Andy Murray is his own harshest critic and after losing to Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, he was not happy.
But even he knows that coming within touching distance of beating the world No 21 in his first match after almost a year out with a hip injury can only be a big and positive step in the right direction.
“I’m generally quite hard on myself,” Murray said. “Obviously when I lose a match like that, which I feel like I was very close to winning and probably could have won that, I’m disappointed and frustrated that I wasn’t able to.
“But then hopefully in a couple of days I’ll be able to reflect on it and think, actually considering the circumstances, it was a positive step forward in my recovery from the hip issues that I have had.
“But it might take a couple of days.”
Admittedly, Murray was tired at the end of the two hours and 39 minutes 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 loss but he had competed hard from first ball until last. That was a good sign. Now he must see how his body reacts to the workout – he had not practised longer than 90 minutes at a stretch before yesterday’s match – and make his decisions accordingly.
“I’ll kind of need to wait and see what happens the next few days and chat with my team about that,” he said, “because I don’t know exactly what’s best for me just now. I won’t rule anything out just now. I won’t rule out playing Eastbourne and not playing Wimbledon. I wouldn’t rule out not playing a tournament next week and trying to get matches like in an exhibition tournament, as well, to get ready for Wimbledon.”
Kyrgios thinks that providing Murray wakes up in reasonable shape this morning, the Scot could easily make waves at Wimbledon in less than a fortnight’s time.
“If he’s feeling good, then I don’t see any reason why not,” Kyrgios said. “There is only a handful of guys who can really play on the grass, anyway. He’s got for sure a good chance.”
And if Murray was splitting hairs about the level of his performance, the Australian was full of praise. “I was getting smoked in the first set,” Kyrgios said. “I was, like, this is not going to be a good look if I lose this match.
“I knew he was going to compete. It wasn’t going to take him long to see the ball at all. His return – every time he got a racket on the ball he made me serve back. His backhand is money. His movement seemed okay.”
It was Murray’s first competitive match since losing to Sam Querrey in five sets in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last year – 342 days ago. This year’s Championships at SW19 begin on 2 July.