Olympics: Golden glory can spark more success, says Murray
LONDON – Britain’s Andy Murray believes his Olympic triumph will provide the perfect springboard to break his Grand Slam drought.
Murray produced the performance of a lifetime to win his first Olympic gold medal with a crushing 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 demolition of world number one Roger Federer in the men’s final on Sunday.
The 25-year-old’s astonishing display avenged his heart-breaking Wimbledon final defeat against Federer last month, but more importantly for Murray it provided concrete evidence that he can win these kind of high-stakes encounters with the world’s best players.
Murray has been beaten in four Grand Slam finals and some suggested the world number four was destined to be remembered as a nearly-man who fell short of the standards set by Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
At times, Murray has also doubted whether he could match-up to those three giants of the men’s game and that nagging feeling triggered his tearful reaction to losing the Wimbledon final.
But now Murray has banished those demons by humiliating seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer on Centre Court and he believes that is the perfect preparation for a renewed assault on the majors, starting at the US Open in New York later this month.
“It will help with the way I go into this kind of match,” Murray said. “Come US Open time I hope this will have given me the confidence to go in there and believe in myself a bit more than I have in the past.
“I should give myself a shot at winning there. I played very well at the US Open in the past. It’s a surface I like playing on. I hope I can have a good run there.”
Murray’s dominance of Federer was so complete that he didn’t drop a serve in the entire match and lost only one point on his serve in the final set.
Federer has rarely been so brutally dispatched and it was the kind of jaw-dropping display that took even Murray by surprise.
“I have lost some tough matches and I’ve had a lot of questions asked about me many times,” said Murray, the first British man to win Olympic singles gold since Josiah Ritchie in 1908.
“So I’m just glad I managed to put on a performance I’ve been waiting for.
“To win against Roger in straight sets on Centre Court, it probably hasn’t happened for years, so I must have played a very good match.
“It was a big match for both of us. So just to win in the way that I did makes those losses a bit easier to take.”
There has been a new-found maturity and muscularity about Murray’s play since losing at Wimbledon and he believes his positive reaction to that defeat – so different to his response to past let-downs – was the key to the way he thrived at the Games.
“I think a combination of learning from all of those defeats, the Wimbledon final especially, will have gone into today’s match,” he said.
“If you don’t lose your concentration for any point you can play a consistent match like this. I hope this experience will make me a better player as well.”
Murray could be forgiven for taking a well-earned break after his exploits this week, but the Scot is due to start his US Open build-up by flying to Canada on Tuesday to compete in this week’s Toronto Masters.
Before that he plans to enjoy a long night’s celebration with girlfriend Kim Sears, his family and backroom staff following a triumph that validated all his hard work and their support.
“It was quite a strange feeling because after the Wimbledon final I was really so overly emotional, not only after I left the court, but for the next couple of days. This time, after the match, I felt surprisingly calm,” Murray said.
“But when I get the chance to sit down with all of the guys and celebrate with my family tonight, I’m sure I’ll get emotional again because it’s been the best week in my tennis career by a mile.”
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