Wimbledon | Murray suffers disappointment

These are the occasions that Andy Murray craves, facing high-ranked players, especially on Centre Court at Wimbledon, despite the hip operation which nearly brought his career to an end in 2019.

It was nerve wracking, I had to overcome it. It was an obstacle – a big one. Stefanos Tsitsipas

Since that op he has shown he can compete with the top-flight, so the loss to the world No.5, Stefanos Tsitsipas, will rankle the former world No1 who, prior to his surgery, had won Wimbledon twice.

He lost in a second round match forced to be played over two days and while one can say that he won the first half by going into the break with a two sets-to-one lead, he lost the second and consequently the match when play resumed and Tsitsipas mopped up the remaining two sets for a 7-6(3) 6-7(2) 4-6 7-6(3) 6-4 victory.

Whatever momentum Murray had gained to go ahead on Thursday, was obviously interrupted by the suspension and it didn’t help that he fell badly while creating that final set point in the third but recovered to immediately convert it. However, his fitness, as he went down with a great howl of pain while clutching his groin, was a major concern but fortunately there were no signs of a problem when play resumed the following day.

The contest, which was played at a high level of intensity throughout, with the Tsitsipas forehand and serve very much at the forefront in the early stages but once Murray had found his range, he increased the power of his own deliveries and by concentrating on his opponent’s backhand, turned the match in his favour as he claimed the only break of serve in the first three sets.

On resumption mid-afternoon but now with an open roof and in brilliant sunshine, the battle resumed and the high quality of shot-making continued.

Again, it all eventually hinged on one break and unfortunately it was a poor Murray service game culminating in a double fault, handed Tsitsipas three break points. The Scot saved two but not the third handing Tsitsipas the momentum he needed by establishing a 2-1 led which he held until he reached the finish line.

Murray now was clearly frustrated with himself but try as he might, just couldn’t recover. He saved two match points but not the third which the Greek converted with an ace, his 17th of the match.

Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates a hard earned victory

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“It was nerve wracking,” Tsitsipas admitted following his victory which included 90 winners. “I had to overcome it. It was an obstacle – a big one. It’s actually difficult when you’ve grown up watching him play on this court. I had goosebumps when he won his first title here and I felt for him of how much it meant to him, this courageous run he had in 2013.

“He was part of the top four for a very long time and I looked up to him. I looked up to Novak, Roger and Rafa so these four guys shaped the game and are the reason I am the player I am today.

“It’s never easy against Andy. Everyone loves him here,” the Greek 24-year-old continued.

“I’m impressed how well he holds up after his hip surgeries. I wish him the best in the future.”

The disappointment for Murray was two-fold for on this day a decade ago, July 7, 2013, he was lifting the Wimbledon trophy. He still believes he can replicate that moment but while he has proven he can stay with the top players, the road to an actual title remains a long and tortuous one, and one not surprisingly, he is now reviewing.

“I don’t know,” Murray answered when asked if he would be back at the All England Club next year.

“Motivation is obviously a big thing. Continuing having early losses in tournaments like this don’t necessarily help with that.”

He admitted that a second-round defeat at Wimbledon to John Isner last year had also prompted similar thoughts.

“I’m obviously very disappointed just now,” Murray added later. “You never know how many opportunities you’re going to get to play here. The defeats may feel a bit tougher. But to be honest, every year that Wimbledon’s not gone how I would like, it’s been hard.

“I certainly could have beaten him today or yesterday,” he added. “I obviously earlier in the year had a great win against Berrettini… It’s clearly based on how the match went. There’s only a few points in it today, it’s not just about winning the odd match against them. To have a run at these tournaments, you need multiple wins in a row. I’ve obviously not done that.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray have a chat after their match

(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)



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