Four weeks is a long time in sport, but when Andy Murray walks out onto centre court to face Roger Federer in today’s Olympic gold medal match, it will seem like only yesterday that he was doing something very similar.
His defeat to Federer in the only Wimbledon final to feature a British male in 74 years was a crushing and bruising experience, as noted by his tears in the post-match interviews, but one that endeared him to the British public and strengthened his resolve.
His flag-waving fans will once again pack SW19, and once again he will begin as second favourite to Federer, a man who has won every Grand Slam going and desires Olympic gold to add to his collection – his best Olympic finish is fourth in Sydney 2000.
The format reverts to five sets for the final, despite the tournament being best-of-three throughout, which will do Murray no favours. Despite their career head-to-head stats standing at 8-8, Federer has reigned each time the format has been best-of-five. The Swiss great is 8/13 to win again today.
However, the signs are there that Murray can finally taste some success against the players that have so far ensured that his career features a Grand Slam blank.
Murray was impressive in a straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic in the semi-final, while conversely Federer trudged to victory over Juan Martin Del Potro, needing 36 games in the deciding set to progress. Murray is a tempting 5/4 to finally get one over his 30-year-old rival.
But that’s not all. Once Murray has finished in the singles, he’ll have no time to rest as he begins another quest for gold, this time in the mixed doubles alongside an ever-improving Laura Robson.
Robson showed great maturity alongside her more experienced partner on Saturday to beat the fancied double of Sabine Lisicki and Christopher Kas, prevailing 10-7 in a champions tiebreak.
They face Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi in the gold medal final, with the Belarusian pair the favourites at 8/15.
Robson and Murray will have a rapturous home crowd backing them, though their chances will surely depend on how Murray gets through his singles final. Should he come through relatively unscathed, and Robson again show the composure on her serve she demonstrated in the semi-final, backing the British pair at 11/8 would be a tempting shout.
And for those who’ve witnessed Murray’s confident comeback from his Wimbledon agony a month ago, a fairytale double gold return can also be backed to potentially lucrative winnings – you can get 5/1 on the double.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.