Daniil Medvedev told the chair umpire "I can finish the match but I can die" as he struggled with the suffocating heat at Tokyo 2020.

A 6-2 3-6 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini on Wednesday was enough to see Medvedev through to the last eight at Ariake Tennis Park.

But the world number two struggled with 72 per cent humidity that meant an already hot 31 degrees Celsius felt like 37 degrees Celsius on the heat index.

An extreme heat rule meant Medvedev and Fognini were allowed to leave the court for 10 minutes at one stage of the contest.

Medvedev was in visible discomfort before serving, between points and at changeovers. 

He had two medical timeouts before being asked by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos whether he could continue.

"I can finish the match but I can die," the Russian replied to Ramos, per ESPN. "If I die, are you going to be responsible?"

After the match, Medvedev – who along with Novak Djokovic has been vocally calling for matches to start later in the day to counteract the heat – described his struggles.

He said: "Even from the first set, I didn't feel good enough with my breathing. That's why I called the physio. I felt like my diaphragm had blocked. 

"I couldn't breathe properly. I think it was the most humid day we have had so far.

"Then, on the second set, I just had darkness in my eyes, like between every point I didn't know what to do to feel better. 

"I was bending over, and I couldn't get my breathing together. I was ready to just fall down on the court.  

"I knew there was a 10-minute break. So I went under the cold, freezing shower.

"When you have such a change of temperature and go out on the hot court, you can fully cramp, and it finishes the match for you, either that or you feel better. I was lucky I felt better.

"I don't care too much [about closing the roof], to be honest because I don't know if they have AC [air-conditioning]. 

"It can be actually more humid and hot when they close it, but they should start the matches later. I said it in the first round, and I'll continue saying it.

"All the players I know said this is not normal to start at 11am [local time]. 

"[Djokovic] went to ITF and talked to them, and they gave him reasons - I heard maybe from tomorrow they're going to change it, but let's see."

Following the Medvedev match, organisers were quoted as saying they were "considering" making a change, starting from Thursday's action.

Paula Badosa also struggled on Wednesday and ultimately had to leave the court in a wheelchair after retiring with heatstroke from her quarter-final match against Marketa Vondrousova. 

The Spaniard also withdrew from her mixed doubles match later alongside Pablo Carreno Busta, ending their hopes.

Carreno Busta is still in the singles and will face Medvedev next.

Vondrousova, who had won the first set before her opponent withdrew, said: "It was a big struggle from the beginning because I warmed up in the morning and I felt it was really hot and humid.

"Also, I was a bit tired from Monday because I had doubles too. But I knew [Badosa] had [played singles and doubles] too. 

"I felt like we both were struggling from the beginning. I was just thinking, you have to stay there mentally, just fight for every point and just see what happens."

Andy Murray conceded he was hurting after going down to a narrow defeat in the men's doubles quarter-finals at Tokyo 2020 but insisted he did not regret prioritising the competition over the singles.

Team GB duo Murray and Joe Salisbury suffered a heart-breaking loss to Croatian pair Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig at Ariake Tennis Park on Wednesday.

They won the first set but Cilic and Dodig ultimately prevailed 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-7, with Murray rueing how close he and Salisbury had come to a semi-final berth that would have guaranteed him a shot at a medal.

Despite falling just short, the two-time Wimbledon winner insisted he did not regret pulling out of the singles tournament to focus on the doubles as he manages a quad injury.

Instead, the singles gold medallist in London and Rio was only looking back to scrutinise some of the decisive points that went against his team.

"No, I don't regret that decision," Murray said. "I think we put ourselves in a really good position to win and do well here. 

"This is the one, it hurts a lot, losing that one, because you get through it, and you get two matches for a medal. 

"We were just so close. I just wish I could have done some stuff differently at the end of the match, so I regret that, not the decision [not] to play singles."

Tokyo could be the last Olympics for Murray, who has had a torrid time with injuries and will be 37 when Paris 2024 comes around.

"Yeah it is just hard – I hate losing," he said when asked about the potential of it being his last Games.

"I don't know if I’ll get the opportunity to play again, I wanted to try and win a medal with Joe. 

"It is difficult to take, it is disappointing – you have regrets and think about points and things you should have done differently. 

"I have always loved team sports. I love being a part of the Olympics as I am sure Joe would say. 

"It is his first time, so I am sure he will be hungry to come back and do more, and do better next time. 

"I know all the tennis players on our team have really enjoyed it and loved the experience, I just wish we could have done better."

Murray added that his leg "felt fine" during the loss, but would monitor how his injury heals before deciding whether he will be able to play the US Open, which starts at the end of August.

Ash Barty has followed up her shock women's singles defeat by crashing out of the women's doubles after an epic clash with Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

World number one Barty was stunned in the first round of the women's singles on Sunday by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo but teamed up with Storm Sanders in the doubles, with the Australian pair reaching the quarter-finals.

However, Krejcikova and Siniakova proved too strong in a three-set thriller, winning 3-6 6-4 10-7.

