Wimbledon Day 9 | Murray bids goodbye
Braveheart became Broken Heart as Andy Murray limped away from Wimbledon, his defence at an end with the Scot defiantly roaring: “I gave everything I had and aim to come back a better player.”
Sam served great. The end of the fourth set and fifth set, felt like he hardly missed any first serves. He was acing me pretty much every time. I wasn’t getting enough power on my serve to put him in any bother there. So he was dictating all of the pointsAndy Murray
The hip problem which had troubled him from just before the tournament proved unmanageable as the top seed was defeated 3-6 6-4 6-7 6-1 6-1 by big-serving Sam Querrey, who did for the previous defending champion Novak Djokovic last year.
Britain’s world No.1 gave it his best shot and could easily have retired or at least called a medical timeout, but his never-say-die spirit kept him going even if his legs were unable to respond. After all, it is the tournament he loves and has won twice.
Murray is ready to rest to get his physical ailments sorted in time for the final Grand Slam of 2017, the US Open, while the American 6ft.6in 24th seed Querrey, prepares his first Grand Slam semi-final, facing Croatian seventh seed Marin Cilic.
But British No.1 Murray has no regrets after missing out on the last four for just a second time in nine years,
The 30-year-old said: “The whole tournament I’ve been a little bit sore. But I tried my best right to the end. I gave everything I had. I’m proud about that. But it’s obviously disappointing to lose at Wimbledon. There’s obviously an opportunity there. So I’m sad that it’s over.
“I knew I wasn’t going to do any major damage by playing. So obviously wanted to try if possible, find a way at the end. Obviously it wasn’t the case.
“Sam served great. The end of the fourth set and fifth set, felt like he hardly missed any first serves. He was acing me pretty much every time. I wasn’t getting enough power on my serve to put him in any bother there. So he was dictating all of the points.
“Obviously managed to get through a bunch of matches and did okay. Now I’ll sit down with my team and look at the next step, look a little bit longer term. The US Open’s, I don’t know, six, seven weeks away maybe, something like that. I’ll sit down with my team tomorrow and come up with a plan for what I have to do next.
“I’ll get the best advice I can, then stick with that. If it means taking a few weeks’ rest, then so be it. If it means training and doing the right rehab and stuff, then I’ll do that. I have no idea of exactly what that’s going to be. Just like I said, before Wimbledon, it’s a very short-term mindset. You’re trying to get yourself in the best shape possible for this tournament, and I did.
“I’ve been dealing with it for a very long time during my career. Obviously as you get older, things are a little bit tougher to manage than they are when you’re younger. There’s a bit more wear and tear there. I’m sure moving forward I’ll be able to get through it.
“I just need to do all of the right things and be even more diligent and professional than I have been recently. I feel like I’ve done all of the right stuff, but I’ll try to do more, try to get myself in better shape. Hopefully I’ll come through the other side of it a better player, a better athlete. That’s what I’ll try and do.”
Murray took an early grip as he raced to a 3-0 lead before taking the opening set. And he looked in control in the second when breaking the big-hitting South Californian in the seventh game.
But then the wheels come off. He was immediately broken as he lost three straight games to concede the lead as his passive opponent became proactive.
Murray gritted his teeth to bounce back in the third after a struggle. He served for the set at 5-4 and was broken. But in the tie-break he raced to 6-1 as Querrey stumbled. The American saved three of the set points but Murray bagged the fourth.
Yet the Brit went flat in the fourth. His movement slowed, his energy level lowered and Querrey grew in confidence, hitting winner after winner.
There was clearly something up with Murray. There appeared to be no fire, although inside you knew it was raging, and his movement became slower. We had been told his hip problem on was containable, but it was now jumping out of its container. Querrey took about 20 minutes to level.
The deciding set went much the same way. Murray blinked and he was 3-0 down. Two poor lobs helped gift Querrey a break for a 5-1 lead and the baseball-capped West Coast ace Querrey served out in decisive fashion with an ace.
The torture was over for Murray and his 15,000 supporters. It had taken 2hr.42min.
He must have hoped that the niggle he felt a few weeks ago would subside. That he would find a way to win despite the problems.
And Murray made a more than decent fist of it by reaching the last eight for the tenth successive year, seemingly improving in form as the rounds progressed.
But when your body gives up there is nothing your mind can do about it, no matter how strong it is. No matter how experienced you are. No matter how strong your will to win is. Just ask Djokovic who was forced to retire shortly afterwards in his quarter-final.
Murray should be commended. He was indeed a Braveheart. But hearts, even brave ones, get broken.
Querrey said: “It’s a really big deal. For me, it’s my first semifinal. To beat Andy, to have it be at Wimbledon, was even a little more special. Just it was an incredible match. I’m just so happy right now.”
Aware of Murray’s physical problems?
He replied: “Not at all really. I kind of noticed it a little bit from the beginning. But I just kind of stayed with my game. I tried to play aggressive and keep swinging after the ball. I didn’t want to alter my game and try to get into those cat-and-mouse points, because that’s where he’s really good. I just kept my foot down and just kept trying to pound the ball.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s Heather Watson and Finnish partner Henri Kontinen, the unseeded reigning champions, beat fourth seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and India’s Sania Mirza 7-6 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles.