British Number one Andy Murray faces a tricky side of the draw at the London 2012 Olympic Games which sees him play Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in the opening round.
Murray, who earlier this month lost to Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon, has Richard Gasquet, Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic all in his half of the draw. The scot will probably need to beat all of them before contemplating a rematch with Federer in the final.
However before he can dream of Olympic glory Murray must beat Stanislas Wawrinka, who won a gold medal at Beijing in the doubles with Roger Federer. On paper it is a straightforward match for Britain’s number 1, as Wawrinka has slipped to 26 in the world after a run of poor performances.
Murray will be looking to avenge his poor performance in Beijing, four years ago where he lost in the early rounds, but on a surface that is suited to his game, he should be confident. It is obvious to say that he was the second best player at Wimbledon, but the fact that the Olympics comes so soon after the Grand Slam at which he excelled should give the Scot great confidence.
Murray has always played well on the grass of Wimbledon, and although the venue will have a slightly different feel to it, without all the normal green and purple Wimbledon banners, it is still the same centre court. Mentally, Murray is very strong, and he will realise that even though he has been given a tough draw at the Olympics, his draw at the All England Championships was equally difficult.
Match betting with Bet365 Bookmaker:
1/9 Murray, 11/2 Wawrinka
Just three weeks ago, he beat Baghdatis, Ferrer, Cilic and Tsonga before finally coming unstuck against the great Roger Federer. Despite losing that final, Murray can take a lot of positives out of it, especially how he played in the opening set and half. The Scot has been a perennial slow starter, which is fine in grand slams which are played over five sets, but the Olympics is three, which makes that first set so crucial. Murray, who is 7/1 third-favourite in the tennis betting to win gold, will need to take his attitude from that first set against Federer into every match in his Olympic campaign.
Murray has played Stanislas Wawrinka on 10 occasions in his career and has won six of those. Their only meeting on grass was back in 2009, where Murray needed a five set marathon to win. Their last meeting was in 2011 in Shanghai where Murray won in three sets but their last meeting in a major tournament was won by the Swiss player, however this was back in 2010.
Wawrinka, who is the Swiss No.2 has had a poor last few months. He did however reach the fourth round of the French Open, but on clay he always succeeds. He lost in the opening round of Wimbledon to the unseeded Jurgen Melzer and just last week he lost in the opening round of an ATP tournament in Gstaad to Paul-Henri Mathieu. So it is fair to say that Wawrinka doesn’t exactly come into the tournament with a record to worry Murray in recent times or on grass.
Murray v Wawrinka Betting Tips
This opening match could be a blessing in disguise for Murray. It should be an opportunity to bed into the tournament and ready himself for the tougher challenges that lie ahead in a shortened competition. The bookies make it little short of a walkover with Murray at 1/9 to beat 11/2 shot Wawrinka.
Verdict: I agree. Expect Murray to win in straight sets (2-0) at 2/5 with Paddy Power.