|Venue: All England Club Date: July 3-16|
|Scope: Live on BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Stuff, Connected TV and mobile apps. More coverage details here.|
Whenever Andy Murray says goodbye to Center Court these days, no one can confidently predict whether it will be the last time or not.
As the 10th anniversary of Murray’s first title at the All England Club approaches, when he ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s singles champion, there is hope.
The hope is that he can complete a memorable victory over Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and secure his most famous win at a Grand Slam since having career-saving hip surgery in 2019.
At the end of the day, the former world number one questioned whether it was worth repeating all the effort, pain and sacrifice in trying to enter Wimbledon.
Asked if he was confident of returning next year, Murray said: “I don’t know. Motivation is obviously a big thing.
“Continuing to have early losses in tournaments like this doesn’t necessarily help that.”
Murray cut a somber figure as he spoke to journalists, looking increasingly despondent as he shrugged off his five-set loss to 24-year-old Tsitsipas.
The scene is not new. The display of raw emotion after tough losses at the place where he placed the greatest emphasis on victory has become common over the past few years.
In 2021, Murray said he had to evaluate “if all the hard work was worth it” after an encouraging run was ended by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in the third round.
In 2022, an equally dejected Murray is questioning his future after suffering his first ever Wimbledon exit at the hands of American John Isner in the second round.
This year, for all loud talk in the build-up, the tournament ended with the same result.
“Losing in the second round, I don’t find it encouraging, it’s not why I put in all the work,” said Murray.
“It was like last year, I think. I thought about things for a long time, talked to my family, and decided to move on.
“I’m incredibly disappointed and angry right now. Maybe I’ll feel different in a few days but right now it’s not good.”
This summer, Murray channeled all his efforts into a deep run in the area where he won two of his three major titles.
That’s what makes disappointment so hard to take.
Murray decided to skip the clay-court French Open, preferring to start his preparations on the British grass where he thrives.
Dropping to the ATP Challenger Tour – the level below the main tour – led to title wins in Surbiton and Nottingham.
Murray suffered a shock loss against Alex de Minaur when he made the move to Queen’s. There is no need to panic, he insisted.
But, crucially, it means he misses a seeding and leaves him open to the possibility of facing one of the top-ranked players in the first two rounds.
The tie resulted in a potential second-round match against Tsitsipas, a two-time major finalist tipped to win one of the sport’s biggest prizes soon.
When the highly anticipated meeting was over, Murray rose to the occasion – as he always does on the big stage – and showed his best.
It was a testament to his performance that Tsitsipas had to produce his best performance on grass for a long time to break through.
That doesn’t even soften the blow for Murray, who knows he can still mix it up with the world’s best.
“I definitely can. It’s clear based on how the game is going. There are only a few points to it,” he said.
“But it’s not just about winning the odd game against them really. To make a run in these tournaments, you need many, many consecutive wins. I didn’t do that.”
Murray is not the type of player to rush into any big decisions and his love for the game is evident in the depth to which he has recovered to continue playing.
Tim Henman, Murray’s former Davis Cup team-mate and long-time friend, believes the Scot will appear more positive once “the dust has settled”.
“Andy’s got a wise head on his little old shoulders now and he’s absolutely right not to commit to anything,” he said.
“He’s going to reflect on how much effort he’s put in this year. He’s lowered the level to play in Challenger events and to win two on grass. That brings out the hunger and the desire.
“That desire still burns and I hope there is more to come for Andy.”