Andy Murray’s Olympics at an end after GB doubles defeat to Croatian pair
British tennis involvement at the Tokyo Games came to an end on Wednesday as Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury fell painfully short of competing for medals, losing in the quarter-finals to the Croatian pair Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-6 (2), 10-7.
They were joined shortly after by Liam Broady, the unlikely last British player standing, who put in a third solid performance against quality opposition but eventually lost 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 to Jérémy Chardy on another hot and humid afternoon. He will leave Tokyo after one of the most positive weeks of his career.
For much of the doubles match, Murray and Salisbury were in control as they established a 6-4, 4-2 lead and appeared to be building their path to the semi-final, where they would have had the opportunity to play for either a gold or bronze medal.
But Cilic and Dodig are a formidable team when representing their country in Davis Cup. They recovered the break and used their momentum to take control of the match. Then they finished the Brits off with a clinical match tiebreak.
“I’ve loved every minute of playing the Olympics,” said Murray. “I wished today could have gone differently and had another chance with Joe to win a medal. We were so close and that’s what is disappointing. Would have liked to have done some stuff differently in the match to try and help out more but, yeah, that’s what’s disappointing.”
Murray’s next step will be to recover from the thigh injury that forced him to withdraw from the singles draw and once again look to establish some rhythm in his singles career. With the US Open one month away, Murray said that his team believes he will be ready.
“I don’t know. I’ll see how the injury heals and that’s what will dictate it. I’m not going to rush something if it’s not there. My team think I should be OK to play the US Open judging by how I felt in the matches here. I know it’s not as physical as singles but there’s a lot of explosive movement and my leg felt fine. I have to wait and see.”
As they departed with their heads down, both men were understandably devastated. “It’s hard,” Murray said. “I hate losing. I wanted to try and win a medal with Joe. So, it’s difficult to take. It’s disappointing. You have regrets, think about points you should have done differently.”
“I’ve always loved team sports. I’ve loved being part of the Olympics – it’s an amazing experience as Joe would say. His first time, I’m sure he’ll be hungry to come back and do better next time.”