The past five days at Wimbledon have been a wild, joyful and timely reminder of what Andy Murray means, both to his long-suffering fans and to the player himself who worked so hard without experiencing joyous times. on the ground for so long. time.
But it all comes to an end and on Friday night Murray’s positive run at Wimbledon this year ended logically as he was completely beaten 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 by 10th seed Denis Shapovalov at the third round. .
Unlike the boisterous evenings on center court earlier in the week, this time Murray was overpowered and unable to summon anything close to a sufficient level of play required to compete well, and was outclassed by a player from high level with everything to prove on one of the most stages of his career. The eight games Murray has managed to win mark his worst loss at Wimbledon.
For Murray, the loss aroused mixed emotions. While he was supported by the fact that his body was holding on and that he was able to win two games, he was disheartened by how the tournament ended.
“This week has been really good in some ways, but it’s also been frustrating,” said Murray. “I played two long games, and it’s really a lot more than anything I’ve done in the last six months. So if my game isn’t quite okay physically I’m not perfect, or physically like, really cool, it’s going to be tough for me. It’s extremely frustrating, because, yes, I feel like I put a lot of work into getting there, and then obviously losing like that is difficult.
Despite nine sets of tennis strained through his problematic metal groin and hip over the previous four days, Murray’s body has rebounded well from the heaviest load he has taken in four years. The first 20 minutes, however, demonstrated the clearest obstacle in front of him – the quality of the opposition through the net. While his victories over 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili and qualifier Oscar Otte were exciting and positive steps forward, Shapovalov is simply a much better tennis player than these two men.
It was a huge moment for Shapovalov, his center court debut against a hometown legend, and he demonstrated his quality pretty much immediately, breaking serve for a 2-1 lead with a supreme angular backhand winner. which set the tone for the remainder of the game as Shapovalov overwhelmed an unstable Murray with his consistent pace and depth of shot.
The only moment of joy for Murray came as a period of strong returns took him 1-5 to 4-5 with 11 points in a row, but Shapovalov saved two break points in the final game before seal the first set.
This resurgence didn’t last long as a steady regime of unforced errors returned to Murray’s play and Shapovalov led him on the pitch throughout the second set. After the first two sets, the roof was erected due to poor light, an event that sparked retaliations from Murray in his previous two rounds.
But there was not to be a recovery this time around as Shapovalov maintained his focus and closed an impressively clean performance with a nerve-less final take. “I told Andy at the net that he was my hero,” Shapovalov said afterward.
Although Murray was disheartened by the end, there were plenty of positives during an exciting week. With so few games under his belt, he beat a Top 30 player, won multiple best of five sets and his body held up throughout. This is something he will obviously be grappling with over the next few weeks leading up to the Olympics.
“It’s good, but there’s a part of me that feels like I’ve worked so hard over the last three months and, you know, at the end of the day I didn’t play the way I wanted to.” and what i expected, and it’s, like, is it worth it? “, he said. “Does all that training and everything you do in the gym, you know, unless you can practice and improve your game and get matches and keep going, get a series of tournaments. Is it worth all the work you do?
He continued, “There’s a part of me that feels like it does, it’s because I had fond memories of that event and playing in brilliant atmospheres. But then, too, I finished the game tonight and I say to my team, I’m like, “I’m just not happy with the way I played. “
“So unless my team and I can find a way to keep myself on the pitch for a consistent period of time and allow myself to train the way I need to compete with these guys,” so, yes, so that’s when the discussions about what I’ll do next, because I really invested a lot to get there ”