Andy Murray suffered his first Wimbledon outing in 16 years on Friday when he was knocked out in the third round by world number 12 Denis Shapovalov and left wondering, “Is it worth it?”
Two-time champion Murray, who has been locked in a long battle with hip and groin injuries and is now ranked 118, fell 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
It was the first time the 2013 and 2016 champion had lost in the third round since his debut at age 18 in 2005.
“There’s a part of me that feels a little bit like I’ve worked so hard in the last three months and I finally didn’t play the way I wanted and hoped, and it’s like it was worth it.” said Murray, 34.
“Is all that training and all that you’re doing in the gym, unless you can practice and improve your game and get matches and carry on, get a series of tournaments, is it worth all the work that you do? You are doing? “
Murray came close to leaving the sport in 2019 when he wondered if he would ever get back to the heights of his career.
Hip surgery followed and eventually returned to the courts.
But it has been slow progress for the former world number one playing singles at Wimbledon for the first time since 2017.
Friday’s match was just the eighth on the 2021 main tour.
He missed 11 months of action between 2017 and 2018 and then another seven months after his tearful outing at the 2019 Australian Open.
At this year’s Wimbledon, he knocked out 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round, but needed five sets to defeat German qualifier Oscar Otte.
“There have been great memories of this event and of playing in some brilliant atmospheres,” added Murray.
“But I also finished the game tonight and I tell my team, I’m just not happy with how I played.
“So unless my team and I can find a way to stay on the court for a constant period of time and allow myself to practice the way I need to compete with these guys, then the discussions about what I do next enter to “.
The 22-year-old Canadian Shapovalov will face Spanish Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the quarterfinals.
‘Andy my hero’
“I told Andy online that he is my hero,” Shapovalov said.
Against Shapovalov, 12 years his junior, Murray’s famous steel competitive advantage was not enough.
The Canadian southpaw took a 5-1 lead in the first set before Murray scrawled his way back to 5-4.
Shapovalov held his ground to take the opener and was soon 4-0 up in the second set, which he pocketed comfortably.
As night fell, the roof of center court closed, but Murray, desperately short of matches in his second event since March, fell to defeat in the 13th-ace of Shapovalov’s tie.
“Putting Andy’s accomplishments aside, coming back from injury and being able to play a first set like that, it was super intense,” Shapovalov said after shooting 45 winners to Murray’s 16.
“It’s amazing for him to get to the third round and see what he can do.”
Murray, a two-time Olympic singles champion, said he still intends to play in the Tokyo Games, but his mood on Friday night was low.
“I really put a lot into this to get to this point, but I cannot practice and prepare how I should perform as I would like in these events,” he added.
“I’m not waiting and saying, like I beat Denis Shapovalov. He is a brilliant player. But I feel like I can do a lot better than I did tonight. “
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