Mur­ray mak­ing up for Bei­jing dis­as­ter

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - RIO 2016 - Simon Briggs

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

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