Team GB basking in Olympic glow
Originally published on: 24/07/12 00:00
Andy Murray smiled broadly as he carried the Olympic Torch through the All England Club on Monday and there’s no doubt he’ll be hoping that’s not the only piece of gold he gets his hands on in the coming week. Far from alone in that quest, Murray is part of an eight-strong tennis team and members of Team GB have already been inspired by what they have seen at the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Anne Keothavong, who will play in the women's singles event along with Elena Baltacha, anticipates a very special event. “Having the Olympics here in London is going to be a once in a lifetime experience and competing in a home Games will definitely be a highlight of my career," she said. “Just driving here [to Stratford] in the team coach – it’s amazing to see how much the area has changed. It’s great for this part of London, where I grew up, and the whole city itself to be hosting these Games. You can already see the positive effect it has had.”
Laura Robson, who plays alongside Heather Watson in the women's doubles, is also relishing the opportunity to play at home. “I’m really excited to be representing Team GB at London 2012. Obviously I come from Wimbledon so to be playing there in my home town for Team GB at an Olympic Games is very special and it’s something that I’m going to really enjoy and will never forget.”
All eyes will be on the Murray brothers as they team up for the men’s doubles. Jamie, already a mixed doubles Grand Slam winner in SW19, said: “If I could win a gold medal at an Olympic Games or win a Grand Slam I’d take a gold medal, especially here in a home Games. When I was in Beijing, coming and going to and from the Athletes Village, I used to look on the medal winners board and I used to think how much that I’d love to be on it.
“When Andy and I play at our best we’re probably as good as anyone else out there and I think we’re more than capable of competing with any other nation. We’ve played a few tournaments together already this year and we’ve been playing well so that’s good for us coming into London 2012.”
Brother Andy has been putting in the hard yards since falling to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, which he admitted was “a tough loss”, but says that focusing on the Olympics has allowed him to bounce back strongly.
“I had a couple of days off to recover and practice has gone well since,” he said. “Getting back on the court has helped and I’m feeling positive ahead of the Olympic competition coming up. I needed to make sure I got over the disappointment quickly as I really want to do well here.”
The draw takes place on Thursday 26th July and tennishead will be at the All England Club to bring you that as it happens. The competition proper kicks off at 11.30am on Saturday 28 July, so unless the draw gives Team GB members a late start, it’s unlikely many of the tennis team will be lining up at the Opening Ceremony on Friday night. Tennis Team GB leader Paul Hutchins has echoed what Sir Clive Woodward, Team GB deputy Chef de Mission, has said – that competing is the priority for the team.
Andy Murray (singles and doubles)
Ross Hutchins (doubles)
Colin Fleming (doubles)
Jamie Murray (doubles)
Elena Baltacha (singles and doubles)
Anne Keothavong (singles and doubles)
Heather Watson (doubles)
Laura Robson (doubles)
Paul Hutchins (Team Leader)
Iain Bates (Women’s tennis Coach)
Louis Cayer (Mixed and Doubles team Coach)
Andy Ireland (Physiotherapist)
Judy Murray (Team Coach)
Leon Smith (Team Coach)