There have been times in the past when Wimbledon would be the last occasion for many a month that the British public would expect to see Andy Murray. This summer, thanks to the Olympic Games, the Scot will be back at the All England Club in less than three weeks' time.
After his defeat to Roger Federer in last night's Wimbledon final, however, the Scot will take his time before thinking about his next challenge. When asked when he would return to the practice court, Murray, right, said: "Not until my mind is right. There's no point in going on the court until I'm ready to go out there and learn and work hard and do the right things in the gym and in practice.
"I'll wait and see how my body recovers after the next few days. I fell a lot of times in this tournament, so I need to take a few days off, let everything heal, recover, and then see. "
In the longer term, the Scot will have to lean heavily on the experiences of his coach, Ivan Lendl, as he continues his quest to become Britain's first male singles Grand Slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
Lendl is the only man in the Open era who has won a Grand Slam title after losing his first four finals. Last night's defeat was Murray's fourth. Although tennis has become a sport in which players do not usually reach their peak until their late twenties, the clock is ticking for the 25-year-old Scot. Most Grand Slam champions win their first major title in their early twenties.
For the moment, however, Murray's next focus will be on the Olympics, which begins at the All England Club in 19 days' time. When tennis first returned to the Olympics in 1988 many of the leading lights were ambivalent about it, but today the Games are an automatic stop for nearly all the world's top players.
In the build-up to Wimbledon, Murray was frequently asked about the significance of the Olympics and he never underestimated how important they are. "In sporting terms, I would say that winning an Olympic gold is bigger than winning a Grand Slam," Murray said. "Everybody knows what an Olympic gold is. I think most people know what a Grand Slam is but I don't think that everybody does."
The addition of the Olympic tournament has interrupted the normal tennis calendar, but it will revert to a more familiar pattern once the London 2012 tournament has finished. The Olympics is followed immediately by back-to-back tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati in the Masters Series, which is the next level down from the four Grand Slam events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open).
Given the tightness of the schedule it remains to be seen whether players involved in the final weekend of the Olympic event will play in Canada. Murray has a good record in the Masters Series events in the build-up to the US Open, having won both titles twice. He has geared his training programme around the busy summer schedule. "That period after Wimbledon will be very important," he said.Reuse content