Five thoughts about Andy Murray’s defeat to Nicolas Mahut at Queen’s Club:
Don’t imagine for a moment that this will mean any reduction in the hype, scrutiny and expectation for the remainder of the grass-court summer, for the Wimbledon Championships and the Olympics. So, at 4-4 in the third set, BBC Two left Queen’s for junk stalls and ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’, and Murray’s match finished in the quieter waters of the red button. And, in a busy summer of the Queen’s Jubilee, the lead-in to the Olympics and the European football championships, Murray’s preparations for Wimbledon were always going to be more low key than in other seasons. But, if and when Murray makes the second week at the All England Club, it will be largely forgotten that he failed to win a match in Kensington.
How strong is the correlation between Murray’s results at Queen’s and how he does at Wimbledon? Both times that Murray has won the Queen’s Club title, in 2009 and 2011, he reached the semi-finals at the All England Club. But, in 2010, he lost in the third round at Queen’s, and still made the last four at Wimbledon.
It was not as if Murray lost to a grass-court non-entity. Mahut is most famous for losing a match on grass, to John Isner at Wimbledon. But he is also a former finalist at Queen’s. And he played one of the best grass-court matches of his career to beat Murray.
The tournament badly needs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to make the final. Rafael Nadal is missing because of tax reasons. Murray is no longer around for tennis reasons, Novak Djokovic isn’t in west London. With Nadal and Roger Federer playing in Halle, Queen’s needs a strong week.
The Queen’s tournament are a long way off renaming Palliser Road after Murray (rival Hallle now has a Roger Federer Allee).