Andy Murray declared himself “very disappointed” after his bid for an historic fourth Olympic medal was ended — and put a question mark over whether his romance with the Games will survive long enough for him to compete in the city of love in 2024.
It's an amazing experience as I’m sure Joe would say about his first time. I’ve always loved team sports. Andy Murray
Murray and Joe Salisbury were knocked out of the Tokyo men’s doubles, defeated 4-6 7-6(2) 10-7 by Croatians Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the quarter-finals.
And the British campaign for tennis glory in the Far East was brought to a final halt when Liam Broady was beaten 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1 by Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the last-16 of the singles.
Two-time champion Murray, who withdrew through injury before his campaign for a third individual gold, would be 37 when the next renewal takes place in Paris.
The British former Davis Cup winner and world No.1, who has had a stop-start comeback from hip trouble, said: “I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to play again, I’ve loved every minute of playing in the Olympics.
“It’s an amazing experience as I’m sure Joe would say about his first time. I’ve always loved team sports.”
Murray is also unsure as to whether he will compete in the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year.
He said: “I’ll see how the injury heals. That’s what will dictate it. I’m not going to rush something if it’s not there. My team think I should be okay to play the US Open judging by how I felt in matches here.
“It’s not as physical as singles but there’s a lot of explosive movements and my leg felt fine. I’ll have to wait and see.”
Unseeded Murray and Salisbury, who had stunned French second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert on route, led by a set and a break against Cilic and Dodig before the wheels came off.
The British duo managed a break of serve in the match’s opening game and held their own to take the opening set when Salisbury, 29, a Slam doubles champion, volleyed a winner off the Murray serve.
And victory looked odds-on for the British pair when they broke their opponents in the fifth game of the second. But their rivals broke back and went on to level before clinching victory in the match tie-break.
Murray, who had hoped to become the first male to seal four Games medals, having also gained a mixed doubles silver, said: “I wished today could have gone differently. I had another chance with Joe to win a medal.
“We were so close, and that’s what’s disappointing. I would like to have done some stuff differently in the match to try to help out more. Very disappointed.”
Broady, the lowest-ranked survivor at 143 and a late call-up, aimed to repeat his shock victory over Polish seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz, the Wimbledon semi-finalist, against Chardy.
The 27-year-old made the world No.68 work for his victory, before his French opponent broke his resistance with two service breaks in the decider and complete his win in 2hr.39sec in 30-plus Centigrade temperatures.
Murray said: “I know all of the tennis players that were on our team have really enjoyed it and loved the experience. I just wish we could have done better.”
* Quotes from BBC, Eurosport and Metro