Rio Olympics: Andy Murray opens his bid for back-to-back gold in style
Having seen gold medal holder Serena Williams make light work of her first-round opponent before him on Centre Court, Andy Murray, a fellow London 2012 champion, followed suit by beating Serbia's Viktor Troicki in straight sets yesterday.
Under darkening, moody clouds that must have made Murray feel more like he was in Glasgow than Rio, the Wimbledon king won 6-3 6-2 in 83 minutes to book a second-round spot.
It was a business-like performance in blustery conditions from Murray, who carried the British flag in the opening ceremony, on a slow court far removed from the slick grass of Wimbledon where Murray won his second SW19 crown just under a month ago.
Murray was pleased to tuck the first win under his belt. "It was my first match on hard courts for a while and in tricky conditions so yeah, I did pretty well," he said. "It was a good start. There's a bit of pressure to defend my Olympic title but I'm pleased with the start."
And how he would dearly love to add another gold to his second Wimbledon crown. The Olympics have meaning for Murray. His victory over Roger Federer at London 2012 opened the door to the success he has enjoyed in his career. Later that summer he went on to win his first Slam, the US Open, beating Novak Djokovic in the final.
For now he is enjoying the vibe in Rio. "It's a really nice atmosphere in the Village, just being around the other British athletes, just chatting, supporting, watching," he said.
"(Carrying the flag) was amazing. Walking out into the stadium was an incredible feeling. Now, I'm just trying to defend to my gold."
And it might take a gold to truly win the Brazilian crowd over, too. The spectators had seen local boy Thomaz Bellucci beat Dustin Brown in an entertaining match and then watched superstar Serena beat Aussie Daria Gavrilova. Murray maybe isn't big in Rio just yet but a gold here would change all that.
He started the ball rolling yesterday when he broke in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and went on to take the set. In the second, Murray created another break at 1-1 with a wonderful running cross court winner and didn't look back. Troicki was utterly outclassed.
Murray will only focus on the next round but with Federer not competing, the Scot must know gold is probably between him, Rafa Nadal and Djokovic. The health of the latter two is unknown. Murray looks fine.