Once Murray had made it back to the locker-room, however, his coach Jamie Delgado must surely have accentuated the positive. Remember that he was up against the world No4 in Zverev – the highest-ranked opponent he has faced since his body betrayed him four years ago, and a man who had only lost a single match since Wimbledon.
Murray’s greatest frustration is that, while his body and his tennis may be on the up, he still isn’t back to the steely mindset that once made him such a devastating force.
As he explained: “If you’re not quite feeling your shots that well, are not sure how the ball’s going to come out of your racket sometimes, that’s when there’s a little bit of indecision. You change your mind, and that’s when the mistakes can come.
“I guess it’s a case of getting through some of those matches. Just keep building, and hopefully get back to winning tournaments.”
Murray is now entered into next week’s event in Antwerp, where he won the title out of the blue in 2019 by defeating Stan Wawrinka in the final. He could do with some more of that medicine, especially as he has just fallen 51 places to No172 in the world thanks to those Antwerp points coming off his record.
In the meantime, he was asked after the match about the vaccination issue that will crop up again at January’s Australian Open. Players flying out to Melbourne at the start of next year are expected to have very different quarantine arrangements depending on whether they have been double jabbed or not.
Murray supported this approach to the vaccination question on Tuesday night. “Australia in particular has been very, very strict,” he said. “The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months. If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, that’s understandable.
“It’s not to say you can’t play. You might just have to leave a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That’s the player’s choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that.
“I support vaccination,” Murray added. “I hope that more of the players get it done. I don’t want to come off the court having played a match and be talking about something like that. We’re concentrating on the vaccine a lot because a lot of the players haven’t taken it yet.
“Hopefully people gain more confidence in it over time, [and] can see the benefits outweigh any of the potential risks or side-effects that people are worried of. I understand that in rare cases, people can get some side effects. For the most part, the benefits way outweigh any of the risks.”