“I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events, so I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe [Salisbury],” Murray said.
The two-time defending champion was due to face ninth-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime on centre court on Sunday. However, just before midday local time, he was replaced on the bracket by 23-year-old Australian Max Purcell.
Murray was in action on Saturday as part of the men’s double combination, where he combined with Team GB teammate Salisbury for the first time in competitive action to see off second-seeds Pierre Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut from France in straight sets. The value of their 6-3, 6-2 win was ultimately in the 75 minutes they needed to spend on court in the sapping Tokyo heat.
That relatively light work was a potential boost for Murray’s chances of making it three golds in as many Games against a sprightly opponent in Auger-Aliassime, who is 14 years younger than Murray. However, doubles will now become his primary focus.
While his nine-year stint as men’s Olympic champion has come to an end without even getting onto the court in an attempt to extend his reign, he can still leave with a doubles medal and take his overall tally to four. He took silver in London 2012’s mixed doubles with Laura Robson.
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