Andy Murray can blame his Wimbledon victory for a quarterfinal exit at Flushing Meadows this week after the defending US Open champion lost in straight sets to unfavoured Stanislas Wawrinka.
Murray never looked confident in the match, as he failed to break serve once, struggled to handle difficult conditions, and barely threatened on his own racquet – going down 6-4 6-3 6-2. Against an opponent in good form who has hit the baselines all week, the Brit had no chance unless he could muster up the same fighting spirit that earned him the title last season.
Sadly for tennis fans, Murray could do no such thing. He looked drained of energy and out of ideas on court, a sign the past few months are catching up with him.
For, since becoming one of a select few Wimbledon winners, the 26-year-old has barely stopped, juggling his life between training and a huge media frenzy both sides of the Atlantic. He lasted just two matches in Montreal before falling 6-3 6-4 to Tomas Berdych in the Cincinnati quarters – neither tournament proving effective preparation for New York.
It was evident the amount of practice he did on grass – remember he missed Roland Garros to concentrate on his grass game – meant he was playing catch up on hard, as beneficial as it was to his Wimbledon campaign.
He will have spent two weeks – after a break from Wimbledon to go on holiday – on court just getting used to the bounce of the ball, let alone testing his serve and defensive game on the surface.
Of course, many fans will argue Murray should be good enough to adapt to a change of surface. It’s true, a great player uses his Wimbledon schedule to push into the hard-court close season, and Murray did just that after he won the Olympics last year.
His problem this term has been the heightened media glare, a personal desperation to win at SW19 and the unfortunate distractions that come off that success.