LONDON (AFP) – Andy Murray suffered his earliest Wimbledon exit in 16 years on Friday (July 2) when the two-time champion was knocked out in the third round by world number 12 Denis Shapovalov.
Murray, who has been battling a lengthy fight against hip and groin injuries and is now ranked at 118, went down 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
It was the first time the 2013 and 2016 champion had lost in the third round since his debut as an 18-year-old in 2005.
Canadian 22-year-old Shapovalov will face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I told Andy at the net that he is my hero,” said Shapovalov.
Former world number one Murray, taking part in the singles tournament for the first time since 2017, was playing just his eighth match on the main tour in 2021.
He had needed five sets to beat German qualifier Oscar Otte on Wednesday night under the Centre Court roof.
However, against Shapovalov, 12 years his junior, Murray’s famous steely competitive edge was not enough.
The Canadian left-hander stormed to a 5-1 lead in the first set before Murray gallantly clawed his way back to 5-4.
Shapovalov held his nerve to take the opener and was soon 4-0 up in the second set which he comfortably pocketed.
As darkness fell, the Centre Court roof was closed but Murray, desperately short of matches in just his second event since March, went down to defeat on Shapovalov’s 13th ace of the tie.
“Andy’s achievements aside, to come back from injury and to be able to play a first set like that, it was super intense,” said Shapovalov after firing 45 winners to Murray’s 16.
“It’s incredible for him to get to the third round and to see what he can do.”