Published: 01:00 22/06/2012
The International Tennis Federation has confirmed the selection of Andy Murray as member of the Great Britain tennis team for the London Olympics this summer, with brother Jamie sure to follow next week once their combined ranking for doubles is factored in. Selection has been made on the basis of rankings and the hope is that other British players will join them, if given wildcards by the ITF. Team GB boss, Andy Hunt, said “Andy has thrilled British tennis fans with his outstanding performances for many years now and I’m sure there will an electrifying atmosphere supporting him during the Olympic tennis competition at London this summer”.
Andy Murray will play Singles, and he will also partner brother, Jamie, in the Men’s Doubles. Ranked Number 4 in the world, there is a realistic expectation that Andy Murray will win a medal in the Men’s Singles. However, this medal may not be gold as Murray will have to chase down the top 3 who dominate the game just now.
Serbian Novak Djokovic is the frontrunner for a gold medal as the World Number 1 is in terrific form just now, despite losing to Rafael Nadal in the rain-drenched French Open final. Djokovic is favourite to win Wimbledon and the Olympic gold, with bookmaker Stan James offering odds of 7/4 for both events.
Djokovic and World Number 2 Rafael Nadal have dominated recent grand slam events, winning the past nine major tournaments between them and meeting in the past four finals. Andy Roddick, 2003 US Open Champion and runner-up three times at Wimbledon, recently said “They’ve, you know, been pretty selfish about Grand Slam titles for a little bit”. That’s as may be, but this view will not bother the top 2 one little bit. Nadal starts his Wimbledon campaign next week as second favourite with odds of 9/4 from bookmaker Paddy Power and odds of 3/1 from the same bookmaker for a gold medal in London.
At both Wimbledon and the Olympics, Murray will also face stern opposition from former Number 1, and tennis legend, Roger Federer. Although Federer has slipped slightly down the leader board of late, with no Grand Slam tournament win since 2010, his record at Wimbledon is fantastic with a tally of six championship titles and he should not be discounted this summer. Bookmaker Bet Fred offer odds of 9/2 that Federer will match Peter Sampras’s record seven titles at Wimbledon and odds of 7/2 that he will win gold at the Olympics.
Murray is leader in the pack to chase down the top 3 seeds, with odds of 10/1 on a Wimbledon win from bookmaker Boyle Sports. It is a similar story for the Olympics, with best odds of 6/1 from bookmaker Stan James. Despite the pre-eminence of Djokovic and Nadal in particular, Murray remains bullish about his chances of a medal saying at recent press conference that “Winning a medal for Team GB is one of my major goals”.
He recognises that he needs to focus on the task in hand and move on from his poor performance in Bejing in 2008 when he crashed out in the first round to low-ranked Yen-Hsun Lu, and won only one match with his brother Jamie in the doubles. Murray now says “What being a good team member is performing the best in your sport and making sure that you give yourself the best chance at winning a medal and that's what I'll do this time”.
The Murray brothers rarely play together in Men’s Doubles, but when they do their performance is excellent and Andy Murray has said that their win at the 2010 Valencia win was one of the most emotional moments of his career as “When I play with Jamie I want to do well, I put a lot of pressure on myself because I know it can help his career. Even watching him win the mixed doubles final five years ago at Wimbledon was emotional”. The odds for Wimbledon Men’s Doubles and the Olympics Men’s Doubles have not yet been determined by most bookmakers but a Murray-Murray combination would certainly grip the public’s imagination.