June 13, 2014
Andy Murray squandered no fewer than eight set points as he went crashing out unexpectedly at Queens yesterday.
The defending champion was cruising 6-2 in the first-set tie-break and enjoyed further set points before losing 6-7 (10-12), 2-6 against Radek Stepanek in West London.
The Brit seemed to feel the pressure as he was broken twice in the second set, including in the very first game. Alarm bells will be ringing in the Murray camp and new coach Amelie Mauresmo must help Murray to get ruthless quickly if he is to defend his title in style at Wimbledon. You can read our exclusive interview with her here.
It was a crazy way to lose after Murray seemed to have the 35-year-old Czech under his control in that first set tie-break. But he took his foot off the pedal with terrible consequences. And the champion was out before he knew it, ending his long unbeaten run on grass.
Stepanek said later: ‘Sorry for beating Andy in front of his home crowd but I’m very pleased with my performance and served well against one of the great returners.
‘The tie-break was never over until the umpire said “First set to Murray” – and he didn’t. It’s a great win for me.’
Murray’s crushing defeat to Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros appears to have dented his confidence. Now Mauresmo will have to work some psychological wonders in the build-up to the greatest tournament of them all.
Andy looked mentally and physically jaded and was even out-rallied by the older man.
Perhaps a few days’ rest will do him good. He needs to recharge the batteries and come out like a warrior at Wimbledon.
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