Andy Murray raised doubts over his future after losing in the third round at Wimbledon, leaving the grand slam with one question: "Is it worth it?".

Murray's Wimbledon journey came to an end on Friday following the former world number one's 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss to 10th seed Denis Shapovalov on Centre Court.

Making his first appearance in the main draw since he was the defending champion at Wimbledon in 2017, Murray's career has been devastated by injuries.

Murray underwent hip resurfacing in 2019 but the three-time grand slam champion has continued to be plagued by fitness problems.

After suffering his earliest Wimbledon exit since 2005, Murray was in a downbeat mood as he was left to ponder his next move.

"It was great playing in front of the crowds again," the 34-year-old said. "I got amazing support here. I'm very thankful for that. Something I have missed. It kind of reminds you why you do all of the work and everything.

"But then, on the flip side of that, the positive part is getting through the matches and feeling OK physically and not getting injured.

"That's good but then there is a part of me that feels a bit like I have put in so much work the last three months and ultimately didn't play how I would want and expect, and it’s like, is it worth it?

"Is all of that training and everything that you're doing in the gym, unless you're able to practise and improve your game and get matches and get a run of tournaments, is it worth all of the work that you're doing?

"There is part of me that feels like, yes, it is, because I had great memories and stuff from this event and playing in some brilliant atmospheres. But I finished the match tonight and I'm saying to my team, 'I'm just not happy with how I played'.

"So, unless me and my team can find a way of keeping me on the court for a consistent period of time and allow me to practise the way that I need to to compete with these guys, that's when the discussions about what I do next will come in.

"Because I have genuinely put a lot into this to get to this point, but I'm not being able to practise and prepare how I need to to perform how I would like at these events.

"I’m not expecting and saying I would beat Denis Shapovalov. He's a brilliant player. But I feel like I can do a lot better than what I did this evening."

Andy Murray's Wimbledon adventure is over – for this year at least – after Denis Shapovalov put an end to his challenge in a one-sided Centre Court clash.

The doughty two-time former champion insists retirement is not at the forefront of his mind, but a 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss to 10th seed Shapovalov was a fresh reminder of his current place in the tennis pecking order.

After hip resurfacing surgery gave Murray another shot at the career that at one stage looked all but over, it was a Wimbledon return which was high on his list of priorities.

This was Murray's first appearance in the singles since 2017, the year he was last defending champion.

Earlier this year the former world number one spoke of a belief that he could win the tournament for a third time, but he will be 35 by the time next year's championships come around and many have doubts about whether he will still be playing. He came into this fortnight at 118th in the rankings.

Not even the closure of the Centre Court roof could save Murray this time. That had been the spur, coincidentally or not, for his two previous late-night matches to swing around in the Scot's favour, as he saw off Nikoloz Basilashvili and then the unheralded German Oscar Otte to reach this last-32 stage.

Murray and Shapovalov went off after the second set of this contest, as evening turned to night in south-west London and the lights came on, but Murray did not return with super-human strengths this time, and his opponent raced to victory.

Shapovalov told Murray at the net that the Scot was his hero, and spoke eloquently about his appreciation of his comeback, and perhaps Murray would have quietly admired the Canadian's skill in moving in for the kill.

 

This match had been all one way for much of the first set too, but then Murray found a spark and pulled back from 5-1 adrift to 5-4, the crowd beginning to believe it could be his day again.

Murray believed too, of course, but this match proved a step too far for the champion of 2013 and 2016. There were flickers of Murray at his best, and he will represent Great Britain at the upcoming Olympics, where he is a two-time defending champion, but Murray's days of being a grand slam contender are, on the balance of probabilities, pretty much over.

His career has been a spectacular affair, and there was a familiar ovation as he departed Centre Court.

Shapovalov had rammed down an ace on match point, clinical in his despatching of the crowd's favourite.

Speaking at the end of the match, Shapovalov said in an on-court interview: "This is a dream come true for me.

"I've put countless years of hard work into every practice so that one day maybe I could play on Centre Court – to play against a legend like Andy today, to play a match like this. First of all, huge shout-outs to him. What he is doing nobody has ever done. He's truly an inspiration to many people, including me.

"I just told him at the net that he's my hero. Achievements aside, what he's been able to do in the sport with an injury like this and to play the tennis he's playing and moving the way he's moving.

"In his second match it was like vintage Andy and it was just so much fun to see as a fan. I was really excited and the first set today was super, super intense.

