Rio de Janeiro, Aug 5 (IANS) Tennis ace Andy Murray, who is all set to carry the flag ahead of the British contingent at the Rio Games opening ceremony on Friday, termed it as the proudest moment of his career.
The defending Olympic champion said that he would try to carry the flag ‘one-handed’ as his fellow Scot and six-times gold medallist Chris Hoy suggested.
“It’s by far the proudest moment of my professional career. It’s inspiring. I’ll give it a go, left-handed,” Murray was quoted as saying by the Guardian on Thursday.
“I was speechless. It was pretty emotional. I felt proud and humble. I just kept repeating myself. I wasn’t expecting it, genuinely. It’s a big responsibility. I hope I can perform well over the next nine or 10 days,” he added.
Murray will face Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the first round of the quadrennial extravaganza. He has beaten the World No.35 in all their seven encounters so far, most recently in straight sets at Queen’s in 2015.
The 29-year-old also expressed little disappointment and termed 2016 Olympics as ‘weaker’ as many star players have been ruled out of injury.
Swiss great Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, newly installed at No.4 in the ATP world rankings due to the inactivity of Rafael Nadal (who returns here), are injured but there is nothing physically wrong with other top 10 competitors Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic or Dominic Thiem, who convinced themselves the Zika virus was not that big a threat.
“The injuries don’t help. Roger and Stan, if they were both here, that would be everyone who’d won a Grand Slam in the past 10 years or so. Some people have different concerns about coming here, some to do with Zika,” Murray said.
“It’s unfortunate. The Olympics in London was very strong. It’s a little bit weaker this time around. Everyone views this differently. For me the Olympics is the biggest event by far,” he added.
Asked about sacrificing ranking points to be in Rio, he said, “This year the schedule is tough for players with the French, Wimbledon and the Olympics coming so close. I needed to take a break after Wimbledon. I hadn’t played a match on hard courts for four months. This is my priority.”
“I lost a few ranking points, but that’s fine. I’m willing to sacrifice that to do my best here.”
Murray further spoke about his brother Jamie, who is his doubles partner at Rio, that playing second Olympics with his brother meant a lot to him.
Jamie and Andy, the reigning Wimbledon singles champion, will team up for a third crack at the men’s doubles competition.
“Getting an opportunity to play another Olympics with Jamie means a lot to both of us. Both events are as big as each other for me,” Andy said.