For most fans, both of tennis and Andy Murray, his Wimbledon return was probably met with mixed emotions. More than anything, it was fantastic to watch him in action again. ‘Inspirational’ is vastly insufficient to describe his journey. An infinite number of accolades could be lathered over his career and never do it justice.
But there were moments to counter the optimism. Seemingly in an indominable position, two sets and five-love up over Basilashvili, he provided us all with a sustained heart attack. Eventually overcoming the resurgence of Otte, Murray was forced again to battle through an immense challenge.
Throughout, there were glimpses of his former brilliance. Whatever comes next in his career, Andy Murray will be remembered as one of the greatest tennis players ever. Certainly one of the best Brits in the sport.
Following his third-round defeat, looming questions surrounding his potential retirement have emerged.
Andy Murray’s Journey
His professional story is surely well known. Since entering the professional tour in 2005, Andy Murray has become one of the most successful players, making history on several occasions. Through his signature determination, his legacy will be perpetuated for generations to come.
The wait for a first Grand Slam was heart wrenching. Had he not been playing alongside three of the greatest the sport has ever seen, he himself would surely have towered over the competition.
Still, he won Queens. He won the Olympics. He won the US Open. He won Wimbledon, etching his heart and soul across Centre Court. Each time a British players steps onto that grass, the cheers resonate so loudly because Andy Murray convinced us it could be done.
Should Andy Murray Retire?
This latest defeat must have felt especially raw. His return was far from certain, requiring constant resilience from a very special player and man. After the surgery and patchy record of matches, followed by the disruption of a COVID-riddled calendar, 2021 finally presented something resembling a beacon of hope. Having played eight matches, he’s generated a fairly balanced record of four victories, four defeats.
In the immediate aftermath of his latest defeat and Wimbledon exit, it feels clear where a dejected Murray’s mind is.
“There is a part of me that feels a bit like I have put in so much work the last three months and, you know, ultimately didn’t play how I would want and expect, and it’s like is it worth it?”Andy Murray
Fundamentally, Andy Murray loves tennis. It’s evident each time he steps onto the court. He’s not just incredibly talented, but blessed by an unrelenting motivation and burning desire. The experience of stepping out on court energises him, no matter how much pain might be associated.
His goal was to compete in this later Slam. Entering as a Wild Card, and with absolutely nothing more to prove, he just wanted to play the game.
“I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into getting to this point and then, obviously, to lose like that is tough”Andy Murray
Presumably, if anything forces him into retirement, it’ll be a loss of faith in his physical abilities. The determination might not have dried up, but whether his movement and technical skills have deserted him is another question.
It’s been easy for a number of media critics to exacerbate this pressure, citing an apparent lack of form in forcefully suggesting he withdraw from the professional circuit. The decision is, ultimately and obviously, his to make, guided by the support of his family and coaching team. Personally, I feel he has more to give.
Andy Murray can compete
My answer hinges on this crucial facet. For Murray, it’s not enough just to love the game. I’m sure he doesn’t need to be successful to the point of reclaiming the No. 1 spot, but he wants to compete. The thing is, he can.
Reeling from a straight sets defeat, that might be a curious stance. Contextually, however, making it into the third round alone is an unbelievable achievement. Basilashvili conquered Federer earlier this year, whist Oscar Otte had played a number of high-level matches effectively preparing him better for the contest.
Murray’s latest defeats have been handed to him by Shapavalov, Berrittini, and Rublev. Young, developing players with considerably more active match experience, all of whom are inside if not fiercely challenging top ten rankings.
Shapavalov and Berrittini are looking like shadow favourites, the latter especially after winning Queens and finishing off his matches decisively thus far.
I’m not Andy Murray, but there are a number of positives he should be able to draw from this latest tournament, especially with more time to prepare for the hard-court season. I guess the Olympics are also happening, where, already the first man to win multiple golds, he could become the first man to win three.
The Future of British Tennis
It’s an exciting time to be a British tennis fan. Whatever the future holds for Andy Murray, he’s surely paved the way for success.
British tennis is grit, and resilience. No one embodies that better than Andy Murray. That’s what makes it so endearing and powerful. Dan Evans has overcome immense setbacks in his career. Cam Norrie has stared down Nadal on clay and Federer on grass this year alone, and roared with each break or set despite the seemingly insurmountable odds. Emma Ranucanu, the 18-year-old in her first tournament played some unbelievable tennis with spectacular defensive shot-making and faultless spirit. Her exit must have been immensely disappointing for her, though I’m sure it’s far from the end.
Dan Evans, Cam Norrie, and Andy all made it to the third round. Konta sadly had to isolate, having demonstrated great form, winning the Nottingham Open earlier this year. Ranucanu was fantastic.
For now, it’s back to cheering Federer further into the record books.
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