"It's incredible what he's done to make it to the third round like this and he's just starting back up so it's going to be amazing to see what he can do."

Andy Murray reveled in a raucous Centre Court atmosphere after he fought back to keep himself in Wimbledon contention.

Murray had to defy the odds once more to overcome qualifier Oscar Otte 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-2 in a thrilling contest which lasted almost four hours.

Having led by a set and a break, Murray squandered his advantage to Wimbledon debutant Otte, who capitalised on the Scot's slip ups to take a 2-1 lead by the time bad light forced the players off.

But the break did Murray the world of good, with the former world number one winning seven of the next nine games with the full backing of a thoroughly one-sided crowd under the closed roof.

The 34-year-old was leaping in joy and punching the air when he held off Otte to hold serve and take a 5-2 lead in the deciding set, before he sealed the win with a deft lob shot to prove he still has the quality to go with his spirit.

"I enjoyed the end! The middle part, not so much! What an atmosphere to play in at the end. The whole crowd was amazing but there was a few guys in there getting me fired up," a thrilled, yet drained, Murray told BBC Sport. 

"I needed everyone's help tonight, they did a great job. I hit some great shots at the end to finish it but it was a tough match."

Murray's battle with Otte came just two days after a similarly tough contest against Nikoloz Basilashvili, and despite starting Wednesday's second-round tie well, the two-time Wimbledon champion knows he almost let the match slip away.

"I had to do something differently and started going for my shots more, dictating more of my points, I was being a little bit negative," Murray said when asked if the break in play helped him recover.

"Because of the lack of matches, in the important moments I didn't make the right decision a lot of the time but I think I played the right way in the last couple of sets. The first set and a half was really good but there was just bits in the middle I'd like to change.

"Obviously tired, I fell over a couple of times, they're pretty slick courts but considering everything I feel all right, hips feel pretty good, I get a rest day tomorrow and hopefully will come out on Friday and play in another atmosphere like this and perform well."

Murray has already accumulated over seven hours of time on court over his first two matches, and he now faces 10th seed Denis Shapovalov, who was handed a walkover on Wednesday due to Pablo Andujar's rib injury.

Andy Murray made clear he is far from finished after overcoming a fourth-set wobble to upset 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round at Wimbledon.

The two-time champion at SW19 has seen his career beset by injury issues in recent years, with this his first appearance in the main draw since reaching the quarter-finals in 2017.

However, he won two matches at Queen’s Club ahead of the third grand slam of the season and treated the Centre Court crowd to a trip down memory lane on Monday, including a dramatic twist when seemingly on the brink of victory.

Having taken the first two sets, Murray somehow contrived to lose the third despite at one stage holding a 5-0 lead. The sudden collapse sent nerves jangling among the spectators as the roof was closed at the venue, but he responded impressively to the setback to triumph 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3.

Speaking during his on-court interview after the triumph, the Scotsman once again reiterated he has no plans to make this year his Wimbledon swansong.

"It's been extremely tough. Even these last few months. It has been extremely frustrating not being able to get on the court," Murray said.

"I've had such little momentum over these last few years. I've kept trying, doing all the right things to be back in this position. I feel very lucky I get to do it again.

"I keep getting asked is this going to be my last Wimbledon. I don't know why I keep getting asked, though. No, I'm going to keep on playing.

"I want to play, I'm enjoying it. I can still play at the highest level. He is ranked 28th in the world and I beat him, so I will keep going."

Basilashvili saved two match points as he somehow survived in the third set by winning seven games in a row, though Murray responded to the setback impressively.

"I did well to win the fourth set in the end because that was mentally not easy going to the locker room after losing that third," Murray added.

Next up will be either Oscar Otte or Arthur Rinderknech, their contest having been locked at 9-9 in the deciding set when play on the opening day was suspended on the outside courts.

Andy Murray plays his first Wimbledon singles match in four years on Monday – with the journey back to Centre Court hailed as an equivalent achievement to his grand slam titles.

The former world number one has battled through injuries that threatened to end his career, so it will be a remarkable feat when he walks out to face Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Murray, who has won Wimbledon twice and the US Open once, as well as landing two Olympic gold medals in singles, underwent hip resurfacing in 2019 but has continued to be plagued by fitness problems.

The tribute to the resilience of the 34-year-old came from women's British number one Johanna Konta, who was cruelly ruled out of Wimbledon on Sunday when a close contact tested positive for COVID-19.

Konta, who spoke to Stats Perform before receiving that painful news, reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017, the last year Murray played singles at the All England Club.

He was fit enough to play doubles in 2019, partnering Serena Williams in the mixed event, but a billing on the main show court promises to be an emotional occasion for a player who is struggling to repeat past glories.

"I think Andy really represents tenacity and perseverance," said Konta, a Jaguar ambassador.

"He loves this game, he loves winning in this game, he loves being good and great in this game. I think he will keep doing everything he can to keep putting himself back into position to be great."

 

"I think maybe bringing the attention more on the fact he is trying to do that, with the challenges he's had, is what we should be celebrating and we should be really acknowledging.

"I think this is probably equally as difficult as when he won his slams and his gold medals.

"I think it's on a par with that achievement. I think and hope people can see that and really acknowledge it because he really deserves that."


:: Johanna Konta is a Jaguar ambassador. Jaguar is the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon. To discover Jaguar’s unmatched experiences visit jaguar.co.uk/Wimbledon

After an enforced hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, tennis returns to SW19.

Novak Djokovic makes his way back to Wimbledon as the defending champion and with the men's grand slam record firmly in his sight.

Djokovic conquered Rafael Nadal en route to French Open glory and his 19th slam crown – one shy of the record shared by rivals Nadal and Roger Federer.

With Nadal and Dominic Thiem absent, Djokovic's path to a 20th major trophy has opened up in London.

The women's title is up for grabs after holder Simona Halep withdrew, and Serena Williams can still dream of making history.

As all eyes shift to the All England Club, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind this year's slam, using Opta data.

 

Dominant Djokovic

World number one and top seed Djokovic begins his title defence against promising Briton Jack Draper in the first round.

French Open champion Djokovic has won four of the last six Wimbledon tournaments, including each of the past two – the last player to win more at Wimbledon in a row was Federer between 2003 and 2007 (five).

A five-time Wimbledon winner, Djokovic is the only man to have won the first two grand slam tournaments of a calendar year over the last 25 years, doing it in 2016 and 2021. The last man to win the first three grand slams of a calendar year was Rod Laver during his Grand Slam in 1969.

The 2019 Wimbledon final was the first slam decider to be decided by a final set tie-break, with Djokovic beating Federer 7-3 in that tiebreak, while it was also the longest final in Wimbledon history (four hours, 57 minutes).

No man has won Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since Nadal in 2010.

 

Federer farewell?

The curtain appears to be closing on all-time great Federer, who withdrew from the French Open after a draining four-set win over Dominik Koepfer to preserve his body for the grass season.

This year's Wimbledon could be the 39-year-old's final realistic shot at a grand slam as Djokovic bids to become the greatest of all.

Seeded sixth, Federer – who meets Adrian Mannarino first up – has won the most Wimbledon titles among all male players in the slam's history.

Federer will aim to win his 21st grand slam, which would break a tie with Nadal for the outright men's record.

 

The 'Big Four' and their stranglehold

Injuries have forced two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to fall out of the equation but there has been no getting past the original 'Big Four'.

Among the men, the last 17 years of Wimbledon has been dominated by the same four players – Federer (eight titles), Djokovic (five), Nadal (two), Murray (two). The last winner at Wimbledon before them was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

Since Wimbledon in 2004, only one of the 68 slams has not seen at least one of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal in the semi-finals – it was at the US Open last year.

The new generation is headlined by grand slam runners-up Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev has never passed the third round at Wimbledon, though his two defeats at that stage have both been in five sets. The Russian second seed has reached at least the quarter-finals in three of his last four major tournaments, after reaching that stage in only one of his previous 13.

Beaten by Djokovic in the Roland Garros final, Tsitsipas has reached the semi-finals in his last three slams, having done so only once in his previous 12. The third seed has never reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, however.

Wimbledon is the only slam where fourth seed Alexander Zverev is yet to reach the quarter-final, his best result being a fourth-round performance in 2017. Since the beginning of 2020, he has advanced to the semi-finals in three slam tournaments, after never doing it in his previous 18 such major main-draw appearances.

 

Serena's ongoing quest

The queen of WTA tennis for so long, Serena Williams is one slam success away from matching Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles championships. But the 39-year-old has been stuck on 23 since reigning supreme at the Australian Open in 2017.

Williams, who lost in the French Open fourth round, has won seven Wimbledon titles (level with Steffi Graf) – only Martina Navratilova has more in the Open Era (nine).