"You never quite have their measure,” Barty said. "It's disappointing but there's only a couple of points in that match, here and there and it's a different result.

"We did everything right today but just weren't able to win those big points when it mattered most."

Barty's medal hopes are now entirely focused on the mixed doubles, where she has partnered with John Peers.

Andy Murray's bid to become the first male to win four Olympic tennis medals ended with defeat to Croatia's Marin Cilic and Ivan Dogic in the men's doubles.

Murray, teaming up with Joe Salisbury, went down in two hours and 18 minutes after also winning the first set. The Croatian pair won 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-7.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist had withdrawn from the men's singles on Sunday due to a right quad injury, preferring to focus on playing doubles. TeamGB have not fielded a mixed doubles team.

 

TITMUS DOUBLES UP, LEDECKY LIFTS FOR GOLD

Ariarne Titmus backed up her women's 400m freestyle gold medal from Monday with another triumph, getting the better of rival Katie Ledecky to win the 200m free.

The 20-year-old Australian won the final ahead of Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey and Canada's Penny Oleksiak, while Ledecky finished back in fifth.

Ledecky would claim her sixth Olympic gold medal, triumphing in the women's 1500m free, with the US claiming a rare one-two as Erica Sullivan grabbed the silver ahead of Germany's Sarah Kohler.

After being beaten twice by Titmus earlier in the meet, Ledecky said: "I approach each race with a belief in myself. It's the attitude I've always had that's why I've been so successful. Anything can happen, [the attitude I go in with is] I can beat the world record in this race. 

Japan's Yui Ohashi won the women's 200m individual medley, Hungarian favourite Kristof Milak powered to victory in the men's 200m butterfly and Great Britain triumphed in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay.

 

STEERING ERROR COSTS GB IN ROWING

Australia claimed two gold medals in the rowing at Sea Forest Waterway as Great Britain were left to lament a wayward finish in the men's four final.

Australian quartet Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill won in 5:42:76 ahead of Romania and Italy who claimed silver and bronze respectively.

Italy's late charge almost saw a collision with Great Britain, who finished in fourth, after veering towards the neighbouring Italian boat, narrowly avoiding a clash of oars.

GB's Oliver Cook, who steered the men's coxless four, told BBC Sport: "I do (have the steering). I need to diagnose it but I feel I screwed up a bit and as I was closing in at the end and taking big strokes at the end going for the line I forgot the steering and that’s what cost us to be honest, cost us a medal."

Australia also won the women's four narrowly ahead of the Netherlands by 0:34 seconds, with Ireland claiming the bronze more than five seconds back.

Romania secured its first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics by winning the women's double sculls final, while France triumphed in the men's equivalent.

The Netherlands and China triumphed in the men's and women's quadruple sculls finals respectively.

 

RADRADRA DREAMING OF FIJI SEVENS GOLD

New Zealand will take on 2016 gold medalists Fiji in the final of the men's rugby sevens on Wednesday evening.

Fiji went through to the gold medal match with a 26-14 triumph over Argentina, who will take on Great Britain for bronze.

New Zealand were too strong for the British, winning 29-7 in their semi-final, with two tries each to captain Scott Curry and Regan Ware.

Former NRL star Semi Radradra, who plays for Fiji after switching codes in 2017 and scored a try against Argentina, said: "Playing in the Olympics is a blessing for me. I never knew I would be here.

"I think it is everyone's highlight to win a gold medal in the Olympics. That is our aim and we try to give back to our people at home."

USA RESTORES CONFIDENCE IN BASKETBALL

Team USA restored some confidence following their first-up loss to France with a comprehensive 120-66 thrashing of Iran in men's basketball.

USA played fast throughout, wasting no time in offense, with Damian Lillard top scoring with 21 points, all from beyond the arc.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine had eight assists along with his 13 points while Devin Booker, who played in the NBA Finals last week, scored 16 points and had five rebounds and three steals.

USA head coach Gregg Popovich rotated his roster on and off the court, sharing minutes, as hos team piled on 38 points in the last quarter to round out a comprehensive victory.

In Group B, Germany defeated Nigeria 99-92 despite Jordan Nowra's 33-point haul.

Andy Murray said the quad injury that ruled him out of defending his men's singles title at Tokyo 2020 has not been troubling him in matches, but his withdrawal was due to concerns over results showing up in scans.

The Olympic champion in 2012 and 2016 opted to pull out of the singles prior to his scheduled first-round showdown against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday. 

Instead, Murray decided to continue in the doubles alongside Joe Salisbury, where the pair made the quarter-finals on Tuesday by beating German duo Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

It means Murray remains on track for a third straight Olympic gold and he offered a bit of insight behind his decision not to play in the singles.

"I've had a bit of an issue with my quad," he said.

"It's actually not really been causing me many issues on the court like in practice or anything, there was just some stuff showing on the scans that made all the medical team a bit wary about it.

 

"I said to Joe that if he picked me to play doubles with him then I'd prioritise the doubles over the singles if I had any physical issues and that was the case. 

