“I’ll need to have a long, hard think and try and understand what happened,” said Murray, after losing to Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 over 87 minutes in the first round.
“It’s not for me the sort of match I would just brush aside and not give any thought to. There are obviously reasons behind a performance kind of like that. I think that’s probably in terms of scoreline, I might be wrong, but I think that’s the worst defeat maybe of my career in a Grand Slam.
“I’m not sure if that’s the case. So I should be analysing that hard and trying to understand why the performance was like that. I don’t feel like the conditions are an excuse for it. I don’t feel like that’s a valid reason, maybe to not enjoy the matches as much when it’s like that, but not in terms of it shouldn’t affect your performance in any way. So I’ll need to have a long, hard think and try and understand what happened.”
Former World No. 1 Murray, who underwent two right hip surgeries in January 2018 and 2019, was competing in his first clay-court match since reaching the 2017 Roland Garros semi-finals, where he lost to Wawrinka in five sets.
“Today was obviously an extremely tough draw,” said Murray. “Even if I played very well, it would have been no guarantee that I [would] win that match. But I also didn’t play well. I served like under 40 per cent first serves in the court, which is just not good enough really against anyone, and especially someone as good as Stan. You want to be serving in the 60 per cent [range].
“I haven’t served like that [before]. That’s nothing to do with my hip obviously in terms of movement. I would assume I was moving a bit better before I had a metal hip. It would probably be fair to assume that. But like mis-timing returns and serving at 38 per cent, that’s got nothing to do with that. That’s something I’ll need to look at with my team and see why I was missing them, where I was missing them.”
The 33-year-old Scot is now 3-3 since the ATP Tour returned after a five-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, he beat World No. 7 Alexander Zverev in the Western & Southern Open second round.
“From a physical perspective, I wouldn’t expect to physically be the same as what I was before I had the operation,” said Murray. “But in terms of like ball striking and in terms of my strokes and stuff… there is no reason that I shouldn’t be able to do that from a technical perspective. There has been matches that I have played since I came back where I hit the ball well.
“I know it wasn’t the best match at times, but Zverev was a couple of points away from winning the US Open, and I won against him the week beforehand. It’s going to be difficult for me to play the same level as I did before. I’m 33 now and I was ranked No. 1 [in the FedEx ATP Rankings], so it’s difficult with all the issues that I have had. But I’ll keep going. Let’s see what the next few months holds, and I reckon I won’t play a match like that between now and the end of the year.”