Mats Wilander questions why Andy Murray is still playing on what feels like his farewell tour
This increasingly feels like the Andy Murray farewell tour.
As Britain’s greatest ever sportsman bowed out of the his first French Open match since 2017 after a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 against his old foe Stan Wawrinka, the manner of his exit suggested that may have been the last time we will see the Scot play on a clay court.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) September 27, 2020
While no-one can ever doubt his eagerness to fight for every ball and leave everything on the court, it was a sedate Murray who reflected on his exit in an interview with Roland Garros radio and admitted his efforts to control his emotions on court did not reap rewards.
“Over in the States, I was getting quite frustrated in my matches and I tried to keep my emotions in check on the court,” he said. “That was probably why I was quieter than usual out there. I was trying to be a little but calmer on the court.
“This was an extremely tough draw and even if I had played well, there was no guarantees that I win that match, but I didn’t play well. I was under 40 per-cent first serves and that isn’t good enough against anyone, especially against Stan. That’s not good enough. That allows your opponent to dictate the points and that’s what happened out there.”
It was an honest appraisal of a muted Murray performance and we will soon get to the point where questions will be asked over what his ambitions are in this latest comeback attempt.
In the opinion of former French Open winner and Eurosport analyst Mats Wilander, Murray is competing at a level that will not be acceptable to him for much longer as he suggested he needs to consider his future after hip replacement surgery last year.
“I worry about Andy Murray,” said Wilander. “I would love to hear him say why he is out there, giving us a false sense of hope that he is going to come back one day.
“I keep getting a little bit disappointed, is it his right to be out there doing that? Why? I did it and I shouldn’t have, it was the biggest mistake I did in my career.
“I think Andy Murray needs to stop thinking of himself and start thinking about who he was. Does he have a right to be out there taking wildcards from the young players?
“I was 26 when I first retired, came back at 28, played until 32 and there was couple of years I played and should not have taken up the space where there were younger, more motivated players who were better than what I was. It’s tough to quit, for sure. By giving us all hope by playing, it’s just not right. I love the fact that he is back and trying. Hopefully he’ll figure out why he’s doing it.”
Wilander’s comments will be echoed by many of Murray’s army of admirers as like a boxer who has been knocked-out a few too many times, the days of the three-time Grand Slam champion challenging for the game’s biggest prizes appear to be over.
This legend of the game has earned the right to bow out on his own terms, but we don’t need to see him making up the numbers for too much longer.
Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer
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