Andy Murray leapt from bed in his underwear to learn he was Team GB's flagbearer
Published 04/08/2016 | 07:50
Andy Murray leapt from his bed in his underpants to learn of the honour of being Great Britain's flag bearer in Friday's opening ceremony at the Rio Olympics.
The 29-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion did not expect to surpass winning Olympic gold at London 2012, but believes being named as Team GB's flag bearer for the extravaganza at the Maracana Stadium has done just that.
Murray was invited to see Team GB chef de mission Mark England on Tuesday night just as he was preparing for bed, before he was informed of his selection ahead of the likes of cyclist Bradley Wiggins, boxer Nicola Adams and canoeist David Florence to become the first tennis player to land the honour.
"It's a huge honour to represent Team GB at an Olympic Games for the third time," Murray said.
"I competed in Beijing and London, which for a British athlete to get the opportunity to compete at a home Olympics was incredible.
"I never thought I'd be able to top that. But last night was amazing.
"I was just getting into bed at about 1115 - I was in my pants - and our team leader came and said, 'the chef de mission needs to speak to you'.
"I jumped out of bed, ran downstairs and Mark gave me the news. I was speechless.
"I didn't know what to say. I was repeating myself a lot, saying how honoured I was and humbled and I'll be extremely proud to do it.
"So thank you very much for the honour to do that."
Murray addressed his Team GB team-mates at British House, the colonial building at Parque Lago, under Christ the Redeemer, which the British Olympic Association has taken over for the duration of the Games.
"Let's try to make this another amazing Olympics to remember for Great Britain," he said.
Murray clinched men's singles gold at the London 2012 Games as well as silver in the mixed doubles alongside Laura Robson.
The Dunblane ace was the choice of a panel of British Olympic Association experts, who picked from nominations made by each of the respective national sports federations.
The Scot will head a British team of 366 competitors, although a sizeable proportion of the athletes are yet to arrive in Brazil and many will not go to the ceremony due to its proximity to their competitions. It is anticipated more than 50 athletes will march at the Maracana.
"The privilege of being the flag bearer is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life and will certainly be one of the highlights of my career," Murray added.
"I hope to do the team proud on Friday and wish all of the British athletes the best of luck for the Games ahead."
Murray, whose second Wimbledon win came last month, follows in the footsteps of fellow Scot Sir Chris Hoy, with the cyclist leading out Team GB at London 2012.
Hoy offered his congratulations to Murray and some instructions.
The 40-year-old six-time Olympic champion cyclist wrote on Twitter: "Many congratulations @andy_murray on being chosen as the @TeamGB flag bearer, don't forget it has to be single arm and no holster."
England, who headed the panel for the final selection, said a conversation with Murray convinced him the three-time grand slam winner was a worthy choice.
"He was absolutely visibly moved by the honour," England said.
"The Olympic values and professional sport absolutely run through him.
"There are a great number of outstanding athletes on this team, from Nicola Adams who I made flag bearer in Baku, to Sir Bradley Wiggins, unquestionably one of our greatest ever Olympians.
"When I asked Andy to lead our team out it was received with a humility and grace that is befitting of the values of Team GB. It was an emotional moment for him personally, and for this team.
"I will be incredibly proud to hear him address the team and I have no doubt he will inspire our athletes and the nation alike."
Lord Coe and the Princess Royal, the chair and president of the BOA, respectively, addressed the guests.
Both told the 320 guests, 120 of them athletes from 15 sports, to savour the Olympic experience.
"Capture the moment," Coe said.
"It Is a fleeting moment but it is one that will remain with you for the rest of your lives."