American superstar Williams has been a Wimbledon runner-up in 2018 and 2019. Chris Evert is the only player in the Open Era to have lost three consecutive Wimbledon finals (between 1978 and 1980).

Williams, the sixth seed who will clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening round, is looking to become only the second woman to win 100 Wimbledon singles matches (currently 98), alongside Navratilova (120). She could also become the first woman to reach 100-plus wins in two different majors (106 wins at the US Open).

From the first Wimbledon final reached by one Williams sister in 2000 (won by Venus against Lindsay Davenport), only in four of 20 editions has neither of the two sisters reached the decider – in 2006 (Amelie Mauresmo-Justine Henin), 2011 (Petra Kvitova-Maria Sharapova), 2013 (Marion Bartoli-Sabine Lisicki) and 2014 (Kvitova-Eugenie Bouchard).

 

Barty party?

Former French Open champion Ash Barty heads to Wimbledon as the top seed and will kick off her title bid against veteran Carla Suarez Navarro.

However, world number one Barty has never reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Reaching the 2019 fourth round was her best result. The last Australian woman to reach the quarters at Wimbledon was Jelena Dokic in 2000.

The top seed in the Wimbledon women's singles main draw has been eliminated in the first round just three times in the Open Era – Graf in 1994, Martina Hingis in 1999 and Hingis again in 2001.

Wimbledon is the only major won by Kvitova in her career (2011 and 2014). She is one among the three current players with multiple titles at the All England Club, alongside Serena and Venus Williams.

Karolina Pliskova was the woman with the most aces per match made on average at Wimbledon 2019 (9.0, 36 in total) among players who reached the third round.

Novak Djokovic will start the defence of his Wimbledon title against British wildcard Jack Draper, and Serena Williams takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round.

Djokovic is just one grand slam title away from matching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's record tally of 20 after winning the Australian Open and French Open this year.

The world number one will take on 19-year-old Draper, a quarter-finalist at Queen's Club last week, in his first match at SW19 for two years after the 2020 championships were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic faces a potential quarter-final against Andrey Rublev, while Federer could come up against second seed Daniil Medvedev in last eight.

 

First up for eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer is an encounter with Adrian Mannarino, while injury-plagued two-time winner Andy Murray will start his home major against the 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, beaten by Djokovic in a thrilling French Open final this month, has been drawn to face American Frances Tiafoe in round one of a tournament that gets under way on Monday.

Simona Halep announced just before the draw was made on Friday that she would not defend her title due to a calf injury.

Williams, runner-up to Halep in the 2019 final, must get past Sasnovich of Belarus in the first round and could face third seed Elina Svitolina at the quarter-final stage.

World number one and top seed Ash Barty takes on Carla Suarez Navarro, who made a grand slam return at Roland Garros after recovering from cancer. Barty could come up against Bianca Andreescu in the last eight.

Petra Kvitova against Sloane Stephens is a standout first-round match, while Coco Gauff's first assignment will be a meeting with 20-year-old Briton Fran Jones.

Andy Murray has been selected as part of six-strong Great Britain tennis squad for the upcoming Olympic Games.

The Scot, a two-time winner in men's singles and the current champion, will have another opportunity to strike gold when he competes in Tokyo.

Murray is set to appear at his fourth Olympics having also been part of the squad for Beijing 2008 prior to victories at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

On his inclusion, he said: "The Olympics means a huge amount to me, it’s a massive honour to be able to compete at a fourth Games. 

"Leading Team GB out at the Opening Ceremony five years ago in Rio was one of the highlights of my career. 

"Going to a second Olympics as defending champion is exciting and I’m looking forward to the challenge."

Murray will also compete in the men's doubles alongside Joe Salisbury, an Olympic debutant and two-time Grand Slam doubles winner - most recently in the French Open mixed event.

Current GB number one Dan Evans is also part of the men's line-up, and is set to compete in both the singles and doubles events this summer.

His partner in the latter will be two-time Grand Slam doubles semi-finalist Neal Skupski who, like Evans, is set to appear at his first Games.

GB's women's representatives are Heather Watson and Johanna Konta, who are appearing at their third and second Olympic Games respectively.

Both players will compete in the women's singles event and team up for the doubles.

Team GB chef de mission Mark England said: “It’s a huge privilege to announce our tennis players for Team GB. 

"The calibre of the team gets stronger with every Games and it is great to see a mix of returning and first time Olympians. 

