• What The Deuce

Why Farah and Hoy can help Murray win gold

Jo Carter July 31, 2012
Andy Murray is hoping to win Olympic gold at London 2012 © PA Photos

Ordinarily when Andy Murray is in action at the All England Club, his every move is scrutinised. If he breaks a fingernail the nation holds its breath.

Just over three weeks after his Wimbledon final defeat to Roger Federer, Murray is back at SW19, where he is used to carrying the heavy weight of British expectation on his shoulders.

It is not unusual for Murray to be left flying the flag for Britain deep into the second week at the grand slams, and the chances are he could be the only British representative in action at Wimbledon next week.

But there will be nowhere near the level of interest in Murray, not least because on the other side of London, Murray's Team GB colleagues will be sharing the limelight.

With gold medal hopefuls Dai Greene, Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Mo Farah (to name but a few) all in action next week at the Olympic Park, for once the pressure for Murray to produce on home soil will not be as intense.

Murray, who slumped to a first-round defeat to Lu Yen-Hsun on his Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago, had few problems as he saw off Stanislas Wawrinka to safely progress to round two.

Murray, who won over a few more fans with his emotional reaction following his defeat to Federer, was delighted by the ovation that greeted him when he walked onto Centre Court on Sunday to kick off his bid for Olympic gold.

"The support I got from people I bumped into in the street, from politicians and celebrities, was overwhelming after the final and I'm not really used to that," Murray said. "I understand that in the past it wasn't that easy to get behind me because I didn't look particularly happy on court.

"Before and during Wimbledon I felt like I had grown up a bit and that my demeanour was better. All the support afterwards was great for my confidence and made me want to get back to work."

With any early nerves dealt with after securing his first Olympic singles win, Murray can settle into his stride and enjoy the experience of playing in a home Olympics - something most players will never experience in their lifetime.

The Davis Cup is the closest that tennis - an inherently individual sport - comes to international representation, but for Murray, winning a medal at the Olympics is not just about personal glory.

"Last week I was so pumped to play that it was almost like I was peaking too early. There is a real motivation in wanting to help the team medal count here," he said.

As the adage goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, and for Murray, sharing the limelight, and the expectation that comes with it, could be just what he needs to taste success at the All England Club.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jo Carter Close
Jo Carter is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk