The British Olympic tennis squad and a number of other home-grown athletes have been ordered by their respective team officials to miss out on the festivities in the opening ceremony so that they can get a good night’s kip before the Wimbledon Olympic tennis tournament begins on Saturday.
Andy Murray, his brother Jamie and Elena Blatacha are amongst the athletes who have been informed by Paul Hutchins that despite the significance of the occasion, the ceremony was not as important as getting adequate rest. The Murray brothers and six other British players all have matches scheduled for the opening rounds tomorrow, something that was only discovered when the order of play was released earlier this morning.
The tennis team is just a small fraction of the 500 British athletes who are expected to be missing from the opening ceremony, including the traditional flag-bearing procession. Releasing a statement confirming that attendance at the ceremony “is a choice made by each sport”, the British Olympic Association has said that despite opening ceremonies being “significant occasions, the priority is that performance on the field of play comes first for Team GB’s athletes”.
Tonight’s opening ceremony, conceived and directed by Danny Boyle, commences at 9pn and is expected to run past midnight. Taking place on the opposite side of London from where the athletes are housed in the Olympic village, at least there’ll be plenty of BBC coverage for the Murray brothers and co to tune into!