Andy Murray will ask how much more he can take after Wimbledon defeat
It was almost as if Andy Murray suddenly realised his time was up.
On the hallowed patch of London turf that has provided the stage for his greatest triumphs and more than a few of his most epic sporting tragedies, the realisation that the glory days may be over for good came mid-way through the fourth set of his latest epic late-night match at Wimbledon.
After finding a way back into a contest that was slipping away from him as he dropped the first two sets against old foe John Isner, Murray’s hopes of another five-set epic triumph were dashed in the game that gave his towering American opponent the door he needed to step through to seal victory.
Murray appeared to have the momentum in the match until he was broken mid-way through the fourth set and the reaction he served up as his forehand drooped into the net for the fateful break of serve said it all.
Pulling his cap down over his face, Murray’s slow and agonised walk back to his chair was that of a sportsman who wondered how it had come to this.
Murray has always respected veteran American Isner and on a grass court, the threat he offers with his power-packed serve has never been underestimated, yet the Scot will also know that he would never have lost this match in his prime.
And that’s why this defeat may be more significant than any other in his long and agonising attempt to revive his former glories.
After starting his grass court campaign early at the LTA’s Surbiton Trophy, his run to the final of the Stuttgart Open fuelled hope that the former world No.1 could produce a miracle with his metal hip in the tournament that has always meant so much to him.
Had his Wimbledon 2022 story ended against one of the game’s modern giants or a rising star then maybe he could have accepted this outcome with a little more perspective, but losing to a rival he has known for so long and beaten on all eight previous encounters would give
Murray every reason to feel his dreams of a second and third coming in this sport may be forlorn.
With the draw to the second week of Wimbledon seemingly opening up to the unseeded former two-time champion, he knew all the pain he has been through in his injury battles could be about to be rewarded at the tournament that has given him so much.
Then Isner, of all players, finally found a way to beat Murray and he did so in a manner that was far too comfortable for any doubt about who was the worthy winner.
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 29, 2022
Time may ease the pain of this match and Murray’s earliest ever Wimbledon exit and he may well come back and try and defy the odds once again next year at the All England Club.
Yet when the final epitaph of Murray’s remarkable career is written, the scene of him bowing his head and being overwhelmed with an unwanted reality could be entered as his final chapter.
Murray’s legacy as one of the giants in the ultimate era of our great sport can never be erased, but even this superhuman athlete must now be reflecting how much more of this he can take.
Novak Djokovic outlines his ambitions as he prepares for ATP Tour return
Novak Djokovic has insisted his ambition to achieve more in the game.
Serena Williams reveals why she decided to retire at the US Open
Serena Williams says she wants to devote her time to being a mother to her daughter Olympia.
Roger Federer’s former coach reveals inside story on retirement plan
Ljubicic had told Eurosport that Federer’s decision to quit was made some time ago.
Jannik Sinner sets out to bag Sofia Open hat-trick
Can Jannik Sinner win the title in Sofia for the third time in a row?
Wimbledon ban proves a blessing for Liudmila Samsonova
Liudmila Samsonova says missing Wimbledon allowed her to work on her game and she is now reaping the benefits.
Roger Federer disappointed by Laver Cup farewell defeat
Team World won the Ryder Cup-style team competition 13-8 at the O2.
Moving on from Roger Federer – what comes next for men’s tennis
Federer has called it a day but what comes next for tennis.
Roger Federer backed as future captain of Team Europe at Laver Cup
Bjorn Borg confirmed he will step down from the role after the 2023 edition in Vancouver.
Andy Murray pondering his own retirement question after week of reflection
We now wait to see which member of the fable ‘Big Four’ will join Federer in retirement and Murray might well be next.