Wimbledon 2021: Andy Murray - I'm going for gold again

Andy Murray is already thinking ahead to his next big test on the comeback trail after Wimbledon. He aims to return from Tokyo with an Olympic medal and knows the colour he wants.

Andy Murray on the practice courts at Wimbledon before today's second-round match
Andy Murray on the practice courts at Wimbledon before today's second-round match

The Scot, back on court today at SW19 against German qualifier Oscar Otte, struck gold at the London and Rio games and hopes to repeat the trick when the delayed 2020 sporting spectacular begins next month.

“My goal is to try and win a medal - ideally a gold one,” Murray said. “It will be great to go to Tokyo and play there. We’re lucky that the Olympics are going ahead this year and personally I’ve always enjoyed the experience of the games. I want to win for my country and will give my best effort to do that.”

Confirmation of his second-round opponent at the All-England club came last night and with it a big compliment. Praising Murray’s steel after an injury-bedevilled four years for the two-times champion, Otte said: “He’s an unreal athlete and one of the best ever for sure.”

Murray returned to singles action at Wimbledon for the first time since 2017 with a thrilling, three-and-a-half hour victory. The Centre Court crowd compared Monday night’s win to the many rollercoaster affairs from his triumphant reign here - once his army of fans had got their breath back, this is.

Murray, a wild card this time, raced to a two-sets, 5-0 lead over Nikoloz Basilashvili, but then the Georgian No 24 seed suddenly stirred and won seven games on the bounce.

If that was nerve-shredding for the crowd then Murray knew how they felt. During a delay for the court to be covered, he was thinking about how, if he was to suffer a complete collapse, the match might be written up.

“Having to come back out and try to win … a lot of players would have capitulated there, and I did the opposite of that,” he said. “[But] there was pressure in that moment, having just lost seven games on the spin, the headlines [that you had] choked and, you know, one of the worst defeats of your career.”

In defeat, Basilashvili paid tribute to Murray’s gutsiness. “It’s an unbelievable effort for him after surgery and so many comebacks to be here fighting like this,” he said. “Well done to him.”

Otte, 27 and 6ft 4ins, is a big server ranked 152 and this is his Wimbledon debut. His first-round match against fellow qualifier Arthur Rinderknech of France had begun the same time as Murray’s but it’s conclusion had to be held over for 24 hours, Otte prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 13-12 (7-2).

Otte said he was looking forward to playing an “icon”. “Andy’s huge in tennis. I watched his documentary [Resurfacing] and actually I was crying. It was so emotional and so inspiring. I’m probably talking for other players, too. Andy’s just huge.

“This will be a pretty big match. The crowd probably won’t be on my side but that’s okay for me. I have my coach here and my girlfriend. Maybe that can be enough but we’ll see.”

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