Wimbledon - Was 'off-court' issue behind Murray's defeat?

Andy Murray surrendered his Wimbledon title meekly after a straight sets defeat to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and one report claims an 'off-court' issue may have played a part.

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Wimbledon - Was 'off-court' issue behind Murray's defeat?
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Andy Murray (AFP)

WHAT HAPPENED

With the dust still settling on 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios's fourth-round demolition of world No.1 Rafael Nadal, Dimitrov caused the second seismic shock on Centre Court in the space of 24 hours by outclassing Murray 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2.

The Briton's shattering defeat means that two of the so-called Big Four in men's tennis have departed in quick succession from the grasscourt grand slam, both walloped by members of a brash new generation of big hitters with no fear and scant regard for reputations.

"Everyone's starting to get better," a downbeat Murray said. "The younger guys are now obviously becoming more mature and improving all the time."

It's one thing surrendering your crown, but to suffer such a remorseless beating on your own turf in front of Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, was especially galling.

Now the Daily Telegraph are suggesting that an issue off the court may have led to Murray's seemingly distracted performance.

The Telegraph reports that: "During the quarter-final match, Murray, who had appeared in top form during the early rounds, was heard to shout 'shut the f--- up' and was seen muttering under his breath. Later, when he was 4-2 down in the third set, he was heard shouting 'five minutes before the f------ match' – giving the impression there had been some sort of incident during his pre-match preparations."

Dimitrov for his part said that he felt something was "not right" about Murray when they were practising in the warm-up.

“I have practised quite a few times with [Murray] and I know how he is striking the ball when he is at his best, I know how he is playing when he is not at his best. I think it’s just a feeling that I had."

EUROSPORT'S VIEW

Dimitrov beating Murray is not that big a surprise. The young Bulgarian has shown his pedigree on grass by winning the Queen's Club event in the run-up to Wimbledon, while he also was victorious here in the 2008 junior event. However, it is the manner of Murray's defeat that raises serious questions. He has now not beaten a player in the Top 10 since last year's triumph and will slip outside of the top 10 after this defeat. Injuries and a general Wimbledon hangover have no doubt played their part but it can no longer be considered a mere blip, Murray has problems that needs to address.

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WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

The pressure is increased on new coach Amelie Mauresmo to try and find out what is wrong with Murray's game and to fix them – that is if she keeps her job. Ladbrokes have slashed the odds on her getting the sack before next year's Australian Open to just 1/5. Ladbrokes spokesperson Jessica Bridge told Bettingpro.com: “Whatever Mauresmo has been brought in to do simply hasn't worked. After poor tournaments at both Queen's and Wimbledon it's long odds-on that Murray will be searching for a new coach sooner rather than later.”

Dimitrov next plays Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals which will obviously be a huge test for him - but it is not one that is not completely insurmountable. If he did upset the tournament favourite then that could very well be the tag he takes into the final, even if he faces seven-times champion Roger Federer in the decider.

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WHAT THE MEDIA SAID

Neil Harman (The Times): Andy Murray walked on to the greatest stage in tennis and forgot all his lines. A dethroned Wimbledon champion will take the next few days to consider if Amélie Mauresmo remains the person who can help to turn him back into a grand-slam champion. A full year has gone by since Murray won a title — the title – and his straight-sets defeat by Grigor Dimitrov, the No 11 seed from Bulgaria, in the quarter-finals had several of the most prominent judges in the game scratching their heads as to why he performed so poorly.

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Paul Newman (The Independent): 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.

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