Andy Murray teams up with Laura Robson in relentless medal pursuit



Andy Murray has not played a competitive mixed doubles match for six years but such is the 25-year-old Scot's determination to win an Olympic medal that he has entered this week's tournament here at the All England Club.

Murray, who reached the third round of the singles thanks to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Jarkko Nieminen yesterday, will partner Laura Robson, whose run in the singles ended with a battling 7-6, 6-3 defeat to Maria Sharapova. Heather Watson also went out to a Russian, losing 6-3, 6-2 to Maria Kirilenko.

Murray twice played alongside Robson in the Hopman Cup in Perth, but players generally regard that competition as an exhibition event in which to hone their game in the build-up to the Australian Open.

The Scot has only ever played three matches in mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments, at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2006. He lost his only match with Israel's Shahar Peer and won once alongside Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens.

The world No 4 lost in the first round of the men's doubles here playing with his brother, Jamie, who might have fancied his own chances of featuring in the mixed event, having won Wimbledon with Jelena Jankovic in 2007 and reached the final at the 2008 US Open with Liezel Huber. Britain applied for two of the four wild cards but were granted only one.

Andy Murray said he would have played in the mixed doubles, for which the field was announced yesterday, even if he was still in the men's doubles. "Obviously, it would have been a lot of tennis to play, but like I'm sure a lot of the athletes are saying, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to try to win a medal at your home Games," he said.

Robson first suggested to Murray four months ago that they could play together here. "I just said that I hadn't got a partner, and if he's interested, then I'm available," she said.

When asked about his partner Murray said he had listened to the advice of other members of the British team. "Heather Watson has played some very good doubles this year and is our No 1 player as well, so it's obviously tough for her, but tough decisions have to be made sometimes," he said.

With just 16 teams in the mixed event, only three wins would secure a bronze medal. Murray and Robson have a reasonable draw, with the Czechs Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka their first-round opponents.

Mixed doubles is returning to the Olympics after an absence of 88 years. The last champions, in 1924, were Dick Williams, who survived the Titanic, and Hazel Wightman, who established the now defunct Wightman Cup women's team event.

Murray needed only 61 minutes to beat Nieminen under the Centre Court roof on another rain-interrupted day. The Scot, serving well and striking the ball beautifully, looked in top form throughout. He now plays Marcos Baghdatis, whom he has beaten in their last three encounters, most recently here less than five weeks ago.

Baghdatis reached the last 16 by beating France's Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4, after which the 27-year-old Cypriot kissed the grass, crossed himself and looked to the heavens. "I want to thank whoever is up there that is giving me the chance to be part of this life," he said afterwards. "I'm in the last 16 of an Olympic event and that's an incredible thing for me."

While Watson rarely looked in contention against Kirilenko, who is the world No 15, Robson provided a tough test for Sharapova, who won by exactly the same score when they met at Wimbledon last year. The 18-year-old was within two points of taking the first set tie-break when she led 5-4, only for Sharapova to win the next three points in succession.

"I felt it was much closer on her service games [than last year]," Robson said. "She had to go for everything on her second serve."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Milos Raonic 6-3, 3-6, 25-23 in a match that lasted three minutes short of four hours and broke two Olympic records. Novak Djokovic, having struggled in the first round, looked comfortable in beating Andy Roddick 6-2, 6-1.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam