The Olympic Games are here, one year behind schedule. But here we are. We survived a global pandemic, the fascist Trump administration and the Sussexit. I’m not even going to pretend to know what’s happening when, but if you’re in America, the NBC Olympic platform is offering a TV schedule for all of the channels and programming they’re devoting to the Olympic Games. From what I can tell, the tennis matches will be mostly featured on The Olympic Channel, and they start late this evening – 10 pm EST.
Andy Murray is still coming back from injuries but he’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist in singles (and a silver medalist in Mixed Doubles), which means he’s playing the Olympics on some kind of protected ranking or something. All I know is that he’s been on the ground in Tokyo for days, getting acclimated to the heat and the courts. He practiced with Novak Djokovic yesterday and the photos are pretty great. Someone called this a “Scottish tan.” LOL. Andy’s comeback has had so many starts and stops and after he crashed out of Wimbledon in the third round a few weeks ago, he apparently thought about retiring for good. But, as he told the Evening Standard, his oldest child stopped him:
Speaking today in Japan, he said: “I was very disappointed after Wimbledon. With each major tournament that passes… and when you’re getting asked questions a lot it’s always about my future and stuff, so naturally from that and the fact I’d not performed as well as I’d like to, you question things and doubt yourself a little bit. But when I got home the day after my match my daughter said to me ‘Daddy, you’re home because you lost another tennis match’ and I said to her, ‘yeah I did, what do you do if you lose?’ and she said ‘you try and try again’. And I was like yeah, that’s what I want to do. I want to keep playing because I enjoy it and think I can still play at a high level.
“There’s been difficult moments in last few months and year with injuries but right now this is the healthiest I’ve been in the longest period. I’m getting better and improving and hopefully that stays that way until the end of the year.”
Murray has been handed tough opening matches in both the singles and doubles at the Games. In the singles, he takes on Felix Augur Aliassime, who knocked him out of the second round at last year’s US Open, and takes on one of the world’s best doubles pairings of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut alongside Joe Salisbury.
Despite the challenge, the two-time Olympic singles champion said he was still confident of coming away from Tokyo with a medal.
“It’s not going to be easy and in a slightly different position to four or five years ago when I would have been expected to get one and that’s maybe not the case this time around,” he said. Of a possible medal, he added: “That would be for me probably my best achievement if I could do that after everything that’s gone on the last few years. So, I’m motivated for that reason alone. And yeah I still believe that I can do that. I know this could be the last one. So, I want to go out there and leave everything out on the court and fight for every single point because that’s all you can do.”
“Could be the last one”? Is my man planning on playing at the Paris Olympics in 2024? That would be amazing if so. I appreciate that Andy is still setting goals for himself and he’s still angry and disappointed when he loses matches. He’s still a wily old man though, and that’s enough to do some serious damage, especially when he’s an athlete known to “peak” at the Olympics. I have my fingers crossed for Andy, I really do.
Photos courtesy of Getty.