Andy Murray beaten by Stan Wawrinka on possible French Open swansong

Estimated read time 5 min read

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka first met on court as two hopeful youngsters desperate to establish ­themselves in their sport, still unsure of what was to come. Nineteen years and a combined six grand slam titles later, they convened again on Court Philippe-Chatrier as icons in the final stretches of their careers.

Now aged 37 and 39 respectively, their 23rd contest marked the second-oldest matchup at Roland ­Garros in the past 50 years. This time, ­Wawrinka’s disciplined, destructive ball striking guided him to a deserved ­victory as he completely ­overpowered an impotent Murray, brushing his old rival aside 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the second round at Roland Garros.

“I wish I could have done a little bit better,” said Murray. “Disappointed, but I didn’t have extremely high expectations with the way, you know, the preparation had been coming in. But obviously I would have liked to have done better tonight.”

While Murray’s struggles have been well documented, things have been even tougher for Wawrinka this year, who arrived in Paris with two ATP wins in 2024. At the site of one of his greatest triumphs, though, the Swiss struck the ball with total freedom. He was determined to force himself on the front foot, to open up the court and attack. Wawrinka also served well in the decisive moments and he kept his unforced error count under control.

As has been the case for much of this year, Murray was too underpowered in the face of such heavy, attacking ball striking and his diminished movement is evident. He also returned poorly, particularly in the decisive moments late in both of the first two sets.

Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray at the French Open in 2024.View image in fullscreen

At the end of another meeting – perhaps for the final time – the two champions shared a long, warm hug before speaking at length. “It was emotional, for sure,” said Wawrinka. “We’re getting closer to the end, and we played so many times over the last 20 years. A lot of emotion.”

For Murray, who has indicated that he is unlikely to compete after this summer, the defeat likely signified the closing of a chapter, his final singles match at the French Open. Despite his obvious frustration, ­Murray stopped by the court entrance and saluted all corners of the crowd.

Since his return from an ankle injury, Murray has lost three of his four matches of the clay court season. He will now head to the grass court season searching for better form on his favourite surface before time runs out.

“My body isn’t what it was, 10 years ago,” said Murray. “I’m fully aware of that. It takes a lot of time and effort to get it in a position to go out there and compete. It’s not always perfect. But it is what it is and I still enjoy giving a go and trying to get myself out there and be as competitive as possible.”

Earlier on Sunday, Jack Draper suffered a crushing loss in the opening round, losing 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-3 to ­Jesper de Jong of the Netherlands in the longest match of his career.

After trailing by two sets and a break, Draper fought back to force a fifth set in a match delayed by rain, but his tense, cautious play in the decisive moments contrasted with De Jong’s decisiveness.

After four hours and six minutes on court, the world No 176 closed Draper out to reach the second round.

skip past newsletter promotion

“I’ve been trying to do different things in practice, like I’m ­trying to change my game a little bit,” Draper said. “So I feel especially on the match court at the moment like a lot of things are a bit, you know, different for me, especially in high-pressure situations and stuff. I’m trying to view tennis in a different way, and I’m so not used to playing and doing certain things on the court, and I’m trying to do them, and that’s ­uncomfortable for me.”

Amélie Mauresmo, the tournament director, has said Alexander Zverev would be allowed to compete at Roland Garros as long as there has been no decision in his public trial. Zverev’s trial for allegedly physically abusing his former partner Brenda Patea begins on Friday in Berlin during the tournament. Zverev has always denied the charges.

“So far, our policy is that, as long as the trial isn’t finished and there isn’t a decision, he’s considered innocent and so that’s why he’s allowed to be part of the draw,” said Mauresmo.

Mauresmo also revealed that Roland Garros had planned a farewell ceremony for Rafael Nadal, but the 14-time champion had said he did not want one with his future still unclear.

“As you can imagine, we had something planned for him, but he told us actually before yesterday – that because he doesn’t know if it’s going to be his last Roland Garros or not,” said Mauresmo. “He wants to leave the door open for him maybe to come back next year as a player. So we’re not going to push him to do anything.”


You May Also Like

More From Author