London, July 20 (Reuters) - Andy Murray has cast aside the disappointment of Wimbledon and hopes to repay the “overwhelming” support of the British public by winning gold at the London Olympics.
The world number four was left devastated and in tears after being humbled by Switzerland’s Roger Federer in the All England Club final two weeks ago.
While Federer won a record 17th grand slam title, Murray was left to digest a fourth major final defeat as he failed to end Britain’s 76-year wait for a men’s grand slam champion.
The Olympic tennis event, also being held in the traditional home of grasscourt tennis, begins on July 28 so there has been precious little time for Murray to dwell on the disappointment.
“Normally after the slams we have a few weeks to sort of reflect on it, whereas this time we only had a few days and I was back on the court,” Murray told Reuters in an interview at Team GB’s Olympic house in East London on Friday (July 20).
“The support I had after the final and during kind of gave me that motivation to get back on the court and try and rectify the loss at Wimbledon with winning a medal.”
Murray won a legion of new fans with his outpouring of emotion after the Wimbledon defeat by Federer.
“It was overwhelming really,” the 25-year-old Scot said of the support he received in the days after the final.
”It was a big help because I was obviously very down the few days afterwards... I didn’t read any papers or turn the TV on but I was getting post through my doors, (from) my next door neighbours and friends and family from back home and messages from (former British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown and various celebrities.
“It was just really nice, everyone’s been really supportive and it helped me get back on the court in the right mindset to train and get ready for London.”
With defending Olympic champion Rafa Nadal out of the London Games with injury, another potential obstacle in Murray’s path to glory has been removed.
While gold is the goal for Murray, he added he would take any colour medal if it meant being on the podium at his home Olympics.
”If I went into a grand slam and lost in the semi-finals, it’s really disappointing and you kind of get criticised. (But) If you win a medal here, it’s celebrated so you get a bronze medal and that’s great.
“So I’d love to try and win a medal but you go into the tournament looking for the gold medal, that’s what everybody wants to get. If you can’t get that, then try for a silver or a bronze but you need to go in with that mindset of trying to win the event.”
Nadal’s withdrawal was a double blow for the Spaniard as he was also set to carry his country’s flag at the opening ceremony on July 27.
“I’ve messaged him (Nadal) a few times since Wimbledon,” Murray said.
”It’s a shame for him - he obviously won the gold at the last Olympics. And when he’s represented his country, his record... his record is incredible anyway... but when he’s been playing in Davis Cup or in the Olympics, he doesn’t lose that often when he’s playing for Spain.
“It’s a shame for the tournament that he’s going to have to miss it.” (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)