Tennis legend Mats Wilander has questioned whether Andy Murray should be afforded a wild card into major tournaments after he suffered his heaviest loss in a Grand Slam against Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the French Open.
The last time they met on Court Philippe Chatrier, in the 2017 semi-final, Wawrinka came through a five-set slugfest but this time it proved a painfully one-sided affair against a flat Murray.
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When the opening three games on a near-empty showcourt took around 20 minutes, another battle royal looked possible between the players who both own three grand slam titles.
But as 16th seed Wawrinka, champion in Paris in 2015, raised his game, Murray, who wore black leggings on a chilly day, capitulated alarmingly with his trademark battling qualities conspicuous by their absence.
Swiss 35-year-old Wawrinka struck 42 winners to Murray's 10 as he powered to victory in one hour 37 minutes.
This prompted Wilander, a seven-time Grand Slam champ, to question whether Murray should be handed wild cards into the showpiece tournaments.
The Eurosport analyst claimed other up-and-coming stars should be afforded the wild card slots after Murray’s performance at the French Open and US Open.
“I worry about Andy Murray,” Wilander said.
“I would love to hear him say why he is out there, giving us a false sense of hope that he going to come back one day. I keep getting a little bit disappointed.
“Does he have a right to be out there taking wild cards from the young players?”
“I was 26 when I first retired, I came back at 28, played until 32, and there was couple of years I played and should not have taken up the space where there were younger, more motivated players who were better than I was.
“It’s tough to quit, for sure. [But] by giving us all hope by playing, it’s just not right.”
Murray admits reflection after French Open mauling
Murray admitted it would be hard to forget the thrashing at the hands of Wawrinka.
"I need to have a long hard think about it. It's not the sort of match I would just brush aside and not think about it," Murray said.
"I need to understand why the performance was like that."
While Murray was a shadow of his former self, Wawrinka, who plays 61st-ranked Dominik Koepfer of Germany next, fired a warning that he could be a threat.
With the conditions likely to remain heavy, Wawrinka will be confident of an extended run.
"I've had some amazing matches with Andy," he said.
"I was expecting a tough match. But I was really focused. Even if the scoreboard is one-sided like today, you never know what can happen.”
Shocking Defeat!🙆♀️🔥😳— Game Yetu (@GameYetu) September 27, 2020
What was billed as an opening-day classic between two old warriors turned into a damp squib as Stan Wawrinka crushed Andy Murray 6-1 6-3 6-2 at the French Open on Sunday! pic.twitter.com/t74XdqCDUF
Stan the Man is made of formidable stuff 💪— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) September 27, 2020
In a rematch of their brutal five-set semifinal at #RolandGarros three years ago, @stanwawrinka outmuscled former world No.1 Andy Murray 6-1 6-3 6-2 in just over 90 minutes.
A bit brutal when @andy_murray has not played on clay for 3 years. Not had the opportunity to play many tournaments ....thanks to Covid. Yes he may feel the need to review his future & what it means to play tennis but he may have just had a bad day, he’s human it happens— twiggy sparkeldust (@lynncampbell19) September 27, 2020
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