Andy Murray fears months of gruelling preparation for a long-awaited Wimbledon return were a total waste of time after slumping to a straight sets defeat against Denis Shapovalov.
Murray, 34, had sent the nation’s hearts soaring with two thrilling victories under the Centre Court roof but was brought plummeting back down to earth by the No.10 seed.
The Scot has suffered a string of career-threating injuries and twice gone under the knife for hip surgery since the beginning of 2018.
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A groin injury at May’s Miami Open further derailed his progress but Murray, crowned king of SW19 in 2013 and 2016, put in the hard yards to make a famous Wimbledon return for the first time since 2017.
He showed signs of his old best in front of a raucous home crowd but a last 32 date against Shapovalov proved a step too far.
And Murray, who went down 6-4 6-2 6-2 against the Canadian, said: "It was great playing in front of the crowds again and I got amazing support here.
"I’m very thankful for that and it’s something I have missed. It kind of reminds you why you do all of the work and everything.
"The positive part is getting through the matches and feeling okay physically and not getting injured.
"That’s good, but then there is a part of me that feels a bit like: I have put in so much work the last three months and ultimately didn't play how I would want and expect.
"It’s like: ‘is it worth it? Is all of that training and everything that you're doing in the gym, unless you're able to practice and improve your game and get matches and continue, get a run of tournaments, is it worth all of the work that you're doing?
"There is part of me that feels like it is because I have great memories from this event and playing in some brilliant atmosphere.
"But then also, I finished the match tonight and I'm saying to my team that I'm just not happy with how I played.
"So, unless me and my team can find a way of keeping me on the court for a consistent period of time and allowing me to practice the way that I need to to compete with these guys, then that's when you know the discussions about what I do next will come in.
"I have genuinely put a lot into this to get to this point, but I'm not being able to practice and prepare how I need to to perform how I would like at these events.
"I’m not expecting and saying I would beat Denis Shapovalov – he's a brilliant player. But I feel like I can do a lot better than what I did this evening."
Murray, the current world No.118, lit up SW19 in his first and second round duels against Nikoloz Basilashvili and Oscar Otte.
He toppled Georgian Basilashvili in four sets before battling past German qualifier Otte in five on an unforgettable Wednesday under the Centre Court lights.
That booked a date with 2020 US Open quarter-finalist Shapovalov and despite a fervent Friday night atmosphere, the four-time Grand Slam champion was unable to extend his storied run at his home event.
Murray will soon be descending on Tokyo where he will bid to defend his pair of gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Letting off some steam is his No.1 priority in the meantime and Murray, the 2012 US Open champion, added: "Immediately I want to go home and see my family.
"I know it's only been a week or ten days, but when you can't see them, you miss them a little bit more.
"I’ll go home and see them first thing in the morning and then see where I go from there."
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