Players adapting to Olympic schedule
Originally published on: 03/08/12 00:00
During Grand Slam tournaments, which are played over a fortnight, the players are on court every other day. In the Olympics the singles competitors still play six matches – just one fewer than at the Grand Slam events – but the competition lasts only one week.
For most of the top singles players there is also the added commitment of playing doubles at the Olympics. Nearly all the leading men and women have played both singles and doubles, while Andy Murray has also added mixed doubles to his schedule.
“There's no rest mentally,” said Murray, who has not played mixed doubles at a Grand Slam event for more than six years. “Obviously when you're playing Wimbledon you get the day off. That always helps because you can relax a little bit and get away from it. Whereas here we’ve played pretty much every day. That's what's challenging – making sure each morning you get up and you're ready to perform. Because it’s such a quick match with the three sets. Any mistake can cost you. Physically it's easier, but mentally I don't know whether it's easier or not. It's just different.”
Roger Federer, asked whether he had been able to see any other sports, said with a smile: “I played singles for one and a half hours, then I played doubles. I didn't run, go see volleyball, then come back. I wish I could.”
He added: “I don't want to say it's similar to Wimbledon, because in Wimbledon we play every second day. At one point I had two days off. You have more time to move around, go to the city. Here, going to the Olympic Village, doing the press over there, I've been staying put in Wimbledon. I've been super busy playing a lot. Once we were supposed to play, got cancelled with rain, all that stuff. I was just hanging around.
“It's just been very much tournament mode, getting things done the right way. This is a once_ѥin_ѥa_ѥlifetime opportunity for all the players. As much as I would like to go see other sports, there's no time for that now.”