"It's disappointing for me because I do feel like I've been playing well, and I've loved the Olympics and I would've liked the opportunity to defend my title. 

"But that wasn't to be and now all the focus and energy goes towards the doubles and to try our best to get a medal there."

Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig await Murray and Salisbury in the last eight.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is taking inspiration from the grandfather he has never met after battling through to round two of the men's singles at Tokyo 2020.

Alexander Zverev had an altogether more comfortable progression at Ariake Tennis Park, while home favourite Kei Nishikori earned an impressive upset win.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was unable to make the most of two-time defending champion Andy Murray's withdrawal, but it was a good day for Hubert Hurkacz. 

Here's the pick of the action from day two of the men's singles.

 

TSITSIPAS OUT TO EMULATE GRANDFATHER

Greek ace Tsitsipas, a French Open finalist this year, had to dig deep for a three-set win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Should he manage to win gold in the Japanese capital he would be matching the feat of his grandfather, who won the football competition representing the Soviet Union in 1956.

"I've never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it," he said. "He kind of inspires me in a way. I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I'm proud of him. 

"It's something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I'm happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics."

ZVEREV LOVING OLYMPICS EXPERIENCE

Fourth seed Zverev coasted past Lu Yen-hsun 6-1 6-3 and spoke of how much he is enjoying being around other German athletes.

"Normally you don't have those guys around that much, you have your friends, of course you have people that are around you, but you don't sleep in the same room as them," he said.

"Yes it is very different but in a way very enjoyable. The Olympics are once every four years, and it’s five years now, so I think everybody is enjoying it and everyone is having the best time that they can."

Nishikori is playing at a fourth Olympics and upset fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4. For the 31-year-old the motivation is simple.

"It's [playing in Japan] something I always dreamed of when I was little," he said. 

"Especially now, with the Covid situation, if I can win as many as I can, I think it will bring better news, that's something I'm trying to do this week."

AUGER-ALIASSIME FAILS TO MAKE MOST OF MURRAY ABSENCE

Auger-Aliassime was scheduled to face Murray before the Team GB star pulled out with a quad issue and will instead focus on doubles.

The Canadian was felled by Murray's replacement Max Purcell, though, the Australian winning 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Fellow seed Gael Monfils also crashed out but Hurkacz was a 6-2 6-4 victor over Luke Saville, while Diego Schwartzman also made it through.

Andy Murray's chances of winning a third straight Olympics title in the men's singles have been dashed by a quad strain.

The Team GB star was champion at London 2012 and Rio 2016, becoming the first player to ever defend a singles title in tennis.

Murray was due to start his campaign against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday but after consulting with medical staff he was told not to compete in both the singles and doubles.

The three-time grand slam winner started his doubles campaign alongside Joe Salisbury with an upset win over second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Saturday.

Murray will continue his quest for a third Olympics gold alongside Salisbury.

"I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events," Murray said via a Team GB news release.

"So, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe."

Murray was considered an outsider for singles success in Tokyo having been blighted by injuries in recent years.

His absence is a blow to a men's singles event already missing the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, though.

World number one Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to win gold. The Serbian has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2021 and is chasing Olympic gold and the US open to become just the second player after Steffi Graf to complete the coveted 'Golden Slam'.

Richard Carapaz and the rest of Ecuador are "over the moon" after his victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday.

Carapaz – who finished third in the general classification of the Tour de France earlier this month – crossed the finish line on the Fuji speedway well over a minute ahead of his nearest rivals to clinch Ecuador's second Olympic gold medal.

Meanwhile in the tennis, Andy Murray, who clinched gold in the singles at the 2012 and 2016 Games, started strongly with his doubles partner Joe Salisbury, as Team GB overcame French favourites Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

There was a shock for 2008 gold medallist Phil Dalhausser, as he and fellow American Nick Lucena fell foul of Dutch duo Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer, while Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold of the Games.

 

CARAPAZ CLAIMS RARE ECUADOR TRIUMPH

Carapaz came close in Le Tour, but ultimately could not match the power of Tadej Pogacar, who defended his title in cycling's prime road race.

Yet on the slopes of Mount Fuji, the South American came up with the goods to deliver a long-awaited success for Ecuador.

"My country is over the moon right now. It's the second Olympic medal in the history of my country," he told a news conference after his success, with Tour champion Pogacar claiming bronze behind Belgium's Wout Van Aert.

"The last medal that we won was 25 years ago, so it's a very special moment. It's the first medal in cycling, and cycling is a big sport in my country."

Carapaz's triumph came as good news for Geraint Thomas, who crashed out of the race after colliding with his British team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart.

"Couldn't be happier for Richard Carapaz," tweeted Thomas – the Ecuadorian's fellow INEOS Grenadiers rider. "To finish on the podium at the Tour and win gold a week later is just incredible. Enjoy it mate. King of Ecuador."

MURRAY STARTS STRONG

It has been a long comeback trail for Murray, who was at the top of his game when he won his second Olympic gold medal back in 2016.

He faces a stern test in the singles on Sunday, when he goes up against Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, and while a defence of that win may be unlikely, he and Salisbury made good progress in the doubles.

