Andy Murray tumbled to the bottom on his synthetic hip, dropping his stability in sweat-soaked sneakers and leaving splotches on Arthur Ashe Stadium’s blue courtroom from his soggy clothes.
Murray muttered to himself, as he usually does. He yelled towards his staff about needing new footwear. Quickly sufficient Monday, a second-set tiebreaker had slipped away, too, in opposition to No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
In an entertaining contest that includes loads of the good play, onerous hustling and clutch serving that carried Murray to the U.S. Open championship practically a decade — and a pair of hip operations — in the past, he didn’t fairly have sufficient to return out forward after virtually 5 hours in excessive warmth and humidity.
Rattled by a prolonged delay earlier than the ultimate set, Murray wound up dropping to the a lot youthful Tsitsipas 2-6, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 because the yr’s final Grand Slam event obtained underway with fans in the stands a yr after they had been banned due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With exits for Murray and 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who stopped taking part in due to an damage within the fifth set in opposition to Philipp Kohlschreiber, the one man left within the draw after Day One with even one Grand Slam title is No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
He’ll debut Tuesday night time as he tries to interrupt a tie for the boys’s mark of 20 majors with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and develop into the primary man since Rod Laver in 1969 to finish a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Monday night time’s schedule in Ashe included No. 2 Daniil Medevev and two-time U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka, who was set to make her return to Slam motion after pulling out of the French Open for a psychological well being break.
Earlier Monday, there have been victories for 2017 champion Sloane Stephens, who edged Madison Keys 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7) in a rematch of their ultimate 4 years in the past; a number of Grand Slam title winners and former No. 1s Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza; 2020 runner-up Victoria Azarenka and 17-year-old American Coco Gauff.
“It virtually brings me to tears,” the Twenty first-seeded Gauff mentioned after advancing to face Stephens with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 comeback in opposition to Magda Linette, “as a result of I missed taking part in in entrance of this crowd a lot.”
Spectators had been let in at 100% capability and a few complained of delays getting in, which the U.S. Tennis Affiliation mentioned had been largely induced by the point it took to examine luggage on the entry gates.
The USTA added that checking for proof of vaccination required to attend the occasion this yr went easily and didn’t contribute in a big technique to lengthy traces.
And people fortunate sufficient to be in Ashe rose and roared in unison when Murray smacked a forehand winner to assert the third set. He raised his proper hand overhead and leaned ahead as he shouted, “I’m not … carried out! Let’s go!”
However it was Tsitsipas who wasn’t completed. He obtained remedy from a coach on his left foot after that set, then headed off courtroom following the fourth for a loo break that bothered Murray.
After he obtained damaged instantly and fell behind 2-0 within the fifth, Murray complained aloud, saying: “It’s by no means taken me that lengthy to go to the bathroom. Ever.”
In the end, the bodily nature of the match in opposition to just-turned-23 and French Open finalist Tsitsipas, with the humidity at 70% and the temperature within the low-80s Fahrenheit (excessive 20s Celsius), required a bit greater than the 34-year-old from Scotland may give. He’s a former No. 1 who gained Wimbledon twice along with his 2012 title in New York, however he has been sidetracked by a sequence of accidents.
Given his age and well being historical past, it was exceptional that Murray was on the market in any respect, not to mention coming near changing into, at No. 112 this week, the lowest-ranked man to upset an opponent within the prime three on the U.S. Open because the computerized ATP rankings started in 1973.
After a third-round exit at Wimbledon early final month, Murray sounded quite glum about his future, pissed off that his physique wasn’t effectively sufficient to permit him to apply as a lot as he’d wish to be correctly aggressive. On Saturday, Murray opined that taking up Tsitsipas can be “a great, good check for me to see sort of the place my recreation’s at.”
He appeared to cross that check. He a lot quite would have gained.