Andy Murray will ask how much more pain he can take after his latest defeat

Andy Murray Credit: PA Images

Andy Murray Credit: PA Images

On a course that will always hold a traumatic place in Andy Murray’s heart, doubts about why he continues in the sport resurfaced.

It was after a victory against Marius Copil in Washington four years ago that Murray came to the agonizing conclusion that his tennis story has come to an end.

In the stunning Amazon documentary chronicling his return from injury, Murray confirmed that night in DC was the moment his will to carry on was broken, as he went back to his hotel room and recorded a video message concluding that it’s over for me’.

His tears on court that night were agonizing to watch for his army of fans around the world, but it seemed the injuries have finally overcome the former two-time Wimbledon champion.

Hip surgery and ongoing comeback attempts have been Murray’s story in the four years leading up to his return to Washington in singles action, but his latest defeat to Sweden’s Mikael Ymer will once again question the mind of the tennis great.

Murray dropped the first set after serving points to win it, then stormed to victory in the second set before an unexpected collapse in the third resulted in a 7-6(8) 4-6 6-1 victory for the played ranked No. 115 in the current ATP rankings.

Murray insisted before this event that retirement was not an option he was considering right now, even after a disappointing second-round defeat to American veteran John Isner at Wimbledon last month was followed by a loss to Alexander Bublik on his preferred grass court in Newport, Rhode Island.

“There are a lot of people who feel that maybe I shouldn’t be playing,” he told the Washington Post before returning to the US capital.

“But I love tennis and I love to compete and I feel like I can get better than where I am today. If I get to the point where I don’t feel like I can improve or that things might be going backwards, then it might change where I am.”

They were positive words from a champion who will not accept that his time at the top is over, but he cannot have enjoyed this latest humbling experience against a player he would have sent with plenty to spare during his days at the top of the game.

Ymer played some superb points on a hot day in Washington, but Murray lacked the firepower with his ground shots to break through the 23-year-old and the Scot looked a beaten man long before the final point was played in a one-sided deciding set.

Seemingly cramping for long periods of the match, Murray’s discomfort on a court that has witnessed some of his most painful moments was there for all to see.

He can now rely on a wild card to enter next week’s Canadian Masters, but these persistent setbacks for Murray must eventually sap his spirit and desire to fight on.

No one wants this iconic champion to hit his last ball in anger, but he can’t continue to endure suffering like this much longer.

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