Andy Murray teams up with Laura Robson in relentless medal pursuit

 

Wimbledon

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
All British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game