Andy Murray wants to rediscover the spirit of 2012 as he bids to make tennis history and become the first man to defend an Olympic title. Four years ago there were tears of disappointment when he lost to Roger Federer in his first Wimbledon final, then tears of relief and cheers of undiluted joy - just 28 days later - when he beat the Swiss in straight sets to win Olympic gold.
And within another 12 months he’d won his first Slam title in New York and finally ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s singles champion in SW19. And after claiming his second Wimbledon title at the All England Club, confidence is rightly soaring for his Olympic defence. “The Olympics made me believe I could win the big competitions and beat the best players at the biggest tournaments. I gained huge confidence from winning that gold in 2012," Murray told TeamGB.com.
“It would mean so much to defend that title, it was one of the biggest wins of my career and made extra special by doing it at home.
“Having got through to the end of an Olympics before, that will help me again if I can get in that position in Rio.
“I’ve been to two Olympics now and that helps too. I made some big adjustments to how I prepared for the London Olympics, compared to how I got ready for Beijing and that will help me in Rio again. [quote:The Olympic Games is much more than a tennis tournament, which makes it very special.:Andy Murray:left]
“In Beijing I was just so excited to be there that perhaps I lost some focus on my goal, which is to win medals.
“Whenever I think about London I just remember the feeling of positivity. It wasn’t just that the athletes performed well, it was that the whole country was right behind the team. You couldn’t find any negativity anywhere, not in the press, not on the streets.
“I was extremely proud when I won and it’s something I’ll never get another opportunity to do – to play at a home Olympics.
“There were so many fans there watching and supporting and to get to stand up there on a podium with a gold medal was just a really very special feeling.”
Murray recalls watching Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis-Hill on Super Saturday the night before his final.
Inspired by their example and a partisan home crowd, he totally outclassed Federer, denying him the only major title missing from his collection.
Despite being such an individual sport, Murray likes to consider himself part of a team, underlined by the entourage he travels with and his passion during the Davis Cup, when he often dragged the team to victory by the pure force of his will.
And he still cites his shock first round defeat to Yen-hsun Lu at the Beijing Olympics as one of the biggest disappointments of his career - dispelling the notion that performances at the Games will always rank below Grand Slam achievements for top tennis players.
London saw him not only claim singles gold but mixed doubles silver alongside Laura Robson, though he lost in the first round of the men’s doubles with brother Jamie - something they are both determined to right in Rio, where they should be one of the top seeds.
“If my brother and I could win a medal it would be huge,” added Murray.
“We’ve had a few good achievements as a family over the years but I think it would mean more than all the things we’ve done as individuals.
“We were disappointed with the results we had in London and Beijing and hopefully we can have a good run this time.
“The Olympic Games is much more than a tennis tournament, which makes it very special.
“In my opinion, it’s much better being involved in an Olympics to a Grand Slam. You get to be in the same place as all of the best athletes in the world pretty much and you’re part of something bigger than just your sport.”
By James Toney, Sportsbeat