You could sense the energy-sapping effects of midsummer Tokyo in the brief time Andy Murray stopped on Thursday to discuss the tough defence of the Olympic tennis title he retained in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
There’s a 91F heat to contend with, as well as the questions on his future which he did nothing to dispel when sharing the workings of his mind after the Centre Court rout by Denis Shapovalov, 21 days ago. He had never known a defeat like that in 70 matches at Wimbledon.
But an exchange he had with his five-year-old daughter, Sophia, after returning home from that brutal night on Centre Court, seems to have fortified him to pick up his rackets and head back out to the other side of the world.
Andy Murray faces a tough task to seal a remarkable third consecutive gold at the Olympics
‘When I got home, the day after my match, my daughter said to me: “Daddy, you’re home because you lost another tennis match?”’ Murray related. ‘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”.’
Yet there is also something about Murray and the Olympics which has put the 34-year-old on the cement surface of Ariake Park practice courts this week, while Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal stayed at home.
‘The Olympics has given me some of my best memories in my career,’ Murray said. ‘I guess within tennis circles, a Wimbledon title would be considered more important. But in that sort of wider sporting context — people that maybe don’t follow tennis;