I'll be very motivated at Wimbledon, says Murray after being selected for Team GB
Thursday, 21 June 2012
June 21 - Andy Murray may still be awaiting his first Grand Slam tennis title but the 25-year-old Scot says winning Olympic gold for Team GB would rank just as highly in terms of prestige and achievement.
Murray (pictured above), ranked fourth in the world, was officially named by the British Olympic Association (BOA) today to compete at London 2012, following on from his appearance in Beijing four years ago.
As well as the singles event, he will also play doubles with his brother Jamie.
"I've said many times that Beijing was one of the best sporting experiences I've had," Murray said here where the year's third Grand Slam event begins on Monday (June 25).
"Being around so many great athletes is not something tennis players are used to."
Murray was knocked out in the first round at Beijing 2008 but is determined to do better on home soil.
"I was very disappointed with the way I played but with the event being at Wimbledon this time, I'll be very motivated," he said.
"Maybe 15-20 years ago a lot of tennis players were missing at the Olympics.
"Now everybody plays.
"I've spoken to some of the Spanish players [who didn't qualify] and they are gutted.
"Four years ago, [Novak] Djokovic won a bronze and was in tears.
"You wouldn't see that in the semi-finals at Wimbledon.
"It's definitely up with the Grand Slams."
Both Serbia's Djokovic (pictured above) and Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the top two in the world, have already confirmed that they will be competing at London 2012, the former carrying the Olympic Flag for his country.
Murray hasn't decided yet whether to stay in the Athletes' Village as he did in Beijing or stay at home.
He is keen to avoid getting too sucked into the occasion to the detriment of his own concentration.
"I'm not sure what I'll do," Murray said.
"I only live 15 minutes away from Wimbledon and I need to do what's best for preparation.
"Beijing was a bit of an eye-opener and I maybe got wrapped up in it a bit.
"I was trying to watch as many of the athletes as I could.
"Having had that experience, I'll do things a bit differently."
Murray, who will be the focus of national attention yet again when Wimbledon gets under way, would normally be training for the United States Open on hard courts at the time the Olympics take place.
"I'd normally take 10 days off after Wimbledon but everyone is in the same boat," he explained.
"You just need to make sure you plan very well."
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is due to issue wild cards to the BOA next Tuesday (June 26), the hope being that Team GB will get its fair share.
"We are at the beck and call of the ITF but as it's the home nation, Wimbledon and Britain, we are hopeful of getting representation in each event," said Team GB tennis team leader Paul Hutchins (pictured below, first left).
"We have put up a very strong case via the BOA."
With 36 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, BOA Chef de Mission Andy Hunt (pictured above, second right) could not hide how important it was to have a name as big as Murray competing at London 2012.
"I'm delighted we have such a successful and experienced athlete representing Team GB," Hunt said, while explaining that Murray was the 248th athlete selected so far across 23 sport disciplines.
Britain's last Olympic tennis medal was a men's doubles silver in Atlanta in 1996.
Although the sport may not have the kind of Olympic pedigree as, say, track and field or swimming, Britain actually tops the all-time tennis medals table having accumulated 45 between 1896 and 1924 when it was an amateur sport.
"I'm fully confident that Andy is capable of producing many memorable and inspiring performances," Hunt added.
"Having someone of his calibre, he'll be a great role model.
"The Olympic environment is very different and Andy has been there."
April 2012: Safina tips Sharapova for London 2012 tennis honours and urges media to "support" Murray
April 2012: "Tennis at the Olympics has become a big deal," insists British star Murray
January 2010: Murray keen on link-up with Robson for London 2012
August 2008: Murray promises to end a century of failure at London 2012