Murray was a silver medallist in the mixed doubles at the London Games, and along with Salisbury had too much for second seeds Mahut and Herbert, with the pair needing just 75 minutes to win 6-3 6-2.

"I think we have the potential to be a really good team," said Murray. "We were well deserved winners today – we created lots of chances, but not every doubles match is like that.

"If we keep the same sort of attitude and everything, prepare diligently, I think we've got a chance of doing well."

Murray's younger brother Jamie also enjoyed a fine start, as he and Neal Skupski came from behind to beat Argentina's Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos in a final-set tie-break.

TAKATO GETS JAPAN UP AND RUNNING

Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, as he triumphed in the men's under-60kg judo final against Yang Yung-wei of Taiwan.

Takato, a three-time world champion and a bronze medallist in Rio, claimed a fitting victory for Japan in a sport that originated in the country, with the event taking place at the famous Nippon Budokan venue.

He had to beat Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in a gruelling semi-final. Smetov shared the bronze medal with France’s Luka Mkheidze.

A shock earlier in the day saw Robert Mshvidobadze drop out in the last 16.

DALHAUSSER'S STRUGGLES CONTINUE, NO JOY FOR SETO

It has been a difficult start to the Games for Beijing beach volleyball champion Dalhausser, who had to quarantine after he was deemed a contact of Taylor Crabb. He was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test, which has dented the United States' hopes.

Dalhausser could only train with Lucena on two occasions prior to Saturday's meeting with Meeuwsen and Brouwer and the lack of sharpness told as the Dutch prevailed 21-17 21-18 at the Shiokaze Park arena.

There was also no joy for home favourite Daiya Seto. The Japanese swimmer, who won a bronze medal in 2016, had been tipped to shine in the men's 400m individual medley, yet failed to qualify for the final as he finished ninth in the heat.

"In Rio I went out too fast [in the prelim] and didn't recover for the final. In the last 100 [today] I didn't let it all out. It was a misjudgement. The pressure wasn't too much," Seto said afterwards.

"I have the 200m butterfly and 200IM. I'll just forget what happened and focus on my events."

Daniil Medvedev says it is a "joke" that players do not have longer at changeovers but will not "cry about the heat" after coming through his Tokyo 2020 opener, while Novak Djokovic started at a canter as he looks to add the next step of a Golden Slam.

Representing the Russian Olympic Committee, Medvedev appeared fatigued at times in his 6-4 7-6 (10-8) triumph over Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik at the Ariake Tennis Park.

The conditions in the Japanese capital were sweltering on Saturday but Novak Djokovic was able to keep his cool in coasting to a 6-2 6-2 win against Hugo Dellien.

MEDVEDEV CALLS FOR MORE TIME

Medvedev, who saved three of four break points and now has a 3-0 head-to-head record over Bublik, was pretty pointed about what he feels should be done about the heat.

"Like they do in Mexico, the matches maybe should start at six (pm) because the heat actually gets much, much lighter. We all try to practise at six," said Olympics debutant Medvedev, who next plays Sumit Nagal.

"The fact that we have only one minute between changeovers is a joke. If you ask, let's say 200 tennis players that are here, I think 195 will tell you that one minute is a joke. It should be 1:30.

"But you have to play, that's the Olympics, you go for the medal. You're not here to cry about the heat. It was really tough for both of us. We talked about this after the match on the court. It was unbelievably hot. But you need to get through it."

Fellow Russian athlete Aslan Karatsev (11) defeated Tommy Paul 6-3 6-2 to set up a meeting with Jeremy Chardy, while Lorenzo Sonego (13), Ugo Humbert (14), Fabio Fognini (15) and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (16) all progressed.

 

DJOKOVIC UP AND RUNNING

Since winning bronze in Beijing 13 years ago, Djokovic has not had the best of luck at the Olympics – losing in 2012 and 2016 to Juan Martin del Potro on both occasions.

But with a host of big hitters from the ATP absent – including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite in Tokyo.

Only Steffi Graf in 1988 from either the WTA or ATP Tour has ever completed a sweep of all four slams and an Olympic gold in a calendar year, and Djokovic needs Olympic gold and victory at the US Open to match the feat.

He needed just 61 minutes here to beat Dellien of Bolivia.

MURRAY SCORES UPSET DOUBLES WIN

Andy Murray is the two-time defending men's singles champion in Tokyo, but struggles with injuries mean it would take a herculean effort to make it three in a row.

But he is also representing Great Britain in the doubles and together with Joe Salisbury upset French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-3 6-2 in their first time competing with one another.

Murray is not looking too far ahead, though, saying: "You take one match at a time, you know, so a lot of the players here are really motivated to play for their country. 

"This is such a rare opportunity for all of us and I think we all want to do well. So, yeah, just take it one match at a time."

Nina Christen of Switzerland finished 16th in the 10-metre air rifle at the Rio Olympics, but she became a footnote to history five years later as the first athlete to secure a medal at Tokyo 2020.

