Andy Murray throws doubt on Olympic participation despite special relationship with Games

Murray was selected by Team GB for Paris 2024 this summer but his participation may depend on a men’s doubles berth

Paul Eddison
Sunday 16 June 2024 19:49
Andy Murray is a two-time Olympic gold medallist
Andy Murray is a two-time Olympic gold medallist (PA Wire)

Of everything that Andy Murray has done on a tennis court, no feeling has topped winning Olympic gold at Wimbledon in London 12 years ago.

So, after being selected for his fifth Olympic Games, there was an overwhelming feeling of pride at being part of the British team in Paris.

That being said, Murray, who has secured a place in Paris in the singles through an ITF wild card as an Olympic gold medallist, still could not confirm with total certainty that he will compete should he miss out on a place in the men’s doubles.

As it stands, he and Dan Evans have been nominated as a pairing, with the final confirmation of entry lists set for 25 June.

Should he not be awarded a doubles spot, Murray admits he will have a decision to make about his presence at Roland Garros but, given how much the Olympics has meant to his career, he will surely do everything he can to be there.

In a press conference on Sunday, he said: “I've really enjoyed playing the Olympics over the years and the chance to play in another one, I'm excited about that.

“The Olympics in London, the finals day, when we played the singles and the mixed final was definitely one of the one of the best days of my professional life.

“Definitely one of the happiest I've felt more so than when I won Wimbledon in 2013 or even the US Open.

“It was just an amazing experience, to be part of an Olympic team. I'm a massive, massive sports fan. I have always enjoyed team competitions, probably more than individual competitions, whether that be as a junior or playing in Davis Cup or Olympics. I've loved it.”

Andy Murray is a two-time Olympic champion after wins at London 2012 and Rio 2016
Andy Murray is a two-time Olympic champion after wins at London 2012 and Rio 2016 (PA Archive)

As much as Murray has excelled on the Olympic stage – becoming the only person to have won multiple singles gold medals, there have also been setbacks.

In 2008, he suffered a shock defeat to Lu Yen-Hsun, of Chinese Taipei, in the first round, while three years ago in Tokyo, he and Joe Salisbury lost in the quarter-finals of their men’s doubles clash after being in control of their clash with eventual silver medallists Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig.

He recalled: “I've also experienced some tough moments in the Olympics as well. It's natural to remember the real highs that I've had but the Beijing Olympics for me, coming off the back of winning in Cincinnati, was a tough experience there. Total almost full body cramp in the first round there and a really tough, tough loss for me.

“And last Olympics, me and Joe were up a set and a break in the quarter-finals. We had game points, 4-3 in the second set and got broken. We would have had a couple of matches to win a medal there and that was a tough loss so I've had some great moments but also some difficult ones in the Olympics, but always amazing experience, and I've learned a lot from them.”

Murray and Joe Salisbury saw their men’s doubles quarter-fianl slip away from them at Tokyo 2020
Murray and Joe Salisbury saw their men’s doubles quarter-fianl slip away from them at Tokyo 2020 (AP)

Part of Murray’s doubt over his participation is struggles with his back on clay court in recent times. That dates back to an operation he underwent on his back all the way back in 2013.

By contrast, the grass courts of the Queen’s Club, on which he is competing this week at a venue where he has won a record five titles, do not affect him. On clay, Murray admits it can be an issue.

He explained: “I had an operation on my back in 2013. And even before then, clay was the surface that gave me the most problems for my back.

“Some of it comes from some of the issues I had with my right hip because I lacked movement and rotation in my right hip then my left lower back would have to make up for that. It would take a bit of the stress and strain. On the clay courts, balls generally are bouncing much higher and the issue that I had with my back was extension and rotation.

“From probably about 2010, 2011 I've had issues on the clay with my back. My back's been pretty good since moving on to the grass. You get more out of the surface. The ball is not bouncing as high on the return of serve.”

Murray is set to take on a qualifier in the opening round at Queen’s, with No 7 seed Holger Rune potentially awaiting him in the second round should he get through.

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