Andy Murray will not defend his Olympic gold medal as the former world No 1 withdrew from his first-round match hours before it was due to start.
The Scot made a winning start in Tokyo in the doubles alongside partner Joe Salisbury and he was due to kickstart his singles title defence against Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.
But in a dramatic turn of events Murray, who won gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in singles, withdrew and replaced by Australia’s Max Purcell.
Sportsmail understands that Murray has been dealing with a tight quad muscle and had to choose between the singles or the doubles event.
‘I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events,’ Murray said in a statement.
‘I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe.’
Murray and doubles partner Joe Salisbury marked themselves out as medal contenders on Saturday with a brilliant first-round performance in the men’s doubles at the Ariake Tennis Park.
That may well have played into Murray’s thinking with Auger-Aliassime considered a strong favourite against the Brit in the singles.
With Salisbury, Murray had a tough draw against doubles second seeds and Roland Garros champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut but they brushed the French pair aside in a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Salisbury and Murray had never played a match together before but the former is Britain’s best doubles player while Murray also has plenty of experience in the format.
Speaking after that win, Murray said: ‘I think we have the potential to be a really good team, I think the result today showed that.
‘Doubles is always tricky because sometimes the matches can come down to a few points.
‘I think we were well deserved winners today, we created lots of chances, but not every doubles match is like that.
‘I think if we keep the same sort of attitude and everything, prepare diligently, I think we’ve got a chance of doing well. But it’s not easy, just because we won that match.
‘We’ve got a tough match next against a German pair (Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz) and we’ll look forward to that one.’
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