Murray announced as first tennis player to qualify for Team GB
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Andy Murray was this morning confirmed as the first member of the Great Britain tennis team ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games at the world famous grass courts of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon.
Murray will be competing in the men’s singles event which begins on July 28th, culminating on Centre Court on August 5th.
Murray, who is coached by legend Ivan Lendl, will also compete in the doubles event, partnered by his younger brother Jamie. It will be the world No4’s second Olympics and he will be hoping to far exceed his disappointing performance in Beijing four years ago: "It's an incredible event and for it to be in London is extra special," said Murray. "I can't wait for the Olympics to start. I remember being part of the Olympic Ceremony in Beijing, which was an unbelievable atmosphere and like nothing I'd experienced before. Winning a medal this summer for Team GB is one of my major goals."
However, with Murray being the only Brit to qualify for Team GB through ranking, it seems the rest of Briton’s hopefuls will have to rely on wildcard entries if they are to compete for medals.
Each country can have only six men and six women in the Games, with a maximum of four singles players and two doubles pairs, leaving the likes of Anne Keothavong, Elena Baltacha, James Ward and even men’s duo Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins sweating over their places in the team.
Young Brits Laura Robson and Heather Watson could also be granted entry to the tournament, but as GB’s women's No1, Keothavong seems the most likely to win a wildcard into the singles event. However Britain may only receive one entry, which would be harsh on Baltacha, who topped the British rankings for the best part of three years until last week.
Fleming and Hutchins have both been forced to take some time off over the past two months due to respective knee and wrist injuries, and Fleming admitted it has been nerve-racking being left in the dark; "That's the tough thing about being injured, we had to sit and watch the rankings go up and down,” he said. “But what can you do, hope we get in one way or another and then be ready for it."
Team GB top the all-time Olympic tennis medals table, having accumulated 16 gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze medals between 1896 and 1924, when the sport was removed from the Olympic Programme. Since tennis returned 64 years ago at the 1988 games, Tim Henman and Neil Broad are the only Brits to bring home medals with a men’s doubles silver at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal beat Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez in the 2008 gold medal match with current world number one Novak Djokovic taking bronze.