The debate on whether tennis should be an Olympic sport and is a Gold Medal the pinnacle of on-court achievement or will that always remain the domain of the majors, is likely to go on throughout time but Andy Murray insists this time next year things will be just as important for him as they are in the last week of June and the first of July.
In 2012 the best of the ATP World Tour and WTA roster will return to London SW19 less than a month after the All England Championships to battle for Olympic glory rather than the Wimbledon titles. It's very important, said Murray, who will spearhead the home bid for gold. It's right up there. All of the top players want to play in the Olympics now.
For all of the tennis players, playing at Wimbledon is special at any time, but obviously now it's part of the Olympics it's something different that we will never have experienced before. That place has got so much history as well, so combined with the history of the Olympics will make it amazing.
And the Scot has the added incentive of aiming for doubles glory alongside his brother Jamie. It would be a pretty special experience, he said. It would probably top most things we'll do in our careers if we do play together at a home Olympics at Wimbledon." Three years ago in Beijing almost all the best players, with the exception of the United States Andy Roddick, turned up to represent their nations and the lure of Wimbledon should ensure an even more prestigious entry. And of course thetraditional predominantly white clothing rule of the Championships will not be in force.
Rafael Nadal said winning gold for Spain in Beijing was one of his proudest moments while the Russian domination of the womens singles podium, featuring the now retired Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva, remains one of the most popular pictorial images in Moscow.
Murray, who made his Olympic debut as a 21-year-old in Beijing but was beaten in the first round by Chinese Taipeis by Lu Yen-Hsun, continued: When you are part of the Olympics and have been to an opening ceremony and have stayed in an Olympic village, you see how great a competition it is and how important it is to win medals for your country and represent your country.
Obviously I didn't play very well in Beijing but it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in sport. You move on, try to improve and you get better. I'll make sure that I'm as well prepared as possible for this one and try and put in a good performance. It's on the grass at Wimbledon, I have played well there in the past, so I'll try and have another good run.
Murray's results did not detract from his enjoyment of the Olympics, though, with the 24-year-old adding: "The opening ceremony was unbelievable, just being around so many great athletes was inspiring.
"I really, really enjoyed it and now having it in London is going to make a huge
difference. I'm sure they are going to put on a great show and I'm really looking forward to being part of it.
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