ANDY Murray threw his bottle of water towards the bin on Centre Court and missed. It was that sort of day.
From the very start, it was clear this was likely to end in yet more tears for British sports fans. Even during the warm up, he looked out of sorts.
At the best of times, the 19-year-old Scot can appear passive and subdued. But this was serious. No spark. No hope.
“Andy, you can do better,” shouted a female admirer in the crowd just minutes before he lost the second set. He was as bad as he had been good on Saturday. The fans simply couldn’t believe it.
It’s no secret that the young man from Dunblane prefers to play later in the day. Walking on to court at 2.21pm, he had the look of a teenager who had just got out of bed. Mistiming Murray hit his first shot long and the next wide. Then came the double faults.
By game nine he was punching his racket strings with his hand. Soon he was having regular words with the Swedish umpire about disputed calls. He didn’t win that argument either.
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis played well enough but would have been on his way back to Limassol had his opponent showed any signs of the brilliance he displayed to beat Roddick in the previous round.
Jackets were off in the royal box and the temperature on court was forecast to feel as hot as 38C. Yet Murray was lukewarm. Some of his supporters had queued on the pavement since Sunday morning to get tickets. They got one hour and 53 minutes of disappointment.
Former champion Jimmy Connors described Murray’s performance as “unacceptable”. Andy agreed. “That wasn’t good,” were his first three words at the post-match press conference.
But perhaps it’s time to get a sense of perspective about recent sporting losses. During Murray’s second set, a thin layer of smoke drifted across Centre Court, unnoticed by most of the spectators. It was from a fire in a flat above a newsagent’s shop close to the All England Club which claimed the lives of a man, a woman and a child.
As Baghdatis said later: “There’s so many things more important than a tennis match in life – it’s just a game.”