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Five things to look out for on Thursday

British fans on Centre Court
by Mark Hodgkinson
Thursday 2 August 2012

The reaction from the wider tennis public should Andy Murray defeat Nicolas Almagro to reach the semi-finals. Already this summer, Andy Murray has converted a fair few to Andy Murray - he did that with his run to the final of The Championships, and by weeping during the prize-giving ceremony. And today he could go some way to converting people to the idea - still controversial in some quarters - that tennis deserves to be inside the Olympic tent.

Murray has already made it clear what the Olympics means to him - you just had to watch his celebrations after beating Marcos Baghdatis in his last match to know that he is not at Wimbledon to swap pins and to contemplate the mauve.

If Murray were to go deeper into this tournament, it would certainly bring more round to believing that tennis players are not overpaid, over-exposed, over-endorsed outsiders. Incidentally, Murray is away from Centre Court for his quarter-final.

That wouldn't have happened during the Wimbledon Championships, but differences should be celebrated. Murray won't receive, or expect, any favours during the Olympics. 

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Or perhaps Murray will change people's minds in partnership with Laura Robson by winning a medal - of any colour - in the mixed doubles. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. They play their first match today. 

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John McEnroe. The New Yorker seems to have been almost everywhere else during the Olympics, but who has seen him at the tennis? Where's John? 

(Editor's note: He's been spotted at the swimming!)

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The two minutes of excellent tennis, or two minutes of poor tennis, the shot here or there, which could decide the men's matches. It is day six of the Olympic tennis tournament, and still not everyone around the courts is adjusted to the idea of the men's matches being quick-fire best-of-three encounters (until the final). On the grass, they have to be.

Roger Federer will know that one or two wrong moves against John Isner could cost him a chance of turning his career grand slam into a career golden slam - with the Olympic singles title the only significant prize missing from his collection. If the match was played over five sets, you would feel much more comfortable about predicting a Federer victory.

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The pleasure and pride which Serena Williams gets from playing doubles with her sister. Venus and Serena already have a couple of Olympic doubles titles, but Serena has said she would not swap one of those for a singles gold. You can watch Serena playing both singles and doubles today. Perhaps take a few moments to see whether Serena takes a very different mental approach when she's on court with her sister.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.


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20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...

20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."

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