What happened to Andy Murray five minutes before the "f**king match"?
Published 03/07/2014 | 08:00
Andy Murray has surrendered his Wimbledon title following a lacklustre display during which he appeared distracted by events off Centre Court.
Murray lost in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov, who also seemed baffled by the Scot’s poor performance and claimed he had “sensed” something was wrong with his opponent before play started.
During the quarter-final match, Murray, who had appeared in top form during the early rounds, was heard to shout “shut the f--- up” and was seen muttering under his breath. Later, when he was 4-2 down in the third set, he was heard shouting “five minutes before the f------ match” – giving the impression there had been some sort of incident during his pre-match preparations.
His comments appeared to be aimed at the players’ box, where his coach Amélie Mauresmo, girlfriend Kim Sears and mother Judy Murray were sitting.
Murray left SW19 immediately after his post-match interview, getting into one of the All England Club cars, without changing out of his tennis kit. Miss Sears, 26, who looked visibly upset as she made a hasty exit from the players’ box, was later seen leaving Wimbledon alone, in contrast to 2012 when the couple left together after he lost in the final to Roger Federer.
Murray claimed in his BBC Sport blog that the run-up to the match ran as planned.
"There was nothing different in the build-up and no reason to expect that kind of performance," Murray said.
"The timings changed a bit because we played the quarter-final pretty early compared with some of my other matches, but my routine was the same and I practised with James Ward both days.
"I was nervous, I felt the butterflies and was excited about the match, but that's perfectly normal. I didn't feel overcome by the moment, but I certainly wasn't very good when I got out on court."
Dimitrov, a 23-year-old Bulgarian who knows Murray well, said he sensed something was not right with the Scotsman’s game when they arrived on court.
“As soon as we started to warm up, I sensed that his game was not at the highest level,” he said.
Murray, 27, dismissed Dimitrov’s comments, pointing out that he had break points in the first game and saying simply that he had a “bad day at the office”.
Later, Murray’s spokesman Matt Gentry said the player often swore on court but gave no indication of the source of his frustration. “He was off his game,” he added.
Murray has yet to beat a top 10 player since last year’s triumph, when he became the first British Wimbledon champion for 77 years. However, he was expected to beat Dimitrov, the world No 13, having breezed through to the quarter-finals without dropping a set.
In the event, Murray appeared out of sorts and struggled to win points on Dimitrov’s serve. He also produced a high number of unforced errors.
He was cheered on by the Prince William and his wife Kate Middelton, who watched from the Royal Box.
They both looked crestfallen when the Scotsman went down 6-1, 7-6, 6-2.
Murray’s defeat was the latest capitulation in a dismal summer for British sport after the England football team’s early exit from the World Cup, the England rugby side’s whitewash in New Zealand, and the England cricket team’s test series defeat to Sri Lanka.
Dimitrov, the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, said he “had a feeling” something was not right. “I have practised quite a few times with [Murray] and I know how he is striking the ball when he is at his best, I know how he is playing when he is not at his best. I think it’s just a feeling that I had.” Within minutes of Murray’s defeat, Ladbrokes was offering odds of 1/5 that Murray’s new coach, Mauresmo, would be sacked before the end of the year. The Scot would not be drawn on their future, saying: “We’ll sit down and chat about that maybe tomorrow or in a few days. I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of weeks. I’ve found it good fun.”