"Two-time Olympic Champion Andy Murray was our flag bearer in Rio and he continues to lead by example through his commitment to the Olympic Games and Team GB in what will be his fourth Olympics. 

"We are also delighted to welcome back Heather and Johanna as returning Olympians, and I am sure they will all pass on the best of their insight to Dan, Joe and Neal."

Andy Murray is hopeful 2021 will prove not to be his last appearance at Wimbledon.

The two-time tournament winner has been handed a wildcard for the grass-court grand slam in London, which was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Murray also missed the 2018 and 2019 tournaments due to injury, so this year will be his first Wimbledon outing since reaching the quarter-finals in 2017, when the ailing Briton suffered a five-set defeat to Sam Querrey.

Ahead of his first Wimbledon appearance in four years, the 34-year-old hopes to play in many more, though he will savour the experience and take nothing for granted given his recent injury woe.

"To me it's not so much about me worrying about it being my last one, it's just something that I think about," Murray told Sky News.

"I don't want it to be my last Wimbledon, certainly I want to keep playing, I don't want to stop just now, so yeah I want to keep going.

"I've had so many injuries and so many setbacks you just don't really know what's round the corner.

"I want to approach each tournament and each match that I play like it's my last one so that I can get the most out of it.

"So that's why I want to prepare here well. I'm going into the bubble on Wednesday evening so I'm going to get there early to practise at Wimbledon. 

"Hopefully I've got some high quality practices – I'm practising with Marin Cilic and I practise with Roger Federer later in the week.

"I'm just trying to play with high quality grass court players to prepare me as best as possible." 

 

Murray, who has undergone two hip surgeries since he last played at Wimbledon, earned an impressive win on the grass over Benoit Paire at Queen's last week.

He then lost in straight sets to eventual champion Matteo Berrettini in round two.

As long as he can prepare properly and remain competitive, three-time grand slam champion Murray, who has also previously won the US Open, wants to battle on.

He added: "It's more about the body if I'm restricted in how I can prepare. 

"If I can't prepare properly to compete then that's when it's not fair on yourself to keep putting yourself out there, because you're not properly prepared and can't do yourself justice.

"So if that was the case and I was having to compromise on my training just to get out there on a match court and my results weren't good – that is something I'd look at. 

"But providing I can train and prepare well and I'm enjoying it I'll do it for as long as I can."

Top seed Matteo Berrettini beat Andy Murray to reach the quarter-finals at Queen's Club and Ugo Humbert upset Alexander Zverev at the Halle Open on Thursday.

Murray, a five-time champion at Queen's, was beaten 6-3 6-3 by Italian Berrettini as the three-time grand slam champion struggled a day on from being given a Wimbledon wildcard.

The former world number one beat Benoit Paire in his first ATP Tour singles match since March on Tuesday, but the 34-year-old revealed he is still being troubled by a groin injury after his loss to Berrettini and knows he must raise his game.

Murray said: "I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good. That's the thing that I'll need to improve the most.

"Then there is still a slight niggle in the groin, so [I have] to try to get rid of that discomfort between now and Wimbledon. I need to be playing points, basically. I played two sets in preparation for this event.

"I do feel like I genuinely have been hitting the ball well in practice, but then like today when you're under a bit more pressure and stuff and you're having to make very split-second decisions when you're on the court, if the guy is serving 140 miles an hour, like, it's difficult to prepare for that."

Dan Evans made history earlier in the day, getting the better of Adrian Mannarino 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

With Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie having already progressed, Evans' win ensured there will be three Britons in the singles quarter-finals for the first time in the Open Era.

Feliciano Lopez will not retain his title in London after the Spaniard went down 6-2 6-3 to second seed Denis Shapovalov. Spanish veteran Lopez won in 2019, with last year's tournament cancelled due to the pandemic.

There will be no glory on home soil in Halle for German Zverev, who was taken out 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3 by unseeded Frenchman Humbert.

Humbert has now beaten a top-10 player on every surface, with Zverev serving 20 aces but bowing out after his 22-year-old opponent claimed the only break of the final set.

Sebastian Korda battled past Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-3 7-5 in Halle, while Lloyd Harris also moved into the last eight at Lukas Lacko's expense.

Former world number ones Andy Murray and Venus Williams have been given Wimbledon wildcards.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray missed the French Open to focus on the grass-court season, having been troubled by a groin injury.

The 34-year-old Brit, ranked 124th in the world, was emotional after beating Benoit Paire 6-2 6-2 in his first ATP Tour singles match since March on Tuesday.

