Andy Murray showed glimpses of his best tennis in an epic match but he revealed his brutal disappointment in a very public way.
A frustrated Andy Murray has lamented his inability to win big matches, going rogue on social media after bowing out of Indian Wells on Wednesday (AEDT).
Alexander Zverev won the clash of the two most recent Olympic gold medallists at the ATP event, holding off a fierce challenge from the Brit despite an equipment malfunction.
The 24-year-old German advanced to the fourth round, coming from behind in both sets to beat two time Olympic gold medal winner Murray 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in the combined women’s and men’s tennis tournament in the California desert.
Zverev won the Olympic gold medal at the recent Tokyo Games and former world No. 1 Murray won gold at both the 2012 London Olympics and in 2016 in Rio.
Third-seeded Zverev will next face the winner of another third round match between Gael Monfils of France and hard-hitting South African Kevin Anderson.
Murray tossed his racquet several times Tuesday after missing easy shots.
The outbursts were in contrast to Zverev who maintained his concentration in the seventh game of the second set when he had a shoe malfunction.
With the match tied 3-3, Zverev busted a lace on his left shoe running down a ball.
He continued to play with the wobbly shoe but then had to take an extra long break between games so he could swap out the laces. Murray seized the opportunity for a bathroom break.
Zverev then won three of the next five games which set up the tie-breaker.
He went up 3-0 in the second set tie-breaker, but Murray fought back to get to 4-5 before Zverev finished him off at the net.
Zverev has how beaten Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Murray — known as tennis’ “Big Four” — at least once in his career.
Murray’s Indian Wells campaign marked an improvement in form after struggling in the first half the year as he continues to make his way back from a serious hip operation.
But despite taking it right up to Zverev, near enough clearly wasn’t good enough for the 34-year-old.
Murray left the court fuming at himself and immediately after the match had finished he took to Twitter to share one word: “F***”.
And when a reporter in his post-match press conference said he played well, Murray gave a prickly response.
“I don’t think I played well today,” he hit back.
“I mean, there’s a lot of mistakes. There was some good stuff in there, but it was mixed in with bad.
“There was no sort of, like, consistency, I don’t think. My average level was just not really there today.
“It was either good or bad. Yeah, I wouldn’t put that down as playing really well.
“The positive for me to take from it is I obviously had opportunities again.
“I mean, I guess it’s positive. I didn’t feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that’s positive.
“But I’m disappointed because I want to be winning these matches. I haven’t in the last few months. Something needs to change.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Alex de Minaur has put a poor run of form behind with a strong 6-2 6-4 victory over Chile’s Cristian Garin at Indian Wells.
It ends a six-match losing streak against top-20 ranked opponents and marks the first time the Australian has won two matches in a row since June.
It’s a much-needed confidence boost for De Minaur, who had been struggling to play his best tennis since he tested positive to Covid-19 and was forced to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics.
He will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of 16 after the world No. 3 came back from a set down to defeat Italian Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-3 6-4.