The 27-year-old locked up the bronze medal several minutes before China's Yang Qian beat Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee to take gold in the first medal event of the Games.

As soon as she was eliminated from contention for the final two, Christen flashed a smile and waved, knowing she had at least won a spot on the podium this time – no small feat on this stage.

After the first medal ceremony of the Tokyo Games, she spoke about the pressure as the competition entered the final rounds.

"You just try to not reach your head out for the medal before you have the medal," Christen said. "That is the worst thing you could do. Having in your mind, 'Oh I could win a medal, or I could be eighth which would be a failure'.

"So you just try not to think about both of them, you just try and think about what your job is like breathing, holding, aiming, balance, triggering, and then follow through.

"It helps to not think about what is behind you and obviously there are a lot of cameras and a lot of people. And it would be even more if COVID would not have hit. So yeah that is the thing you have to do, otherwise you would just crack."

 

Sixth seed Swiatek rolls in tennis opener

Two seeded players enjoyed easy victories in the women's singles draw as play began at the Ariake Tennis Park.

Sixth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, the 2020 French Open champion, cruised past Germany's Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2 to open her first Olympics.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 11th seed representing the Russian Olympic Committee, had an even easier time in a 6-0 6-1 rout of Italy's Sara Errani.

Pavlyuchenkova will face Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam, who upset Great Britain's Heather Watson 7-6 6-3 in another early match.

In doubles, there was an eye-catching result for Britain's Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury, who took out French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, scoring a 6-3 6-2 victory.

 

Men's gymnastics gets under way

Nikita Nagornyy turned in the strongest showing in the opening group as men's gymnastics got under way.

Nagornyy, who won the all-around at the 2019 World Championships and was part of Russia's silver medal-winning team at Rio 2016, posted an 87.897 to lead subdivision one, which included gymnasts from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), China, Ukraine and Spain along with individuals from other nations.

But his showing was not enough to put the Russians on top, as China earned the top score in the group with a 262.061 to the ROC's 261.945. The top eight ranked teams qualify for the team final, with two subdivisions still to compete Saturday.

"I don't think our team was really good today, but we made our best effort," Nagronyy said. "We have a lot to do."

 

Brazilians start strongly on the beach

Brazil's two returning beach volleyball medallists are off to a strong start five years later.

Alison Cerutti won gold in Rio and is teamed with new partner Alvaro Morais Filho for Tokyo. They won their opening match 2-0 against Argentina's Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Amado Azaad.

On the women's side, Rio silver medallist Agatha Bednarczuk, also with a new partner in Eduarda Santos Lisboa, won by the same score against Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra of Argentina.

While she was happy to advance, Agatha found the difference between Rio's raucous crowds and Tokyo's COVID-driven quiet jarring.

"It's so different. In Brazil we have the biggest support there. Many, many people cheering for us, and here, it's silence," she said.

"Here we need to put our emotion (aside) because we don't receive the emotion from the people. For me, this is very important because I like to play with emotions."

Defending double Olympic champion Andy Murray revealed how his daughter provided him with inspiration after his early exit at Wimbledon.

A heavy third-round defeat by Denis Shapovalov had left the Scot questioning whether his hard work in training was worth it after years of injury woe as he tried to regain his spot at tennis' top table.

The two-time Wimbledon winner, who has four young children, now feels prepared and revitalised to compete in his fourth Games off the back of his young daughter's accidental wisdom.

Murray told reporters: "When I got home, the day after my match, my daughter said to me: 'Daddy, you're home because you lost another tennis match?'

"I said: 'Yeah, I did. But what do you do when you lose at something?' And she said: 'You try and try again?' I was like: 'Yeah, that's what I want to do.'

"I want to keep playing because I enjoy it and I still think I can play at a good level. 

"There have been difficult moments obviously in the last few months and the last year with the injuries and stuff, but right now this is the healthiest I've been for the longest period in the last year."

Murray will be part of a six-man squad in Japan, including doubles partner and two-time grand slam doubles winner Joe Salisbury, as he looks to defend his Rio 2016 and London 2012 golds.

As the only player to win back-to-back singles titles in Olympic history, Murray still intends to compete at the top-level of tennis for as long as he is able to do so.

"It can be hard and after tough losses like that at Wimbledon - you question a lot of things," the Team GB athlete added to BBC Sport.

"I do still feel like I am capable of playing high-level tennis and when that isn't the case I will stop playing. But right now I don't believe that is the case."

Yet the Games in Japan provides a completely different challenge in 2021 as all athletes remain acutely aware of the coronavirus concerns that surround sport all over the world.

The 34-year-old's Team GB team-mate Johanna Konta is one of many players to miss out due to circumstances linked to the virus.

Murray, who was drawn against ninth seed and Wimbledon quarter-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday, is familiar with the devastating impact a positive result can have after having to miss a major due to COVID-19.

"It happened to me before the Australian Open and I was gutted," he said.

"Thankfully I was able to compete in another grand slam a few months later, but if you've been preparing for something for five years and something like that to happens to you, it would be brutal.

