RIO DE JANEIRO, August 15, 2016
The 2016 Rio 2016 Olympic Tennis Event has come to an end with the anthem of Great Britain, as Andy Murray claimed the gold medal in the men’s singles competition. The world number two defeated Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in Sunday’s final.
Murray sent down 10 aces, hit 46 winners and broke the Argentine’s service nine times to prevail in four hours and two minutes.
“I know tonight’s one of the hardest matches that I’ve had to play for a big, big title,” said Murray after the emotional and physical rollercoaster. “I think, you know, the US Open final I played against Novak [Djokovic] when I won my first slam was very hard. But tonight I found really difficult.
“Emotionally it was tough,” he continued. “Physically, it was hard. There were so many ups and downs in the match. It was one of the toughest matches that I’ve played to win a big event, for sure.”
The Scot has become the first player in history to win two singles golds after London 2012 and defended an Olympic singles title.
The fact that it hasn’t been done before obviously shows that it’s very hard,” Murray said. “I’m very proud to have been the first one to have done that.
“It hasn’t obviously been easy because a lot can happen in four years, especially for tennis players. We have so many events. Since London, I had back surgery, as well. So many things can change. My ranking dropped a lot during that period and I’ve gone through some tough times on the court, as well.
“I’m happy that I’m still here competing for the biggest events,” he added. “I’ll try and keep going. Who knows about Tokyo . But if I’m still playing in four years, when I’m 33, I don’t imagine I’ll be playing the same level as now. I’ll try and enjoy tonight’s win.”
It was an emotional end for Del Potro too, but the Argentine was far from disappointed to come away from this week with silver.
“This will be for the rest of my life on my mind,” the Argentine said. “I never thought something like that at the beginning of the tournament. It’s even bigger, like a dream. Now I got a silver medal, which means a gold for me. I cannot believe I will bring another medal for my country.”
Nishikori Wins Bronze
Kei Nishikori has become the first Japanese Olympic tennis medallist in 96 years after winning 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 over Rafael Nadal in two hours and 49 minutes.
It’s just a third Olympic tennis medal for Japan, whose only previous tennis medals came at Antwerp 1920, when Ichiya Kumagai won singles silver and teamed with Seiichiro Kashio to win silver in the doubles.
“I’m very happy to win, to get a medal today, even though third place. It means a lot for me to especially beat Rafa today,” Nishikori told.
“I knew before playing Olympics that if I can play good tennis, good, solid tennis, I have a chance to get a medal. I was playing for my country. This is something different from other tour. But I was very enjoying. For sure this experience will help for my confidence and for my future.”
For Nadal it was an unfortunate end to the Olympics, but he took a doubles gold medal with Marc Lopez, enjoying an overall fine week in Rio in his first competitive appearance after two months out of the game with a wrist inury.