Murray making up for Beijing disaster
Andy Murray banished memories of his last overseas Olympics as he cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in his opening match.
One of the greatest regrets of Murray’s career is his first-round exit in Beijing at the hands of unheralded Taiwanese Yen-Hsun Lu.
In 2012, Murray more than made up for it by claiming individual gold and mixed-doubles silver on the same Sunday at Wimbledon. But he feels a great responsibility to the team and will be determined to contribute again.
The reigning Olympic champion said: “I’m not defending my gold medal, because you don’t have to give it back. I’m not thinking about what happened four years ago, even though it was an amazing experience for me. I’m just trying to win another medal.
“Having the Olympics come so soon after Wimbledon has been good for me, because otherwise I could have had a lull.”
This was not a day for glamorous tennis, given the gusting wind and the sandpaper-like playing surface.
Conditions are so slow here that the ball sometimes threatens to stop dead in its tracks. Murray needed a few moments to adjust and dropped serve in the opening game. Thereafter, he settled into a smart rhythm, using his touch and slice to put Troicki in awkward positions. A watching Boris Becker, scouting on behalf of world No 1 Novak Djokovic, should have been impressed.
Afterwards, Murray described carrying the British flag at the opening ceremony as “an incredible feeling”. He also explained that “on the way back I sat with Justin Rose and chatted to him for about an hour. I met Kevin Durant, the basketball player, on the way into the ceremony, which for me was nice because I’m a big basketball fan. Being around all the athletes is nice.”
The stadium was perhaps a third full for Murray’s match, though it had been buzzing when Brazilian No 1 Thomaz Bellucci played charismatic German-Jamaican Dustin Brown. There was no pretence at even-handedness as Brown almost received a standing ovation at one point for serving a double-fault.
Brown, who had claimed a tight first set, twisted his ankle towards the end of the second and withdrew from the match.
Rafael Nadal thrashed Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-1 in his first match since the wrist tendon injury that struck him down in May.
Serving up victory: Andy Murray on his way to beating Serbia’s Viktor Troicki