karen Khachanov the most unpredictable player in recent memory?