Andy Murray, London Olympics

From Andy Murray’s autobiography, Seventy-Seven

Beijing was one of the best experiences I’d ever had as an athlete. To be involved and part of the team, to go to the opening ceremony, and to speak to many gifted, wonderful sports people – I absolutely loved it. But then I lost in the first round to Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan.

When I weighed myself the night after my loss, I discovered I’d lost five kilos since leaving Cincinnati a week before. I was completely dehydrated. I had not been a professional in my approach because I was so excited at being part of the Olympics. I knew that when London came around my attitude had to be different. I was never going to make the Beijing mistake again. I had forgotten I was there to win matches for the country, because I was enjoying the experience so much.

I didn’t think that going to the opening ceremony in Beijing would affect me. It was only in hindsight that I realised I had used tremendous amounts of energy, speaking to loads of people and enjoying the whole occasion. For some participants that is what the Olympics should be about, but I know how disappointed I was to lose so early because I had a chance to do well for the country and I blew it.

I would have loved to have gone to the London 2012 opening ceremony – it turned out to be the most spectacular event – but it was the wrong thing to do from a professional perspective. I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.
However, I was among the fortunate people nominated to carry the flame on its journey across the nation. That was a tremendous privilege. OK, I was only able to carry it inside the confines of the All England Club, but there were memebers and players in attendance – I remember Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych cutting short their practice sessions to come and watch me receive the flame.

My first match against Stanislas Wawrinka was a really tough one. I had been practicing with him so often beforehand .. and killing him actually! In those ten days, I think I had won every practice set and I had just felt great generally.[…]

I watched as many of the other sports as I could when I wasn’t playing, and I wanted to try to be a part of that success. When I lose at the Wimbledon Championships, there isn’t usually anyone else left for British fans to support; if I’d have lost at the Olympics, there was still Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Chris Hoy. If I had lost, I doubt whether people would have spent much time talking about it, because there were so many other exciting things going on elsewhere to concentrate on.

The night before playing in the final, I watched Ennis, Farah and Greg Rutherford all win gold in Olympic Stadium. The atmosphere was outrageous, it was crackling. The country was alive with optimism, there was momentum and everyone was so positive, from the spectators to the media.
In advance of the Games, the stories had all been about the prospect of terrible traffic problems, potential security problems and ticketing issues. People thought the opening ceremony would not be as good as in Beijing, but it proved to be an incredible spectacle.
Then a few days, it was all: ‘We haven’t won a gold yet’. Everything was negative again. But once the first gold arrived, then another, then a couple more, it all changed. There was nothing to complain about anymore and the whole nation was carried along on a wave of excitement. The athletes performed better than anyone was expecting – career-best performances, golds, silvers, glorious achievements – and I put a lot of that down to the positive momentum all around. As an individual sportsman, I’d certainly never experienced anything like it.

I managed to make good progress through my first four rounds, only losing one set to Marcos Baghdatis, who challenged me really hard again. Then, after I defeated Nicolas Almagro on No.1 Court, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge amongst the spectators, I was into the semi-finals to play Novak again. I spoke to Ivan the evening before and his lessage was the same as usual: to impose my game on the match, play the game on my terms and not to lose running around with my arse against the back fence.
I managed to execute the game plan, turning in one of my most complete performances of the year. In windy conditions I thought I struck the ball really well. In the first set there were some tremendous rallies, but the second set, by comparison, wasn’t quite as good. Novak had a lot of break points, but I served really well and hung tough in those moments and just managed to get the break myself in the end.
The atmosphere was unbelievable, different to anything I’d experienced before. I’d always said that the mnight matches at the US Open had the best atmosphere, but they weren’t even close to what it was like against Novak.
I celebrated victory in the normal way until I sat down in the chair. Suddenly, I leapt up again, as if electricity was surging through my body. I’d realised I had guaranteed myself an Olympic medal.

The final would be a rematch against Roger for Olympic gold.

Dominika Cibulkova, Roland Garros 2016

Dominika Cibulkova defeats Ana Konjuh 6-4 3-6 6-0

Back to Roland Garros today and I’m back on court 17 to watch a match that looks exciting … on paper.
A former junior number one, Ana Konjuh was touted as a future top ten player. Aged 18, she won her first WTA tournament in Nottingham last year. As for Dominika Cibulkova, semifinalist here in 2009, she had a good clay-court season, with a final in Madrid.

Lots of unforced errors from both players. Not a really enjoyable match.

Court 17

Cibulkova can’t stay still for a second. For her gruntings for first point on are really annoying.

Dominika Cibulkova

Ana Konjuh
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Alexander Zverev, Roland Garros 2016

I usually like preparing my day at Roland Garros, and write down the matches I want to watch but more often than not I end up watching different matches than those planned. I had in mind to attend either Coric-Fritz on court 8 or Bouchard-Siegemund on court 16. But given the long long long queues to enter the stadium and the queue to access court 16, I made my way to court 17 as I wanted to watch the end of the match between 2010 French Open finalist Sam Stosur and Misaki Doi. But first on court 17, 74-ranked Qiang Wang faces 17-year-old French wild card Tessah Andrianjafitrimo.

Qiang Wang defeats Tessah Andrianjafitrimo 6-0 6-0

I have nothing against that player I had never heard of before, but I really don’t get why Roland Garros officials awarded a wild card to Tessah Andrianjafitrimo who is ranked 311th and has never won a WTA match. 6-0 6-0 for Wang in an hour… no comment.

Qiang Wang

Qiang Wang

Tessah Andrianjafitrimo

Tessah Andrianjafitrimo
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Nicolas Almagro, Estoril Open 2016

Former top 10 Nicolas Almagro defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in an all Spanish final in Estoril. It’s his first trophy since his victory in Nice in 2012. The match was indecise till the very last games: Almagro lost the first set on tiebreak, then served several times for the second set and finally went on winning 6-7 7-6 6-3.

IMG_20160501_133108

Estoril Open, 01.05.2016
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Nicolas Almagro, Estoril Open 2016

Two Spaniards will face off in the final of the Estoril Open tomorrow. Pablo Carreno Busta beat Fernando Verdasco, Taro Daniel, Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire en route to his second ATP final. He reached his first ATP final in Bueno Aires last February and lost to Pablo Cuevas. His opponent in the final will be veteran Nicolas Almagro who upset number one seed Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals.

The Australian celebrated his 21st birthday with a win over Inigo Cervantes on Wednesday:

Estoril Open, 27.04.2016

Estoril Open - Nick Kyrgios' 21st birthday :-)

Estoril Open semifinal: Carreno Busta defeats Paire 6-3 6-3

Estoril Open, 30.04.2016
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Special Olympic players hit balls at Peugeot Tennis Clinic

Almost 5,000 tennis fans got together at the Center Court of the Real Club Tenis Barcelona for the Peugeot Tennis Clinic on Sunday. During one hour, Nicolas Almagro, Pablo Carreno Busta and Paula Badosa hit balls with 40 kids from different clubs all over Catalonia, as well as 12 players from the Spanish Special Olympics delegation.

That’s for sure the kind of event we’d like to see more often. A few pictures from the clinic:

Clínic Trofeu Conde de Godó 2016

Clínic Trofeu Conde de Godó 2016
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