Two-time Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray believes the Tokyo Olympics are a ‘beacon of hope’ as the world is still reeling due to the pandemic.
“In so many ways, right now it’s more important than ever that people around the world get to reconnect to the raw emotion of sport, watch incredible performances and celebrate the achievement of athletes coming from around the world,” the Brit wrote in a column for the official Tokyo Olympics site.
Murray won a gold medal in singles and a silver in doubles when the Olympics were held on his home ground, in London, in 2012.
An unforgettable tennis match! 🎾
Relive the moment @andy_murray became the first tennis player to win back-to-back Olympic golds, after defending his men's singles title against @delpotrojuan at Rio 2016. 🥇🥇#StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/jrRCmAddiS
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 13, 2021
He followed it up with another gold medal finish at the Rio Olympics in 2016. The 34-year-old, who has been setback by hip injury since then, will be competing in singles and men’s doubles in Tokyo.
“Going to a second Olympics as defending champion is exciting and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he wrote.
“The Games are the biggest competition in the world and as athletes we train hard for moments like this. Tokyo 2020 in 2021 is unique, falling during the pandemic and we have seen incredible resilience from athletes, fans and all those involved in making this happen.
Fancy seeing you here 🤗
— ITF (@ITFTennis) July 22, 2021
“In times of difficulty, sport isn’t just necessary, it is vital. Excellence, respect and friendship and valuing the small wins in everyday life as well as the big ones became more important than ever over the last 18 months.
“During the darkest days of lockdown, the workouts at home, the games of tennis played on rooftops and even the walks around the garden, gave us all a sense of hope and for many a new perspective.
“An incredible amount of work has gone into ensuring the safety of everyone involved with the Games. It’s going to be amazing to be playing in Tokyo and my own experiences are why I think the Games have never been more relevant.”
Murray will open his singles campaign against 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Some of the biggest names in the sport, like Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, have decided to skip the Games.
Novak Djokovic, bidding for a Golden Grand Slam this year, is the top seed in men’s singles.