LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - Andy Murray, who has yet to win a tennis grand slam or an Olympic medal, intends to rectify one of those failings over the next two months on Wimbledon grass.
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 had 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.
“Having had the experience of last time I think I will have learned from that and do things a little bit differently this time and hopefully that will contribute to a better performance,” the 25-year-old Scot, now fourth in the world, told reporters at Wimbledon.
“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 Grand Slam finalist.
“I ended up doing well at the U.S. open afterwards because I was very disappointed with myself and really went for it.”
Murray, who will carry the burden of expectation at Wimbledon again this month as fourth seed and as the only British player with any hope of singles success, left no doubt about the importance of the Games.
Beijing, he said, had opened his eyes and the Olympic tournament was now effectively a fifth Grand Slam. Before the 2008 Games 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 in Beijing left him in no doubt about how others felt.
Losing in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam would be more likely to produce tears of frustration.
“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 and watching others perform.
He has learned from that, incorporating some methods into his training regime.
“Boxing is a sport that I love and I respect the boxers so much because of what they put their bodies through,” he said.
”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.
“I also get inspired by seeing other athletes. 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.”
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. (Editing by John Mehaffey)