Murray's career was in doubt after he underwent hip resurfacing in 2019, but the 34-year-old double Wimbledon champion will play in his home major at the All England Club.

Williams, a winner of five Wimbledon singles titles and a six-time doubles champion at the grass-court major, also received a wild card after dropping out of the top 100 in the rankings.

The 40-year-old American will be in the singles draw 21 years after winning her first Wimbledon title.

Wimbledon did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will be the first major outdoor sports in England to be staged with full capacity crowds for the finals weekend of July 10-11.

The Championships will start at SW19 on June 28 with 50 per cent capacity across the venue grounds, Centre Court and No.1 Court. Smaller show courts will be allowed to open at 75 per cent capacity from day one.

From the fourth round, the aim is to increase allocations for Centre Court and No.1 Court, rising to 100 per cent for the finals.

Andy Murray had to hold back the emotion as he celebrated a winning return to the ATP Tour at Queen's.

Murray had hip surgery in 2019 and had not won a grass-court game since 2018, with last year's season having been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Having struggled with a groin injury, the 34-year-old Scot last played in March, yet showed flashes of his old self in his 6-3 6-2 victory over Benoit Paire, having taking up a wildcard into the pre-Wimbledon tournament.

It was an emotional moment for Murray, who said: "Look, I love playing tennis."

The five-time champion was fighting back the tears as he continued: "Obviously, competing is why you put in all the hard work.

"The last few years, I've not got to do that as much as I would have liked so, yeah it's just great that I'm out here and able to compete again.

"The body is old, but I did quite well today in terms of my movement.

"It's my first match on grass in three years and I've only played three or four practice sets in the build-up to this, so I didn't know exactly how I was going to play or feel – but I think for a first match it was good."

Murray will face top seed and world number nine Matteo Berrettini, who defeated Stefano Travaglia 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4).

British number one Dan Evans beat Alexei Popyrin, while fourth seed Alex de Minaur also progressed to round two, having come from behind against Laslo Djere. Second seed Denis Shapovalov overcame Aleksandar Vukic.

Tuesday's results mean, for the first time since 2005, four British players have won at Queen's, with Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper having gone through on Monday.

Meanwhile, after losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open quarter-finals, world number two Daniil Medvedev crashed out of the Halle Open in the first round.

Jan-Lennard Struff was his conqueror, claiming a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 triumph, which the German labelled as "the biggest win of my career."

There was better luck for third seed Alexander Zverev, though he did need three sets to see off Dominik Koepfer 6-4 3-6 6-3, just four days after facing Tsitsipas in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

Ugo Humbert awaits Zverev, while Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Hubert Hurkacz to tee up a tie with Roger Federer. World number seven Andrey Rublev got the better of Karen Khachanov.

Andy Murray could hold the key to Iga Swiatek converting her clay-court mastery to the grass of Wimbledon.

Reigning French Open champion Swiatek has powered through to the quarter-finals this year at Roland Garros, and the 20-year-old looks the player to beat.

But soon attentions will switch from the clay in Paris to the grass of London, and Swiatek feels she could do with some pointers.

As Swiatek wrapped up a straight-sets win over Marta Kostyuk on Monday in Paris, Murray tweeted, "Love watching @iga_swiatek", followed by a heart emoji.

Swiatek responded: "Thank you Sir Andy! Are you by any chance up for a practice? I really need to improve my skills on grass."

Andy Roddick is also a fan of the 20-year-old Polish player, with the former US Open winner responding to Murray's initial tweet by saying: "Agreed. She is awesome."

Murray has been champion twice at Wimbledon, beating Novak Djokovic in 2013 and Milos Raonic in 2016.

It remains to be seen how Swiatek gets on when she heads to the All England Club, having made only one previous appearance there in the women's singles, losing in the first round to Viktorija Golubic two years ago.

She can point to some proven prowess, however, having been girls' champion in 2018.

Swiatek has a French Open campaign to complete before she can seriously begin to think about the grass, with a last-eight clash against Maria Sakkari coming up on Wednesday.

Roger Federer returned a compliment to Andy Murray and looked ahead to a potential grass-court meeting the morning after a gruelling third-round win at Roland Garros.

Federer made round four at the French Open but was so drained by the experience that he suggested he could yet withdraw from the tournament as he looks to build up fitness ahead of Wimbledon.

The Swiss superstar entered the clay-court major with a 1-2 record for the year, most recently losing to Pablo Andujar in Geneva last month.

