Olympics: Andy Murray selected for Team GB

Andy Murray has seen his hopes dashed often enough on Wimbledon's grass courts but this year's London Olympic tournament at the home of tennis can at least help him soothe a four-year itch.

Selected on Thursday as the first tennis player in Team GB, and the 248th athlete in a 550-strong British squad for the London Games, Murray said he has learned from his unhappy experience at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The British number one, then ranked sixth in the world, suffered the massive shock of losing his first round singles match to Taiwan's lowly ranked Lu Yen-Hsun in straight sets. He has yet to win an Olympic medal.
"Having had the experience of last time I think I will have learned from that and do things a little bit differently this time," the 25-year-old Scot told reporters on a damp morning in Wimbledon, where he will step out again next week in search of that elusive first Grand Slam title.

"I was very disappointed when I finished so early in Beijing but it also gave me a kick up the bum," added the three-times Wimbledon semi-finalist who lost his opening match at Queens Club last week.

"I ended up doing well at the U.S. open afterwards because I was very disappointed with myself and really went for it." 

Wimbledon will see Murray in action in both Grand Slam and Olympics in relatively quick succession.

The Scot, carrying a burden of expectation as the only British player with any hope of singles success, left no doubt about the importance of the Games where the losing semi-finalists are awarded bronze.

Ranked fourth in the world, a medal should be certainly within reach.

Beijing, he said, had opened his eyes and the Olympic tournament was now effectively a fifth Grand Slam. Before 2008  he had not known what to say when asked whether tennis was an Olympic sport.

The sight of current world number one Novak Djokovic, who will carry Serbia's flag in London's opening ceremony, shedding tears of joy at winning a bronze medal left him in no doubt.

"I think it gave me a lot of motivation and also an understanding of how important the Olympics is to a tennis player," said Murray.

"When I lost there I know how disappointed I was. After you go back to your room in the Olympic village and there's a table of who's won and lost and which medals have been won, you feel that you've kind of not contributed.
"It's tough and I didn't like it so I want to try and do better this time."

Murray, who is likely to partner his brother Jamie in the Olympic doubles, said Beijing was still one of the best sporting experiences he had ever had thanks to staying in the village.

He has learned from watching other athletes, incorporating some methods into his training regime.

"I've met quite a lot of the boxers, I've learned a lot from the way they train and how disciplined they are with their eating, how structured their training methods are," he said.

 "For me watching Usain Bolt at the last Olympic Games was incredible to watch."

Staying in the Olympic village could be a logistical problem, with Wimbledon in the south-west and some distance from the Olympic Park in the east.

Murray lives just 15 minutes from the grass courts and staying at home would be more logical, at least during the tennis tournament which starts on July 28 and ends on Aug. 5.

"I stayed in the Olympic village during Beijing and I really enjoyed it. I would like to stay in the village this year," he said. "I kind of need to do obviously what's best for the preparation."

Andy Hunt, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, said the only consideration was ensuring Murray performed at the highest level.
"If between he, his coach, team leader...they decide the best way to get the maximum performance out of Andy at the Olympic Games is to stay in his own accommodation at Wimbledon, I totally back that," he told Reuters. 

Britain's last Olympic tennis medal was silver in the men's doubles at Atlanta in 1996 through Tim Henman and Neil Broad.

Despite the lack of recent success, Britain tops the tennis medals table with 16 golds, 13 silvers and 16 bronzes won between 1896 and 1924. Tennis was then removed as an Olympic medal sport and reinstated only in 1988.      

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