ANDY MURRAY’s Wimbledon hopes were flushed down the SW19 pan by toilet-gate foe Stefanos Tsitsipas.
On the 10-year anniversary of his first Championship success on the hallowed Centre Court grass, the Scot was eliminated 7-6 6-7 4-6 7-6 6-4 from this delayed second-round encounter.
Stefanos Tsitsipas came from behind to win the five-set thriller
Andy Murray was despondent after missing the chance to win the match in the fourth set tie-break
Murray’s serve let him down on a frustrating afternoon on Centre Court
Andy Murray waves goodbye to the crowd after his crushing defeat
For the second year in a row, Murray has disappointingly departed Wimbledon at this early stage of the competition.
Once again he has failed to remain in the mix come the second week of a Slam – the last time that happened was six years ago.
And this heart-breaking loss means he cannot saviour a small measure of revenge for that infamous US Open battle two years ago when he responded furiously over the length of time Tsitsipas spent in the LOO.
Though he had told us all on the eve of this event that he was one of the best grass-court players in the world – despite all his physical setbacks and hip surgeries – he was unable to make it count in the decisive moments.
Murray, 36, had been aiming to take the scalp of the highest-ranked opponent since overcoming No.1 seed Novak Djokovic in the historic 2013 final.
But despite trailing 2-1 overnight, No.5 seed Tsitispas stepped up the gears in sets four and five to move into the third round where he will face Serbian Laslo Djere.
This clash had been suspended at 10.39pm on Thursday night after Murray had just clinched the third set.
When the £100million Centre Court roof was built in 2009, the planning application approved by Merton Council included the condition that there would be an 11pm curfew on live play for the benefit of local residents.
And nobody, not even the country’s greatest ever racquet star, gets an exception to that strict ruling.
There had been genuine concerns over Murray’s fitness when he went down in agony, clutching his groin and screaming out in agony.
Everyone naturally feared the worst, particularly as he has a metal hip implant, but he returned on Friday afternoon showing no sign of physical distress.
Yet ultimately there was only frustration and screams of anger as he was unable to carve any match points in the fourth-set tie-break against the Athens ace.
And being broken in game three of the deciding set ultimately proved to be his downfall.
With more than four-and-a-half hours on the match clock, Tsitsipas sealed his progress with a 122mph ace.
As he walked off to a standing ovation, bag slung over his shoulder, you wondered if this will turn out to be Murray’s farewell to the place where he remains immortal.
Though the mind and spirit are willing, will his creaking body permit him at least one more appearance in Wimbledon whites on Centre Court?
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