"So there is an anxiousness, but from what I've seen everyone is taking the protocols seriously, so hopefully there won't be too many issues."

Murray will be hoping for few issues on the court too, though he and Salisbury have been drawn in a difficult tie against second-seeded pair Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

Andy Murray feels claiming an Olympic medal at Tokyo 2020 would be the greatest achievement of his illustrious tennis career.

Set to take part in his fourth Games as he looks to defend the singles title he won at London 2012 and successfully retained at Rio 2016, Murray knows this tournament is likely to be his last at the Olympics.

A creditable and entertaining run to the third round of Wimbledon came amid questions over his long-term future in the game after several years of injury woe.

After losing to Denis Shapovalov at the All England Club, Murray has been drawn to play against another Canadian, Felix Auger-Aliassime, in Tokyo.

He will also play in the men’s doubles alongside Joe Salisbury, with a tough draw in that competition too against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

Despite having three grand slam wins, two Olympic titles and a doubles silver medal to his name, Murray believes a podium place in Japan – which he feels is possible – would be a crowning achievement after all he has been through. 

"That is the goal, to try and win another medal," Murray told reporters. "I'm aware that it is not going to be easy. 

"I'm also in a slightly different position to what I was four, five years ago when I would’ve been expected to get one. 

"Maybe that is not the case this time around, but for me, it would probably be my best achievement if I could do that after everything that’s gone on the last few years. 

"I'm motivated for that reason alone and I still believe that I can do that. I still believe that it is possible."

Now 34, it is by no means certain Murray will still be playing and competitive on the ATP Tour by the time the 2024 Olympics take place in Paris.

"I know that this could be the last [Olympics] for me," added the Briton.

"So I want to go out there and leave everything out on the court, fight for every single point because ultimately that’s all you can do."

Having beaten Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro in his two Olympic finals, Murray – who revealed he has practiced well and regularly since Wimbledon - hopes his experience of going all the way at the Games will work in his favour.

He added to BBC Sport: "I've prepared as best as I can. I have tough draws in singles and doubles but I think I have a chance.

"If I can get through a round or two I'll start to feel more comfortable. I also have the experience of playing in the Olympics, which I can use to my advantage."

Ash Barty and home favourite Naomi Osaka start their respective quests for Olympic gold against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Zheng Saisai, while Novak Djokovic opens against Hugo Dellien.

In a stacked women's draw, world number one and Wimbledon champion Barty has a tough opening assignment and could face French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 13th seed, as early as round three.

Spectators may not be in attendance at Tokyo venues for the Olympics but Japanese fans will be rooting for Osaka, who returns to action after a two-month hiatus with the four-time grand slam winner having spoken openly about mental health and anxiety issues.

Viktorija Golubic or Maria Camila Osorio Serrano would await Osaka if she can get through round one, but a dream final with Barty is no shoo-in given 15 of the world's top 20 on the WTA Tour are in action including each of the nine leading the race for the 2021 WTA Finals.

Aryna Sabalenka (3), Elina Svitolina (4), Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova (5), Iga Swiatek (6) and Garbine Muguruza are all featuring in Tokyo.

 

The men's side has been hit by a spate of withdrawals, with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem among those not playing in the Japanese capital.

The main talking point surrounds whether the all-conquering Djokovic can continue his march towards a calendar Golden Slam – a sweep of all four majors and an Olympic gold in the same year.

Any notion of a free ride for the Serbian is wide of the mark, though. His side of the draw could see him come up against Andrey Rublev (5), Alexander Zverev (4) and Hubert Hurkacz (7), while Stefano Tsitsipas (3) – beaten by Djokovic in the French Open final – and Daniil Medvedev (2) are among the potential final opponents.

Andy Murray, gold medal winner in 2012 and 2016, faces Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime in a tricky first-round match.

Novak Djokovic has leapt from one bubble into another as he attempts to become the first man in tennis history to win all four grand slams and Olympic gold in the same year.

The only men to have won each of the singles majors across their careers, plus Olympic gold, are Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal, and now Djokovic aims to move to the brink of winning all five in his remarkable 2021 season.

Fresh from dominating at Wimbledon, and with the Australian and French Open titles already in the bag, Djokovic heads into the Tokyo Games as a red-hot favourite, seeking to set himself up to complete a historic campaign at the US Open.

Naomi Osaka will enter the Games with almost as much expectation behind her too, the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion eyeing glory for hosts Japan.

But tennis has thrown up a host of shock results in its short Olympic history. Here, Stats Perform looks at the sport's place in the Games.

 

WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT, AND WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have all opted out of the Olympics.

Williams made her mind up prior to suffering a leg injury at Wimbledon, although she is already a member of the career Golden Slam club.

Federer reached his decision after revealing he also suffered a physical setback at the All England Club, and Nadal elected to take a two-month break after relinquishing his French Open title.

Don't expect to see them again at the Olympics, given Williams and Federer will be pushing 43 by Paris 2024, and Nadal will be 38. Federer won a doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka in 2008, but his singles peak was the silver medal he earned in 2012, Andy Murray crushing Swiss hopes in the final at Wimbledon.

