Rio 2016: Andy Murray blasts past Viktor Troicki as Olympic gold medal defence gets off to perfect start

Andy Murray beat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-2 to progress to the second round of the Olympic men's singles

Matt Gatward
Rio de Janeiro
Sunday 07 August 2016 19:58
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Having seen gold medal holder Serena Williams make light work of her first round opponent before him on Centre Court here, Andy Murray, fellow London 2012 winner, followed suit beating Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in straight sets on Sunday.

Under darkening, moody clouds that must have made Murray feel more like he was in Glasgow than Rio, the Wimbledon champion won 6-3, 6-2 in 83 minutes to book a second round spot.

In the men’s singles, Team GB is represented by Murray and Kyle Edmund but Murray knows it might as well be him and Noel Edmonds – the Scot carries homes hopes in this event just as he carried the British flag into the Maracana on Friday night during the Opening Ceremony.

It was a business-like performance in blustery conditions from Murray on a slow court far removed from the slick grass of Wimbledon where Murray won his second SW19 crown just under a month ago. Get it done quickly – or as quickly as you can on this surface - was very much the message he sent, just as he did during the early rounds in London this summer.

Murray was pleased to tuck the first win under his belt. "It was my first match on hard courts for a while and tricky conditions so yeah, I did pretty well. It was a good start.

“I'm not defending a gold medal. I will always keep my gold medal. That will always be there, you don't have to give it away,” he added. “So, it's more trying to win another medal - that builds the pressure and wanting to do something here. Having the Olympics come so soon after Wimbledon for me, it may have been easy to have a bit of a lull, but that's not going to happen with the Olympics. I hope to make a run here.”

And how he would dearly love to run all the way to another gold to add to his second Wimbledon crown. The Olympics have meaning for Murray. His victory over Roger Federer at London 2012 opened the door to the success he has enjoyed in his career. Later that summer he went on to win his first Slam, the US Open, beating Novak Djokovic in the final.

For now he is enjoying the vibe in Rio. "It's a really nice atmosphere in the Village, just being around the other British athletes, just chatting, supporting, watching."

And carrying the flag? "It was amazing. Walking out into the stadium was an incredible feeling. That half an hour before I really enjoyed, walking with all the other British athletes. I was very proud. I sat with Justin Rose on the way back and I met Kevin Durant - that was amazing for me as I'm a big basketball fan.

"Now, I'm just trying to defend to my gold." And it might take a gold to truly win the Brazilian crowd over, too. The Centre Court spectators had seen local boy Thomaz Bellucci beat Dustin Brown in an entertaining match that they were fully invested in and then watched superstar Serena dispatch Aussie Daria Gavrilova. Murray maybe isn’t grande in Rio just yet but a win here would change all that.

On Sunday he started the ball rolling when he broke in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Troicki had a magic chance in the next game to break back but somehow missed a sitter of a volley. Murray held for 5-2 and went on to take the set. In the second Murray created another break at 1-1 with a wonderful running cross court winner and didn’t look back.

Troicki, who unleashed a foul tirade at an umpire as he went out of Wimbledon this summer, at least maintained his manners but he was utterly outclassed here.

For Murray he can look ahead. He will only focus on the next round but with Roger Federer not competing, the Scot must know gold is probably between him, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The health of the latter two is unknown. Murray looks fine.

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