August 31, 2021
Andy Murray bowed out after enhancing his reputation in a stunning and ultimately bad-tempered drama in New York.
The result was expected but the level of performance from the Brit was something no one could have foreseen.
He could and perhaps should have won the match in straight sets.
As it was, nearly five hours of scintillating action made it one of Murray’s longest ever Grand Slam matches.
If he can still summon such heroics in the USA, what can a revitalised Andy Murray achieve at Wimbledon 2022?
He inspired and urged the Arthur Ashe crowd into superb support.
Murray had won this Slam before and Flushing Meadows is a happy home from home.
His dream of beating the world number three in this massive stadium so nearly became a reality.
Time and sporting tide gradually turned against him, though.
As Andy’s fizz slowly went flat, a seemingly eternal bathroom break taken by Stefanos Tsitsipas before the deciding set sparked fury in the Scot.
There were accusations that the Greek god had bent the rules too far and strayed beyond mere gamesmanship.
Murray said he ‘lost respect’ for his opponent in that moment. In fact Andy said much, much more out on court – and some of it certainly isn’t repeatable here.
It should be emphasised that Stef acted within the rules. He later claimed that it took him nearly eight minutes to change his clothes and walk back out onto court.
Make of that what you will. But Murray may have known deep down, as his body cooled minute by crucial minute, that his chances were slowly draining away.
Let’s not allow the simmering subplot to detract from this extraordinary match, however.
Tsitsipas triumphed 2-6, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and deserves praise for his comeback.
He shouldn’t have been allowed to find his best late on.
Andy Murray blew the younger man away in the first set and should have taken the second.
He had two successive set-points in the breaker and netted on the first.
That moment of tightening probably cost Andy the match when all was said and done.
The fact that he was so dominant in the third told us plenty.
We can probably safely say that Andy Murray in his prime would have beaten this Stefanos Tsitsipas comfortably.
Even at 34, he outgunned the more powerful man early on and beat him for court-craft too.
After all he has been through, Murray will look back at yet another magnificent night. This is why he still plays.
Two sets won against a top five player! He hadn’t taken a single one since playing Stan Wawrinka in 2017 so this is significant progress.
This gives Andy Murray hope.
This gives his supporters back in the UK optimism too.
Murray could do special things at Wimbledon 2022.
He just needs a run of matches without any further niggling injuries.
His movement and court coverage are back to fantastic.
His serve was often sensational.
Andy Murray can feel very proud this morning.
We are! Can’t wait to see you at Wimbledon 2022 Andy.
Tsitsipas will be nearing his peak next year too.
What entertainment awaits!
Will you be there too?