Gloomy Andy Murray forced to accept his dreams of a return to the top may be over
Andy Murray was brutally honest as he summed up his US Open exit at the hands of Grigor Dimitrov, as he suggested his days at the top of the game may be over.
The 36-year-old three-time Grand Slam champion bowed out of the US Open after a dispiriting second-round defeat to his old rival Dimitrov.
In the 12th meeting between two veterans of the sport, and seven years after their last one, 19th seed Dimitrov registered only his fourth win over the Scot.
Murray wilted inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the court upon which he won his first grand slam title in 2012, as he slipped to a 6-3 6-4 6-1 defeat.
“I mean, it’s obviously disappointing to not play how you would like, you know?” said Murray, who has not made it past the third round of a major event since 2017.
“Maybe I need to accept that, these events, I had the deep runs and everything that I felt like I’m capable of, they might not be there.
“So, I’m aware what I’m doing is unbelievably challenging to play at the highest level as I am now. And yeah, some days it’s harder than others.
“Today is obviously a really disappointing defeat and probably the manner of it as well. I mean, I fought hard enough but just didn’t play well enough.
“You know, ultimately these are the events that you want to play your best tennis in and create more great moments, and I didn’t do that this year.
“Getting seeded might allow me to avoid players early on, but it is more about the level of performance you put on. Whether I was seeded here in the top 32, that doesn’t mean I’m going to have a deep run.
“It is possible that the draws open up a little bit, but it wouldn’t necessarily matter if you don’t play at a good level.”
Those comments suggested Murray may be considering calling time on his tennis career, but he went on to hint he is willing to battle on.
“I still enjoy everything that goes into playing at a high level. I enjoy the work,” he stated.
“The training and trying to improve and trying to get better, I do still enjoy that and that’s what keeps me going,” continued the 36-year-old.
“If things change and I stop enjoying that or my results, my ranking and everything, if I start to go backwards in that respect, in a few months’ time I was ranked 60 in the world or whatever instead of moving up the way, things might change.”
It is clear that Murray is getting close to a point where he feels he will need to make a call over his future in the game, as he admitted he didn’t deserve to play in Great Britain’s upcoming Davis Cup matches in Manchester in mid-September.
“The plan was to play Davis Cup, but the other guys deserve to play ahead of me,” added Murray, who has been named in a squad alongside Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans.
“It will be a difficult situation with Jack (Draper), but if he is fit and healthy, he is coming in.
“We will see what happens with Davis Cup, but there is probably a good chance that I’m not on the team.
“I will try to get home this evening and see what happens after that.”
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