Wimbledon 2014: 'I just played badly and I don’t know why,' says Andy Murray after SW19 exit

Defending champion crushed by Grigor Dimitrov as his game deserts him amid a multitude of errors

wimbledon

Grigor Dimitrov felt it might not be Andy Murray’s day even before a ball had been struck in their quarter-final here on Centre Court. “As soon as we started warming up I sensed his game was not at his highest level,” the Bulgarian said after completing a crushing 6-1, 7-6, 6-2 victory over the Wimbledon champion. “I’ve practised quite a few times with him. I know how he’s striking the ball when he’s at his best. I know how he’s playing when he’s not at his best. It was just a feeling that I had.”

Dimitrov’s pre-match impression was quickly confirmed. Murray has a remarkable record of consistency here, but this will go down as one of his worst performances at the All England Club. Although Dimitrov is one of the game’s most exciting young talents, this was a match decided more by the loser’s mistakes than by the winner’s excellence.

Murray had been in peak form as he reached the last eight without dropping a set, but from the start of his seventh successive Wimbledon quarter-final he looked flat. The 27-year-old is one of the game’s finest athletes, but at times his movement was lethargic in comparison with what we expect from him. Failing frequently to get into position to play his shots, Murray made 37 unforced errors.

Dimitrov repeatedly punished Murray’s weak second serves, launching himself into some huge returns. The world No 13 played a smart game, moving into the net when Murray gave him short balls to attack. The 23-year-old Bulgarian hit some beautifully judged volleys and flew around the court with impressive speed, even managing to win one point after falling over on the baseline.

 

“He was the better player from start to finish,” Murray admitted afterwards. “I made many unforced errors and then started going for too much and taking chances that weren’t really there. I think I hit maybe one backhand winner the entire match, which isn’t normally what I do, especially on this surface.”

He added: “The frustrating thing for me was the amount of mistakes I made today. Because even when I wanted to get into longer rallies I was missing shots. I was unable to make him work as hard as I needed to get back into the match. That’s what I was trying to do, but I couldn’t seem to get my legs in the right place to hit the right shots all the time.”

Video: Murray crashes out of Wimbledon

Murray had a break point in the opening game, but was soon in trouble. Successive forehand and backhand errors gave Dimitrov his first break of serve in the fourth game and he went 5-1 up after breaking again, this time  to love. Dimitrov took the  first set in emphatic fashion with a smash after just 25  minutes.

At the start of the match the Centre Court crowd had been in buoyant mood on a glorious afternoon, but a stadium which has rung to the sound of so many Murray cheers over the years was reduced to lengthy periods of near silence, punctuated only by despairing sighs, as the Scot’s mistakes multiplied.

Murray was broken again in the seventh game of the second set after two woeful backhands. The Scot’s spirits lifted briefly when he broke back for 4-4, but he had to save two break points three games later and was eventually outplayed in the tie-break, which Dimitrov took after winning the last three points.

When Murray served at 2-3 in the third set he was broken after losing three poor points in a row as he missed a forehand, put a backhand wide and double-faulted.

When he served again at 2-5 Murray handed Dimitrov two match points with another double-fault. He saved the first with a forehand winner down the line but netted a forehand on the second to give Dimitrov victory after just over two hours.

It had been a miserable afternoon for Murray, but he still had the presence of mind to remind his opponent to bow to the royal box on the way out of the stadium.

A courtside photographer said that he had heard Murray complaining to his entourage during the second set about something that had happened “five minutes before the match”, but Murray insisted afterwards that he  had felt good going into the contest.

“Right at the beginning of the match I had break points in the first game,” he said. “But my start to the match was poor and I think that gave him confidence. I should have done a better job at the beginning of the match of making it tougher for him and I didn’t manage to do that.

“Also, when I got back into the second set, at the end of the set, that was my opportunity there. He’d been up a break in the set and I’d come back. The momentum was starting to shift a little bit, but I couldn’t quite do it.”

Murray added: “The fire was still there. My game was just not where I would have liked it to be. I hit the ball well in practice the last day or two. I hit the ball fine in the warm-up this morning. That wasn’t a problem. I just played badly today. I’m disappointed with that.

“Obviously I have to have a think about maybe why that was. But often I think people overanalyse things and look at things in too much detail. I just didn’t play well today and he played much better than me from the beginning to the end. That’s not going to add up to a good day at the office.”

Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn