STARNBERG, July 22, 2021 (by Nicholas Sturdee)
Andy Murray’s quest for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal will begin in Tokyo at the end of July. The British player is aiming for a hat-trick of wins after topping the podium at London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Our tennis squad for #Tokyo2020 is here! 🇯🇵
Featuring a certain double Olympic champion…🥇
— Team GB (@TeamGB) June 24, 2021
The Olympics have a special place in Murray’s heart as it was the 2012 triumph that helped him on the path to Grand Slam glory. Yet, he’ll have his work cut out retaining his title due to a lack of court time in the build-up to the games. In the latest tennis betting from Space Casino, Murray’s chances are rated at 40/1. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the odds-on favourite despite never having won gold in three previous attempts.
Tough start in Beijing
Murray’s Olympic career got off to a shaky start after a first-round defeat to Lu Yen-hsun in Beijing in 2008. The Scot was ranked No. 6 in the world at the time and was tipped as a future Grand Slam champion. The defeat hit him hard and he vowed to come back stronger in 2012.
Murray had reached the final of all four Grand Slams by the time the 2012 Olympics arrived but had yet to break his duck. Just weeks before, he was left in tears after defeat to Roger Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon final, despite being the first British man to feature in a Wimbledon singles final since Bunny Austin in 1938.
Going for gold
The return to Wimbledon for the Olympics gave Murray a chance at redemption as he lost only one set on his way to a rematch with Federer in the final. His path to the gold medal match included a straight-sets semi-final win over Novak Djokovic who had knocked him out of the Australian Open at the same stage earlier in the year. Murray lost just seven games in his win over Federer and became the first British man to win an Olympic singles gold medal since Josiah Ritchie back in 1908. The win inspired Murray; it was like a burden had been lifted and it was no surprise when he went on to win his first Grand Slam at the US Open just weeks later.
Murray had won three Grand Slam titles and finished runner-up on eight other occasions by the time he arrived in Rio. He had also powered Great Britain to their first Davis Cup win in 79 years and reached No. 2 in the world. The Team GB flag-bearer duly defended his title, although it took a gruelling four-hour battle with Juan Martín del Potro to get over the line and become the first male player to bag back-to-back Olympic golds.
An unforgettable tennis match! 🎾
Relive the moment @andy_murray became the first tennis player to win back-to-back Olympic golds, after defending his men’s singles title against @delpotrojuan at Rio 2016. 🥇🥇#StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/jrRCmAddiS
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 13, 2021
Rio proved to be a peak for Murray who has not won a Grand Slam or even reached a final since. His best performance was a semi-final appearance at Roland Garros in 2017 before injuries took their toll. A series of operations followed by long recovery periods have put him in a position to compete again but he is far from the player he was. But the Olympics means a lot to Murray and with other big names pulling out and the luck of the draw on his side, he might just stand a chance of adding a third gold to his collection.