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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Martin McMillan

Andy Murray ‘will take a while to get over’ Wimbledon exit to Stefanos Tsitsipas

A devastated Andy Murray was left questioning his motivation to keep going after Stefanos Tsitsipas fought back to win their delayed second-round clash on Centre Court.

The Scot was two sets to one up overnight after the 11pm curfew came into play but he was unable to complete the job, with fifth seed Tsitsipas battling to a 7-6 (3) 6-7 (2) 4-6 7-6 (3) 6-4 victory.

It was a hugely disappointing way for Murray to mark the 10th anniversary of his career-defining first Wimbledon title, and he is all too aware that his chances for another deep run here are ebbing away.

Andy Murray during his press conference following his defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas (Joe Toth/AELTC Handout)

The 36-year-old is not yet ready to hang up his racket but it was clear how much this one hurt, and he said: “Motivation is obviously a big thing. Continuing having early losses in tournaments like this don’t necessarily help with that.

“It’s similar to, I guess, last year. I had a long think about things, spoke to my family, decided to keep on going.

“I don’t plan to stop right now. But this one will take a little while to get over. Hopefully (I’ll) find the motivation again to keep training, keep pushing, try and keep getting better.”

Murray missed the French Open to focus on his grass-court preparations and arrived at the All England Club feeling confident and healthy for the first time since winning his second title in 2016.

He was unfortunate to run into a top seed so early, and there were many aspects of his performance that were positive, but he clearly fancied his chances against Tsitsipas on grass.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray (left) embrace after their five-set thriller (Steven Paston/PA)

For all his incredible efforts at the Australian Open this year and other close calls, he has not gone beyond the third round at a grand slam since his hip problems began back in 2017.

There was very little to choose between the pair throughout this contest, with both players dropping serve just once.

But Tsitsipas’ break in the third game of the deciding set proved the crucial one after the Greek had withstood pressure from Murray to force another tie-break in the fourth.

The crowd willed Murray to find a way back into the match and he saved two match points in the final game, but Tsitsipas clinched his third with an ace to set up a very winnable third round against Laslo Djere.

“You never know how many opportunities you’re going to get to play here,” said Murray. “The defeats maybe feel a bit tougher. But every year that Wimbledon’s not gone how I would like, it’s been hard.

Andy Murray could not break the Stefanos Tsitsipas serve on Friday (Steven Paston/PA)

“Obviously it’s brilliant to play in great atmospheres. It makes playing the matches more enjoyable and creates certainly better memories.

“But ultimately this was an opportunity for me. I had a good chance of having a proper run for the first time in a long time at a slam. I didn’t take it. Regardless of the atmosphere and those things, it’s still very, very disappointing to be sitting here right now.”

Murray looked on the verge of tears when he was informed during his press conference that a return he hit at 15-30 that was called out in fact clipped the line.

“That’s obviously frustrating because I remember,” he said. “I think it was a backhand cross-court return, very short. I probably would have won the point.”

Murray could have challenged the call but he criticised umpire Aurelie Tourte for not spotting the mistake.

“It was right underneath the umpire’s nose,” he said. “They shouldn’t be missing that. I assumed the umpire would have made the right call.”

Tennis is increasingly moving towards automated line calls, and Murray added: “Right now I obviously would rather it was done automatically. It’s a hard one because I probably prefer having the line judges on the court. It feels nicer to me.”

Murray had no complaints about the match being halted 20 minutes before the curfew on Thursday at the end of the third set or the fact it resumed with the roof open, changing the conditions.

The roof was open for the resumption of the match (Steven Paston/PA)

“My opinion is that this is an outdoor tournament,” he said. “They should be trying their hardest to play as much tennis outdoors as possible.”

Murray, meanwhile, had sparked alarm right before the close of play on Thursday by screaming in pain and going down clutching his left hip, but there was no sign of any discomfort in the final two sets.

“I wouldn’t describe it as an injury,” he said. “I obviously slipped, had some initial pain and discomfort. It’s like sort of a jarring of the joint. It can be a little bit sore. I pulled up OK today.”

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