Andy Murray suffered a shocking defeat in the second round of the Open de Rennes, against Roman Safiullin. Murray could not pose much of a challenge against the Russian who emerged victorious by a 6-2 4-6 6-1 margin. The British tennis star had recorded a fine win against Yannick Maden in the first round of the ATP Challenger Tour event. However, he could not maintain the run, which will certainly come as a shock to fans of the popular player. Safiullin is ranked 158 in the world rankings, which is 42 places below Murray. The British athlete had entered the hard courts of Rennes as the fifth-seeded wildcard.
Murray was forced to move around the court as Safiullin kept pushing him in the first set, taking a commanding lead. The former could never really register the inspired comeback one would have expected from a player of his calibre. However, Murray will certainly look to learn his lessons from the defeat and take inspiration from Emma Raducanu who he had praised recently.
“It was incredible what she did there. I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good. She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be,” said the British star as quoted by Sky Sports.
“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good. But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport. It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now,” he added.
John McEnroe was criticised for stating while commentating for the BBC that Raducanu’s decision to retire from her last-16 encounter in the Wimbledon, meant that the occasion had been “a little bit too much” for her. However, McEnroe has maintained the same stance, despite the Britisher’s triumph in the US Open.
“I meant exactly what I said. I tried to relate it in a small way to my experience when I first went to Wimbledon also at 18. She did better than I did. I played Jimmy Connors, I hadn’t been on the Centre Court and I remember my legs shaking, feeling totally overwhelmed by the experience and almost happy that I didn’t win,” he said on CNN.
“Subsequently I went to Stanford for a year and had some time to sort of regroup mentally and prepare for the rigours of the tour. There’s a lot of great upsides, but there’s also pressure you put on yourself and expectations others put on you. I mean that was to me as vanilla as it comes … I was very supportive of her, I thought, at the time. You know the papers over in England. Sometimes, they make a big deal out of nothing,” added McEnroe.