As one of the most respected tennis players of his generation, Andy Murray is respected as a trailblazer. He brought British tennis back from being the perennial runner-up, instead moving from contender to winner. Part of his rise to success came as part of the 2012 Olympics, when he won a gold medal and started a run of impressive performances – and wins – at Grand Slam level. However, his selection for the Tokyo Olympics, held a year late due to the pandemic, has been met with some pretty intense criticism.
Forever one to fight his corner and to fight for others, though, Murray was having none of the criticism. The reigning Olympic champion was quick to bite back against criticism that he was ‘stealing’ a spot on the squad list. Via a social media posting, Murray was quick to make clear that any suggestions of favouritism was, basically, nonsense.
Given he holds two gold medals at Olympic level, his return to the team should be no surprise. To win here would be a third gold medal in singles tennis. Given his fitness issues over the last few years, it would be a tremendous bookend to a career that could be described as legendary without any hyperbole. As a two-time champion, he was named as one of the two male singles players to make the team.
Team GB often looks to pick veterans like Murray, and his selection should be no surprise. Having previously won the Olympic event, he knows the challenges involved and will not be cowed by the pressure. It also gives the country the best chance of seeing a medal return – is that not the main thing?
While some believe that Cameron Norrie should have been called up, given he impressed at the Queen’s Cup, but it was Dan Evans, the World No. 26, who was picked instead.
What did Andy Murray say about his Olympics selection?
While Murray himself sits well outside the Top 100 for the ATP Tour rankings, it is his veteran leadership that makes him an invaluable asset at the games. Amid the usual media criticism and drama, though, Murray took his usually stoic tone and made clear via social media that he was not taking anyone else’s spot on the team.
In a post, he said that Norrie had “chose not to play”, and that he used his own special exemption as a previous winner to take his spot. In a response to a poster Phill Tait on Twitter, Murray shot back at suggestions of poor selection, responding: “Cam chose not to play… each nation is allowed 4 singles players…i used my special exemption as previous winner to take my spot in the draw.. it no bearing on Cam or any other British players chance to compete.”
Murray’s brother, Jamie, will also take part, as he will play in the Doubles alongside British No. 1 Joe Salisbury. Salisbury won the 2020 Australian Open alongside Rajeev Ram, who represents the USA.