Murray looking to reach Olympic summit
July 25, 2012 14:22 pm
Andy Murray believes winning a tennis Olympic gold medal is "the pinnacle in any sport".
The grand slams are the blue riband events in tennis but the Olympics has grown in importance since it was reintroduced to the Games programme in 1988 and this year's tournament at Wimbledon has really captured the imagination of the world's best players.
The 25-year-old said: "In terms of achievement, I think winning a gold medal is the pinnacle in any sport and it would be right up there with anything I have done so far."
Murray made his Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago but has since admitted he got too caught up in the occasion and slumped to a first-round defeat by Lu Yen-hsun before losing in the second round of the doubles with brother Jamie.
The eight-strong British tennis team were part of Team GB's welcome ceremony at the Olympic Village on Tuesday, and they have been enjoying the experience of mixing with stars from other sports.
Murray earned brownie points from girlfriend Kim Sears for his Olympic mingling, the Scot saying: "I met William Fox-Pitt. My girlfriend was very happy about that. She loves horses.
"I met Anthony Joshua. He's a super-heavyweight boxer, so for me that was cool. I chatted to them a bit about boxing. I sat in amongst the handball team.
"To me, it wasn't really specific people that I wanted to seek out and meet, it was just nice speaking to different athletes from all of the sports."
Brother Jamie added: "To just be part of such a big event with so many other athletes, covering so many different sports, is totally unique for us.
"We usually just see the same faces every week and we're bored of seeing them, and I'm sure they're bored of seeing us as well, so it's nice to be around so many other different athletes, to learn from them, to learn about their lifestyles, things like that."
Britain's team is made up of four men and four women, with Andy Murray the sole representative in the men's singles while the Murray brothers and Ross Hutchins and Colin Fleming qualified by right for the men's doubles.
Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha, and Heather Watson and Laura Robson received wild cards into the women's doubles, with the former trio also in the singles.
Watson only found out on Tuesday that she had got into the singles after Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko withdrew, and the Guernsey player is hopeful of doing well after becoming the British number one following her run to the third round of Wimbledon.
Watson, 20, said: "I am so excited. I was at practice and (team leader) Paul (Hutchins) came onto the court and told me. I was ecstatic.
"To have the opportunity to play singles as well, I am really happy. I am playing singles and doubles and I am back on the grass, which I am really enjoying at the moment. Hopefully it goes well."
Watson's elevation left Robson as first alternate if anyone else pulls out, and Paul Hutchins is keeping his fingers crossed the 18-year-old will make it.
He said: "I would like to get one more person in in Laura. I don't wish to damn anyone to injury but it would be great if Laura can get in the singles because she is of this class and her results recently have shown that."
Mixed doubles has returned to the programme for the first time since 1924, and the pairs for the 16-team event will be decided once the competition starts this weekend.
Hutchins is confident Britain will have representation in that discipline as well, although who will play has yet to be decided.
"Whoever plays will need a wild card I would imagine and we will go for two wild cards," he added.
"Over the next two or three days we will sort out who those two pairs are and put them up to the ITF (International Tennis Federation), and I would imagine we would be very, very strong candidates to get at least one."
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