‘All athletes in Britain look up to Andy Murray’ declares former coach
Leon Smith remembers Andy Murray being the star of British sport as the reigning Olympic champion stood at the head of Team GB at Rio Games.
Smith coached Murray in his early years, before being his Davis Cup captain during Great Britain’s tournament win in 2015.
He has watched his compatriot grow into a tennis icon and flagbearer for British sport, claim two Olympic golds and three Grand Slam titles despite numerous injuries.
“He was standing on a big lawn at the athletes’ village in Rio before the ceremony and gave an amazing leader’s speech,” said Smith, who was Team GB tennis coach at the Games.
“It was incredible seeing him as the the role model for the whole nation.
“It’s not just tennis players, all athletes in Britain look up to Andy Murray.
“It’s not just his success, it’s what he’s been through and the fact he’s still out there after so many setbacks, which would have created doubt for so many others.”
The 34-year-old will look to win his third singles Gold medal in Tokyo, he faces ninth-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in his opening match. He also teams up with Joe Salisbury in the doubles, French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut were dispatched in straight sets on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a weaker field [in Tokyo], which presents a greater opportunity to try and medal.
“Andy is a winner. Everything he does now is an amazing achievement, trying to play at the top of the world with a metal hip.
“He’s already up there as one of the best British athletes of all time, but if he were to leave a third Olympics with a medal it would cement his place.” Smith added.
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