However, Federer has strung together three straight wins in Paris, beating Dominik Koepfer in the last 32 in a match that finished in the early hours of Sunday in the French capital.

The match started at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT), in line with a coronavirus-enforced curfew that ensured the stands were empty on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Despite the strange experience and a determined opponent, Federer came through in four sets after three tie-breaks to continue his pursuit of a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

During the match, which finished at close to 01:00 local time (00:00 GMT), fellow great Murray posted on Twitter: "I'm not bothered by the outcome of this match at all.

"Just seeing Federer at 39 off the back of two knee surgeries playing to an empty stadium at 12:30am getting fired up is inspirational to me. Do what you [love]."

Murray himself has overcome a series of major injuries to remain on the ATP Tour, even backtracking on a retirement pledge in 2019.

So, Federer replied on Sunday: "Thank you Sir Andy, the feeling is mutual. You gotta love it. See you on the [grass]."

There was no further comment on potentially quitting the French Open, where Federer is appearing for only the second time since the start of 2016 – he made the semi-finals two years ago.

His sublime major form has slowed over the past decade, making only nine finals compared to 22 in the previous 10 years.

If Federer is able to continue, he faces a tough ask on Monday, taking on Matteo Berrettini, who has become the first Italian to reach the last 16 of all four slams in the Open Era.

Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the US Open, the Olympic Games, Indian Wells: this year's tennis calendar is not lacking in red-ringed dates.

But August 8 and September 26 are majorly notable in that they will mark the 40th birthdays of Roger Federer and Serena Williams, respectively.

Federer's birthday falls on the final day of the Tokyo Olympics, while Williams reaches the same landmark a fortnight after the US Open women's singles final.

Both have kept their future plans quiet, but it would come as no major surprise if one, or both, were to retire by the end of the year.

Fellow grand slam greats Venus Williams, Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters may also be a matter of months away from bowing out of the professional ranks.

Will life after tennis begin at 40 for Williams and Federer, or could the superstar pair return to the French Open in 2022?

Stats Perform looked at the players who may be considering their futures, what they still want to achieve, and their prospects of attaining those remaining goals.
 

Federer's final fling?

Ahead of his 30th, Federer was asked what it felt like to hit such a milestone.

"Birthdays happen. They're part of life," Federer said. "I'm happy I'm getting older. I'd rather be 30 than 20, to be honest. To me it's a nice time."

A decade on, Federer may be similarly equanimous about hitting 40. Family life is good, he'll never need to borrow a dollar, and he has advanced from 16 grand slams to 20.

But the knees would sooner be 30 than 40, and Federer, remarkable sportsman though he is, is coming to the end of the line in his tennis career. It will hurt the Fedfans to think so, but all the evidence points to it. We are probably witnessing a lap of honour.

Having won Roland Garros only once at his peak, we can surely forget the prospect of any heroics in Paris. Federer needs to win a few rounds though, in order to be sharp and battle-hardened for the grass season. Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open are events where you might give a fit Federer a chance, even at such a veteran age, but he has played only three matches since the 2020 Australian Open, losing two of those.

Target: Federer has never settled for second best, so he will want to be a tournament winner again, no doubt about it. The hunger does not go away after 20 grand slams, but it can be more difficult to sate.

Prospects: Slim, but not forlorn. So much of Federer's game is about feel and ease of movement, and assuming that knee surgery last year means the body is in good shape again, he should be able to call on those staples of his game. Key missing ingredients are the confidence that comes with beating rivals, and match fitness. Federer's 1,243 wins and 103 singles titles count for an awful lot still, and there could be one final hurrah before the Swiss great signs off.


Serena still one short of Court

From precocious teenager to queen of the tour, Williams' tennis journey has been a 25-year odyssey and there is nobody more driven to succeed than the great American.

It must be an intense frustration that she remains rooted on 23 grand slams, one short of Margaret Court's record haul, and the four grand slam final losses she has suffered while on that mark have been cruel blows.

As her 40th birthday approaches, it would not be a surprise if Williams reached that target, but what once felt inevitable now only has the air of being a possibility. She is becoming less of a factor when looking at title favourites, but Williams is still capable of beating top players, still a threat wherever she shows up.

Target: The 24th slam remains the must-have for Williams. Tour titles feel like an irrelevance, and Williams has won just one of those since January 2017, her calendar built around peaking for the majors since returning from giving birth to daughter Olympia.

