Andy Murray was pleased to be back playing singles at Wimbledon after a four-year absence, pleased to make it through three matches this week without any new injuries and pleased to be playing in front of raucous crowds.
And still, after a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 loss at Centre Court to No. 10 seed Denis Shapovalov on Friday night, Murray was left asking himself a rather glum question.
“There is a part of me that feels a bit like I have put in so much work the last three months and, ultimately, didn’t play how I would want and expect. And it's like: Is it worth it?” Murray said. “Is all of that training and everything that you’re doing in the gym — unless you’re able to, like, practice and improve your game and get matches and continue (to) get a run of tournaments — is it worth all of the work that you’re doing?”
And then he offered an answer. Sort of.
“There is part of me that feels like, yes, it is, because I had great memories and stuff from this event and (played) in some brilliant atmosphere,” Murray said. “But then, also, I finished the match tonight and I’m saying to my team ... ‘I’m just not happy with how I played.’”
The 34-year-old Murray recently returned to the tour after a three-month absence because of a groin problem, just the latest in a series of injuries.
Most serious was the bad hip that wound up requiring two operations. That is why he hadn't played singles at the All England Club since 2017, a year after he won his second title at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.
The first, famously, came in 2013, making him Britain's first male champion there in 77 years.
Murray opened this trip to Wimbledon with a four-set victory over 24th-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, then needed five sets to edge Oscar Otte.
He did not manage to put up nearly as much of a fight against Shapovalov, a 22-year-old left-hander from Canada who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.
“Unless me and my team can find a way of keeping me on the court for a consistent period of time and allow me to practice the way that I need to to compete with these guys," Murray said, "then that’s when the discussions about what I do next will come in, because I have genuinely put a lot into this to get to this point.”