Tokyo 2020 Olympics - What are Andy Murray's chances of winning another Olympic gold medal with Team GB?
Can Andy Murray defend his title at the Tokyo Olympics? The three-time Grand Slam champion won gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, and will be aiming for another medal this summer. We look back at Murray's previous wins and his chances of success in Japan with several big-name players not in action at the event.
'Each match could be my last' - Murray after Paire win at Queen's
Murray headed into the 2012 Olympics with redemption on his mind. Redemption for his first-round loss to Yen-Hsun Lu four years earlier - "I didn't understand what the Olympics meant to me,” Murray said after the shock result – and redemption for defeat to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final of the summer of 2012.
Murray started in confident fashion at the Games as he beat Federer’s Switzerland team-mate Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-3 in the first round. He followed up with another straight-sets win over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen before recovering from dropping the first set to beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. Another comfortable win over Nicolas Almagro set up a semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic had won two of their three meetings in 2012, including a five-set thriller in the Australian Open semi-finals, but Murray proved too strong at the All England Club as he came through 7-5 7-5.
Andy Murray, London 2012
Image credit: Getty Images
A meeting with Federer in the final came four weeks to the day since they had last faced off on the same court in the Wimbledon final. Federer won on that occasion 4–6 7–5 6–3 6–4 but the outcome this time was very different.
Murray powered through 6-2 6-1 6-4 on a raucous Centre Court as world No 1 Federer struggled to find top gear after his epic semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro.
"It's number one for me - the biggest win of my life," said Murray, who would win his first Grand Slam title a few months later at the US Open.
"I have had a lot of tough losses in my career and this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final."
Murray was the first British man to win Olympic singles gold since Josiah Ritchie in 1908.
2016 – ‘A great champion’
If 2012 was Murray’s major breakthrough, then Rio was Murray at the peak of his powers.
He had helped lead Britain to a first Davis Cup win in 79 years in 2015, reached the Australian and French Open finals, and won Wimbledon for the second time.
Now ranked No 2 in the world, he was Team GB’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of Rio and eased through his opening matches against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki and Argentina’s Juan Monaco. There was a scare in the third round against Italy’s Fabio Fognini as Murray lost eight games in a row and fell 3-0 behind in the third set. However, he recovered to win 6-1 2-6 6-3 and make the quarter-finals. Steve Johnson also took a set off Murray but could not prevent the defending champion advancing.
Murray was more clinical in the semi-finals as he beat Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4 to set up a meeting with Del Potro, who had shocked Djokovic in the first round and beaten Rafael Nadal in the semis.
The final was a gruelling four-hour contest, featuring 14 breaks of serve and several swings of momentum before Murray closed out a 7-5 4-6 6-2 7-5 victory to make it GB's most successful day at an overseas Games. Both players seemed drained as the match neared its conclusion and Del Potro eventually sliced a backhand into the net as Murray became the first male tennis player to win two Olympic singles titles.
"Emotionally it was tough," said a tearful Murray afterwards. "Physically, it was hard. There were so many ups and downs in the match. It was one of the toughest matches that I've played to win a big event, for sure."
Asked about competing at another Olympics, Murray added: “Four years is a long time and so many things can change. Who knows about Tokyo? At 33, I'm not sure I'll be at the same level."
2021 – Can Murray do it again?
Not only is Murray not at the same level as he was in 2016, he’s also an extra year older following the postponement of the Games – and his form in 2021 doesn’t suggest that a deep run in Tokyo is likely.
Murray has only played four tour-level tournaments and was beaten in straight sets in his last appearance at Wimbledon. His last win against a top-10 player was almost a year ago.
However, his Olympic experience should count for something, and the field has been weakened by the withdrawal of several big-name players. The change of format to playing every match over three sets should also suit Murray, who might have the potential to surprise if he gets a kind draw.