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Murray and Williams carry Olympic torch at Wimbledon

Andy Murray and Venus Williams with the Olympic torch
by Alexandra Willis
Tuesday 24 July 2012

Andy Murray and Venus Williams were united in blistering sunshine as they donned the Olympic Torch relay tracksuits and processed the Olympic flame through the grounds of the All England Club. 

The torch, which was lit from the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, as is tradition, has been on an 8,000-mile journey around the UK and Ireland since arriving in the UK on 18th May, and has been carried by torchbearers from all sorts of backgrounds. 

Murray and Williams became the third and fourth tennis players to carry the Torch, following Elena Baltacha, who carried it in Kent last week, while double quad wheelchair gold medallist Peter Norfolk carried it in Liverpool last month. 

"A few of the people who went before me were a bit teary and I thought "I'll be fine" but as soon as my torch was lit I was crying my eyes out!" Baltacha said about the experience "It was a wonderful feeling and it's fantastic that so many people turned out to see us all. I think it's great that people all over the country are getting excited about the Olympics. It's a big honour to carry the Torch and it's something I'll remember forever."

Entering the grounds of the All England Club at gate 10 in the hands of journalist Duncan Mackay, the torch was passed to Murray, who trotted onto Centre Court with it, before posing for photographs. 

Murray then took the torch along the Rose Arbour walk and up to Aorangi Park, where he handed over to Venus Williams on the Hill, the American joking that she didn't want to set fire to her hair. Winner of a singles and two doubles gold medals, the five-time Wimbledon champion is competing in her fourth Olympic Games, the most of any tennis player. 

"This is the most important Olympics I have ever played. It was definitely a fight to get here," Venus said. 

Williams carried the torch down to gate 1 and out of the grounds before handing it over to charity campaigner Susan Williams. The famous flame was later borne along by Sue Barker and Tim Henman, the final torchbearer of the day. 

The Olympic tennis at Wimbledon commences on Saturday 28 July, with the draw taking place on Thursday 26 July. Visit the ITF Olympics site for more of the build-up and the London 2012 site for venue and schedule information.

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