Prospects: Beating Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep at the Australian Open demonstrated Williams still has the game for the big stage, and a semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka, to whom she has now lost in three of four encounters, should not particularly detract from that. Williams is playing on clay primarily to get in great shape for grass, because Wimbledon, where she plays the surface with a command that others can only envy, is where that elusive 24th slam looks most likely to come.


Amid losing streak, tennis waits to learn what Venus infers

Some suspect that the Williams sisters, having arrived on tour together, might bow out at the same time too. Venus has won 49 WTA Tour-level titles but has recently slipped out of the top 100 for the first time since early 2012. Ahead of turning 41 in June, it is hard to see her being a reliable force again.

The seven-time slam winner will be needing wildcards for the grand slams unless the wins start to flow, and naturally she should have no trouble getting those backdoor tournament entries, but for a player of her stature, losing in the first round most weeks can offer little satisfaction.

It is 21 years since Venus' greatest tennis summer, when she won the Wimbledon, Stanford, San Diego, New Haven, US Open and Olympics singles titles, along with doubles glory alongside Serena at the Olympics and Wimbledon.

Nevertheless, she said at the Australian Open in February: "I'm trying to get better every day. I think that no matter what happens to you in life, you always hold your head up high, you give a hundred million percent. That's what I do every single day. That's something that I can be proud of."

Target: Venus last won a singles slam in 2008, so forget that. A run to the second week of a slam is not entirely unimaginable, or she could stun a big name early on. Venus will want to wring every last drop from her career, but you suspect more than that, she would love to be there to watch her little sister win that 24th slam.

Prospects: Since a second-round exit to Elina Svitolina at the 2019 US Open, Venus has won only four matches at WTA level, and she is presently on a run of five consecutive defeats, which began with a 6-1 6-0 trouncing by Sara Errani at the last-64 stage of the Australian Open. Her last Wimbledon appearance resulted in a first-round loss to the then 15-year-old Coco Gauff two years ago, so even hopes of a resurgence at the event she has won five times appear somewhat remote.


We wish you a Murray summer

Once a grand slam nearly man, Murray banished that reputation with his US Open triumph and twin Wimbledon titles, not to mention the two Olympic gold medals, the Davis Cup victory, and the 14 Masters 1000 tournaments he won along the way, a big-time champion on every surface.

What a career, and it deserves a fitting ending. Murray is battling one injury after another and will miss the French Open, hoping his tired frame holds up to see him through Queen's Club, Wimbledon, the Olympic hat-trick bid and the US Open.

Target: He would probably say another slam is possible, if he can get healthy and stay that way. The 'if' there is doing an awful lot of heavy lifting though.

Prospects: Should Murray manage to stay injury-free, then it will be enthralling to see what he can achieve. However, since an unexpected title in Antwerp in October 2019, he has won just four matches on the ATP Tour and one in the Davis Cup. The resurfaced hip, the troublesome groin, the pains of being Andy Murray aged 34 are proving wearing on the Scot. If he is fit enough to feature at Wimbledon, it would be a joy to see him play even just one more great singles match on Centre Court. Admirers must hope Murray follows the pattern of his career by exceeding expectations, which are logically low.


Kim wildcard wonder?

If you missed the Clijsters comeback, it is hardly surprising, given she returned to the WTA tour after a near eight-year absence just weeks before the pandemic shut down tennis, and she has barely been seen since. The three-time US Open winner was dealt bum draws in her comeback year but gave Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta and Ekaterina Alexandrova enough to think about in the course of three first-round defeats.

Since losing behind closed doors in three sets to Alexandrova at the US Open, Clijsters has undergone knee surgery and had COVID-19, and she does not plan to play again until after Wimbledon.

Target: If Clijsters, who turns 38 in June, can build up form and fitness, then some kinder draws would be a fitting reward for persistence. She could have quietly called time on this comeback, but the former world number one is a fighter, and it would be fitting, perhaps, if her career were to end with a night session match in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Court at Flushing Meadows. The Belgian's intentions are not entirely clear, but that prospect must have crossed her mind.

Prospects: The New York wildcard would be assured if Clijsters can show she is in any sort of form, given her US Open history. Clijsters' immediate potential is entirely unclear, but she had the highest game-winning percentage (66.7 per cent) of any woman in World Team Tennis last year, and Jessica Pegula, Sofia Kenin and Jennifer Brady were all part of that competition. Bring that game to a major and we're talking.

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