NEW YORK (AFP) – Reigning Olympic, Wimbledon and US Open champion Andy Murray, who played squash as a youth before becoming a tennis star, is backing squash’s bid to join the family of Olympic sports in 2020.
The 26-year-old Scotsman said Tuesday after advancing to the quarter-finals of the US Open that he will be cheering on squash to get approval in an International Olympic Committee vote on adding a sport Sunday in Buenos Aires.
Olympic officials will consider squash, a combined baseball/softball bid and wrestling after earlier dropping wrestling from a certain spot in the offerings for the 2020 Summer Games, whose site will be chosen at the same meetings.
Murray said he supports growth in racquet sports in the Olympics lineup.
”I played it a little bit when I was younger,” Murray said. ”I used to play at our local sports club. We had two squash courts. I used to go and watch my dad playing club matches.
”I like it. I think it’s a tough sport. I think physically it’s very challenging. I could be wrong, but I think why it’s not on TV as much is because it almost seems like the same point is getting played.”
That might not be the biggest help to squash’s case given the importance of television rights fees revenue to the Olympic organizers but for its athletes, it would clearly be a dream come true.
”It’s maybe not the best spectator sport, but it’s a very difficult sport to play,” Murray said. ”You have to be extremely fit, have very good hand-eye coordination, good feel, and good touch.
”It’s another racquet sport,” Murray said. ”When you play one, you like to tend to like to watch the other ones, as well. I love watching badminton, too.”