Don't panic! I'll be fine for Wimbledon, says Murray after Mahut defeat
21:50 GMT, 13 June 2012
Given that this was a day he will not wish to remember, Andy Murray was remarkably sanguine following his exit from the AEGON Championships.
A title from last year lost, Wimbledon preparations all askew and under criticism for hamming up injuries from German veteran Tommy Haas, still the British No 1 drew on his best Corporal Jones to warn against panic.
Scot's missed: Another point slips away in the tiebreak for Murray
It helps that his second-round 6-3,
6-7, 7-6 loss to Frenchman Nicolas Mahut was the stuff of ambush, a
predictably nasty early draw against a highly accomplished grass court
player who showed why he has been as far as the final of this event
And Murray reflected that he has faced worse scenarios, including Haas suggesting he hams things up when feeling stiff or sore.
'I've been called many things, from my personality not being exciting enough, being called boring,' said the Scot.
French fancy: Mahut was delighted with his victory over the world No 4
'It was said I was unfit, lazy, faked
injuries, all sorts. It's something that goes hand in hand with playing
sport. People criticise you regularly. It's something you need to deal
with. I don't care about his opinion.'
He will doubtless pay more heed to
the debrief with coach Ivan Lendl, who had his best poker face on as
Murray failed to put away a man whose elegant all court game is tailor
made for the turf.
his was by no means a shocking
performance from Lendl's client but an area of concern is bound to be
that Murray again struggled – or failed – to consolidate breaks of
Another will be that he played too
deep behind the baseline and looked surprised or offended that the lush
new grass court at Queen's was at its slippiest in those areas.
In the stands: Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears watched him face Nicolas Mahut
Crucially, the 25-year-old failed to
back up the break he achieved at the start of the deciding set, echoing
his frequent failure to press home an advantage against David Ferrer in
the quarter-final of the French Open.
'In the match against Ferrer it
happened way too often,' he admitted. 'I need to watch this match and
see if there's something I'm doing wrong. In the match against Ferrer it
happened too much for it just to be his good play every time.
'It's easy to over-analyse. This was a
close match, it wasn't like I got blown away and played horribly. I
need a few more days to get my movement right and then I'll play
Andy's off: Murray made a sharp exit after losing to Mahut
The quest for more is unlikely to
involve a trip to the main Wimbledon warm-up at Eastbourne next week.
Instead he will be fishing around for an exhibition match or two next
week and he might come across Novak Djokovic. He cited the Serb as an
example of someone who does not feel the need to play a full tournament
before doing well at a Grand Slam, and therefore another reason not to
panic – although to bracket the two together these days looks
One upside for Murray is that the
pre-Wimbledon pressure will not be ratcheted up as it has been when he
has won here, which happened in 2009 and 12 months ago.
He will not be totally unhappy to
disappear from view, but you cannot help think that he missed a trick by
not entering the doubles here, which could have given him an experience
of the slick surface before yesterday's defeat.
Poker face: Lendl watched on as Murray crashed out at Queen's
The Lawn Tennis Association, now
owners of this event, will find it harder to see a silver lining. There
are no British players involved in singles from the Thursday onwards and
other early casualties have included Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick,
the latter knocked out yesterday in what was his sixth straight defeat.
The last Brit out of the singles was
Jamie Baker, who was predictably overmatched 6-3, 6-2 by Jo Wilfried
Tsonga, beaten in last year's final by Murray and now favourite to win
this time around.
There would have been hopes that
Murray might survive a second tiebreak and still be around today, but he
struck three forehands into the net and perished 7-1, even his skill in
the sudden death shootouts deserting him.