Olympics field still strong despite withdrawals, says defending champion Andy Murray

Stan Wawrinka was the latest to pull out of the Games through injury

Andy Murray

Image: Vadim Ghirda / AP/Press Association Images

Defending Olympic champion Andy Murray insists that there is still a competitive and strong field for this year's tennis event despite a spate of high-profile withdrawals.

Stan Wawrinka pulled out of the event citing a back-injury and joins compatriot Roger Federer who is also not competing in Rio. Federer has opted to take the rest of the season off as recovery, having undergone a gruelling Wimbledon tournament that featured two consecutive five-set matches.

Warinka's withdrawal means that half of the world's top ten tennis players will miss the event, but the 2016 Wimbledon champion isn't phased. 

"It's unfortunate with Roger and Stan, they're two guys that are both great players and capable of winning events like this so it's a shame that they aren't here," Murray told reporters.

"But it's still a pretty strong field, a lot of the top-20 players are here even if unfortunately there's a few of the top 10 missing."

Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych cited concerns over the Zika virus for missing the event, while Dominic Thiem has opted to focus on his progress on the ATP Tour.

Murray's preparation for the event has also featured practice sessions against Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who is planning a return from a wrist injury.

"We practised a little bit together," Murray said. "I had a couple of British guys over there with me, Ed Corrie and Dan Smethurst, and I hit with Rafa a couple of times, and it was good.

"It was hot, conditions are quite different here, the courts we were practising on were a bit faster, here it's pretty slow and heavy conditions, a little bit humid and quite windy, so it's good to get here a few days early and get used to it."

Murray also says he consulted his doctor over health concerns surrounding Brazil, but insists he is looking forward to competing.

"I spoke to my doctor and he assured me everything should be okay. Hopefully I don't get too many mosquito bites but I don't think it's too bad at this time of year and there's a lot of places that are a little bit dodgy right now, obviously the stuff in Miami, so you just hope that nothing happens."