The unusual sights of heavy grey clouds in the normally blue Rio sky and a disappointing number of empty seats may have led to a lack of atmosphere at the Olympic tennis centre.
But it was business as usual for Andy Murray as he opened his Olympic singles title defence with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.
I’m not defending a gold medal. I always keep my gold medal, it’s always going to be there and I don’t have to give it backAndy Murray
The start was admittedly one to forget as Friday night’s opening ceremony flagbearer was broken in his very first game.
But the Wimbledon champion immediately hit back, controlling the tempo of the match to maintain his unbeaten record over Troicki and move into the second round of the men’s singles in one hour and 23 minutes.
“Obviously there were a few nerves at the start as I haven’t played for a few weeks. It’s the first match on a hard court for a while and it was tricky conditions with the wind,” said Murray, who then darted off to prepare for his opening men’s doubles match with brother Jamie.
“I did pretty well and it was a good start and I’m happy with how I did.
“I’m trying to win another Olympic medal and that’s what adds to the pressure a little bit.
“I’m not defending a gold medal. I always keep my gold medal, it’s always going to be there and I don’t have to give it back.
“But it’s more trying to win another medal and do something here. That’s the pressure I’m putting on myself.”
After initially conceding his very first service game, the 29-year-old re-gathered his thoughts to level before another break in the seventh game – helped by two Troicki errors into the net – nudged him ahead and he duly wrapped up the set in 46 minutes. Despite the lead, there were still occasional signs of Murray’s frustration as he occasionally reverted to seeking out his support team in the crowd.
However, a carefully constructed point in the third game of the second set, where he sliced the ball on to the line to bamboozle his opponent, then helped put him 2-1 up with Troicki only managing to delay the inevitable by forcing Murray to at least serve for the match.
The three-time Grand Slam winner’s attentions are now very much on tennis matters following the excitement of leading his country for the opening ceremony at the Maracana.
However, he has been making sure to engage with many other athletes around him, once again proving how much he is a fan of the Olympic Games.
“I’ve enjoyed it a lot in Rio so far. Walking about into the stadium was an incredible feeling. I think it went pretty well,” he added.
“I really enjoyed the half an hour, 45 minutes before hand walking to the stadium. It was such a nice atmosphere walking with all the other British athletes.
“On the way back from the opening ceremony I sat with Justin Rose and chatted to him for about an hour. I met Kevin Durant on the way in which was very nice, I’m a big basketball fan. I’ve been chatting with everyone really.”
Elsewhere, third seed Rafael Nadal went through in straight sets. Women’s fifth seed Venus Williams, 36, was surprisingly beaten by 62nd-ranked Kirsten Flipkens.
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