Dominic Thiem, Bianca Andreescu, Nick Kyrgios, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka and Denis Shapovalov are among other confirmed absentees, with fitness issues a factor for some, less so for others.

The COVID-19 crisis is a mitigating factor in why so many stars are staying away, and directly responsible in the case of some players, such as Britain's Johanna Konta and Dan Evans, who both tested positive recently.

But tennis was only fully restored to the Olympic programme in 1988, after being dropped post 1924, and if players are seen to be favouring the grand slams over the Games, that is not such a great look for the sport.

At a time when the International Olympic Committee has shown it is willing to shake up the sports on its programme, tennis could perhaps do with a headline-making Tokyo 2020.

Murray, the two-time defending men's champion, will target an improbable hat-trick. A hat-trick for the injury-hit former world number one would be a sensation, and Osaka landing gold in the women's tournament would surely be one of the great moments of the Games.

 

DJOKOVIC FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GRAF

When Steffi Graf beat Gabriela Sabatini in the women's singles final at Seoul, it completed what we know now as the calendar 'Golden Slam'. She had already won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, and the feat of the then 19-year-old West German has yet to be repeated.

Now Djokovic is three-fifths of the way to a similar clean sweep of the majors and the Olympics, with the US Open getting under way on August 30 in New York.

He teetered on not going to Tokyo, and perhaps he is to some extent endangering his chances at Flushing Meadows by spending more time travelling and enduring bubble life, while others rest up.

But Djokovic is a fiercely proud Serbian and could not resist a great chance of winning gold for his country. He landed bronze at the 2008 Games in Beijing but in 2012 he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the bronze-medal match, and a cruel draw at Rio four years later saw him assigned Del Potro in the first round.

Top seed Djokovic bowed out in two tie-breaks to the powerful Argentinian, describing the outcome as "one of the toughest losses in my career".

There is no danger of a hat-trick of defeats to Del Potro, which may help Djokovic. Del Potro has been battling for two years to get back to fitness, undergoing four rounds of right knee surgery in a bid to get back on tour.

 

RAISING THE BAR AT THE OLYMPICS

How the Olympic village functions in Tokyo will be distinctly different to at previous Games, given the pandemic restrictions in place that could be a real buzzkill.

But in the past there have been countless cases of athletes becoming inspired by their surroundings and going on to perform above their usual level.

It can be a party village, and it can also be an eyebrow-raising experience as global superstars rub shoulders with competitors who might struggle for recognition in their home towns. More than anything, the shared team experience, fighting for a collective cause, can make a middling athlete believe they can be great.

Monica Puig was a massive tennis outsider in 2016 but the then world number 34 won the women's singles, stunning Angelique Kerber in the final after beating Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza en route. That gave Puerto Rico their first ever Olympic gold medal.

In 1992, a tournament that featured the likes of Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker finished with a staggering final match-up of Marc Rosset versus Jordi Arrese, who in his home city of Barcelona was edged out 8-6 in the fifth set by the Swiss world number 43. Nobody would have predicted that head to head for gold.

Similarly, at Athens 2004, Nicolas Massu beat Mardy Fish in the gold medal match of a tournament that featured Federer, Andy Roddick, Carlos Moya and Tim Henman.

In the 1996 Atlanta Games, Lindsay Davenport, who had just turned 20, took inspiration from being the daughter of an Olympian, with dad Wink having played volleyball for the United States at Mexico City in 1968.

Davenport was beginning to make an impact on the WTA Tour but was only the ninth seed at the Olympics, yet she swept through the rounds before sinking Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 7-6 (10-8) 6-2 in the final.

"It's like one of those things I look back on and I'm like, 'Was that me?'," Davenport told The Tennis Podcast last year.

"It doesn't seem like it was real. I'd made the transition to the pro tour pretty well, but I liked hanging out between eight and 16 in the rankings. I was very insecure, unsure of what could I do. I liked doing well but I wasn't sure I wanted to do too well because it seemed really overwhelming to be one of those top players.

"Here I go at 20 years old to Atlanta for two or three weeks, in a setting that seemed so comfortable. Look at all these athletes, you have all different shapes and sizes, you have players that are really working hard but have so much in common and you get to hang out with them, breakfast, lunch, dinner in the village."

Davenport was a future world number one and three-time grand slam singles champion, but at this point in her career being an American at an Olympics in the United States was just a thrill.

"You're sharing this with your team-mates who are some of my best friends in Mary Joe Fernandez, Monica Seles. It was the best time ever," she said.

"By the time the tournament actually started we were like, 'Yeah, I'll go play my match and then we'll go back to the village and we'll hang out', and everything went so fast in those few weeks.

"And there I was left standing, winning at the end because I was so incredibly happy and excited with everything that was going on. I kind of forgot what was my job.

"When it became a reality of even just making the team in '96, it was so huge also for my family with having a second generation Olympian."

Double Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray feels Tokyo 2020 can provide a "beacon of hope" after the disruption that continues to be caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Murray is set to take part in his fourth Games as he looks to defend the singles title he won at London 2012 and then successfully retained four years later in Rio. 

