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Murray faces difficult start to defence of Olympic title

Andy Murray

 

Andy Murray faces a tough start to the defence of his Olympic tennis title after being drawn against ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Murray is the only tennis player to win back-to-back singles gold medals having triumphed in London and Rio but his hopes of making it three in a row have been severely hampered by physical struggles.

He won consecutive matches at a grand slam for the first time in four years at Wimbledon before being comprehensively beaten by Auger-Aliassime’s Canadian counterpart Denis Shapovalov and then giving a downbeat assessment of his career prospects.

Twenty-year-old Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, headed to Tokyo on a high after a strong grass court season that culminated in a first grand slam quarter-final appearance at SW19, while he easily defeated Murray at the US Open last year.

Debutant Liam Broady, a very late entrant to the field after numerous withdrawals, will take on Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo while Heather Watson opens against Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany.

Dan Evans and Johanna Konta, who would have represented Britain’s best hopes of singles medals, were both forced to withdraw ahead of travelling after testing positive for coronavirus.

read alsoTokyo Olympics set for unusual opening ceremony

Plenty of star names have remained at home, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, but Wimbledon champions Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty are both in Japan along with Naomi Osaka, who will play her first match since withdrawing from the French Open. Tennis event of the Games begins on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

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