Delayed by a year due to the global pandemic and due to be played out in front of no spectators in Japan, Murray is excited to compete as he bids to build momentum following his injury problems.  

"Going to a second Olympics as defending champion is exciting and I am looking forward to the challenge. The Games are the biggest competition in the world and as athletes we train hard for moments like this," the Team GB tennis star wrote on the official Olympics website. 

"Tokyo 2020 in 2021 is unique, falling during the pandemic and we have seen incredible resilience from athletes, fans and all those involved in making this happen. 

"In so many ways, right now it's more important than ever that people around the world get to reconnect to the raw emotion of sport, watch incredible performances and celebrate the achievement of athletes coming from around the world.

"It's going to be amazing to be playing in Tokyo and my own experiences are why I think the Games have never been more relevant. For those that are still experiencing the worst of the pandemic and others that have lost so much over the last year, this Games can be a beacon of hope."

Murray is part of six-strong tennis squad, which includes men's doubles partner Joe Salisbury – an Olympic debutant and recent French Open mixed doubles winner – and Neal Skupski, that will compete for Team GB.

Current British number one Dan Evans is the other men's player in the squad, while Heather Watson and Johanna Konta appear at their third and second respective Games to make up the team.

While Murray will chase doubles glory with Salisbury, the 34-year-old is not taking his eyes off individual success either.

"On a personal level, the Tokyo Games are significant. My goal is to try and win a medal. Ideally a gold one for my country," the two-time Wimbledon champion added.

"I know first-hand the impact that playing sport for a career has on your body. I know how difficult and frustrating that journey can be. I know the heartbreak of missing a major tournament and the journey of recovery."

The sporting calendar provides many memorable days throughout the year but rarely do elite events overlap as often as at the Olympics.

At this year's delayed Tokyo Games, there is the prospect of seeing several of the world's top athletes all competing for gold at the same time.

August 1 looks a good bet for the standout day in 2021.

The final round of the men's golf event could see Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm in the mix, with Andy Murray hopeful he will meanwhile be defending consecutive singles gold medals in the tennis.

This comes on the same day that Simone Biles could potentially become the most decorated Olympic gymnast of all time.

As if that were not enough, the men's 100m final is another must-watch event.

Expectations will be high heading into that second Sunday of the Games, with examples from the past three competitions living up to their billing...

AUGUST 16, BEIJING 2008

Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt would be firmly in contention to appear on the Games' own Mount Rushmore and each enjoyed one of the finest moments of their respective careers on the same day.

Phelps had spent the opening week of the Beijing Olympics pursuing Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven golds and had six as he entered the pool again for the 100m butterfly final, almost 12 hours before Bolt's big moment.

Seventh at the turn, the United States superstar needed a remarkable recovery to triumph over a devastated Milorad Cavic by 0.01 seconds.

Phelps would pass Spitz with his eighth gold of the Games the following day, by which point he was sharing the headlines with Jamaica's own ultimate athlete.

Bolt's blistering 9.69-second final triumph in the 100m stood as a world record until the same man beat it exactly a year later. The new benchmark remains unmatched.

And that Saturday in China also saw the small matter of Roger Federer's only gold medal, claimed alongside Stan Wawrinka in the doubles final after falling to James Blake as the top seed in the singles.

AUGUST 4-5, LONDON 2012

It is actually tough to choose just one day from the 2012 Olympics, where this weekend delivered from start to finish.

On the Saturday evening, at the Aquatics Centre, swimming prepared to say goodbye to its greatest name. Phelps and the United States won the 4x100m medley, clinching his 18th gold medal in what appeared set to be his final race.

Indeed, Phelps confirmed his retirement following the Games, only to return in predictably dominant fashion in 2016.

Across the city that same night, Team GB athletes were capping a stunning run of medals that would see the day dubbed "Super Saturday". There were six home golds in all, including big wins for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah in quick succession.

The drama only continued the next day, too, as Murray finally sealed a Wimbledon win over Roger Federer in the tennis event, while Bolt lit up London Stadium in the 100m.

AUGUST 14, RIO 2016

Although there will be no Bolt brilliance in Tokyo, Brazil was treated to another show as he became the first three-time winner of the 100m – later doing likewise in the 200m.

The first triumph was almost overshadowed on the track, however, coming shortly after Wayde van Niekerk had broken Michael Johnson's 17-year 400m world record by 0.15 seconds.

Again, the excitement was not reserved for athletics, with Murray in action that evening to claim another gold after coming through a four-hour epic against Juan Martin del Potro.

Murray is the only player – men's or women's – to win consecutive singles golds, while Rafael Nadal's presence added a little more stardust even though he lost the bronze final to Kei Nishikori.

A stunning Sunday also saw Biles add to the reputation she takes with her to Tokyo, a third gold on the vault making her the most decorated American gymnast.

And there was history, too, for Justin Rose, as he edged past Henrik Stenson at the 18th hole of the fourth round to become the first Olympic golf champion in 112 years.

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