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Murray bids farewell to Centre Court and its fans - GETTY IMAGES

Murray bids farewell to Centre Court and its fans – GETTY IMAGES

  • Andy Murray beaten on Centre Court by Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

  • No repeat of previous comeback heroics as Murray could not match free-swinging Canadian left-hander

  • Shapovalov will next face eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round

We dared to dream. Andy Murray has turned our sporting fantasies into reality so many times that this year, even at 34 going on 44, he convinced us he could reach the second week of Wimbledon.

Unfortunately, his conjuring trick needs a patsy. Yes, we in the great British public might willingly suspend our disbelief. But Denis Shapovalov – the free-swinging Canadian left-hander – was too brave and skilful to be drawn into the latest instalment of the Murray legend.

As the light faded on Centre Court, so it did on Murray’s Wimbledon. Perhaps he will be back next year. Anyone who saw his mesmerising comeback against Oscar Otte on Wednesday night will hope that such one-off nights of nostalgia can continue for years to come – just as they once did for another Wimbledon champion, Lleyton Hewitt, even after he was kitted out with a bionic toe.

The impressive Denis Shapovalov is through to the fourth round - SHUTTERSTOCKThe impressive Denis Shapovalov is through to the fourth round - SHUTTERSTOCK

The impressive Denis Shapovalov is through to the fourth round – SHUTTERSTOCK

But we must also acknowledge that this could be Murray’s Centre Court swansong. A bionic hip is a much more significant impediment than a bionic toe. He would happily undergo Chinese water torture in order to play here, in the tournament that has defined his career. But is he prepared to keep rehabbing throughout the rest of the year, when the rewards are so intermittent?

Perhaps we should have known where Friday night was heading from the very first point. Once such an effortless mover on the grass of Centre Court, Murray slipped sideways as he moved to defend one of Shapovalov’s powerhouse backhands. His grip on this tournament soon proved to be as shaky as his grip on the turf.

Murray loses his footing in the very first game - AFPMurray loses his footing in the very first game - AFP

Murray loses his footing in the very first game – AFP

Only 2hr 12min later, Murray was flat out in a metaphorical sense – ousted from the tournament by a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 scoreline. Not even the closure of the roof, which came at just before 9pm with Shapovalov leading by two sets to love, could save him this time.

After the pulsating drama of his first two matches, Murray couldn’t turn this third-round test into another brouhaha. He was flat and error-prone, as he had been through the middle section of the Otte match. The Centre Court crowd did their best to will life into his aching joints, but Shapovalov was just too clinical.

At one stage, Shapovalov went sprawling himself – a fate that no player seems to be able to escape on Centre Court this year – but leapt up so swiftly that he was still able to retrieve the next ball and harry Murray into another error.

There was apparently no corner of the court that Shapovalov could not cover, and no shot too audacious for him to attempt. Some of his leaping backhands gave the impression of a gymnast going through his floor routine, only with a racket in hand. His flexibility sometimes recalls that of Novak Djokovic – a quality that led one previous coach to dub him the “rubber man” – and he uses his huge range of movement to generate thrilling power.

The pace of the rallies had been bewildering early on as Shapovalov appeared to be playing with a magic wand. Every ball was attracted into its centre, as if by magnetism, and came zipping out again at the least obliging angle for Murray.

At this stage, one wondered if the only possibility of a reprieve would be if Shapovalov suffered the same fate as Adrian Mannarino – the unheralded French left-hander who had established a lead over Roger Federer on Tuesday night, only to sprain his knee in one of those awful falls that have bedevilled this year’s championships.

Murray’s only bright moment came when he broke back in the first set to place Shapovalov under a little psychological pressure, but he was already 5-2 down at that stage. There were some tight moments here, and yet Shapovalov held his nerve when it mattered most.

These two men have crossed paths at Wimbledon before – but only at the Champions’ Dinner of 2016, when Murray was celebrating the senior title and Shapovalov was best boy. This year, Murray was playing on borrowed time – a man searching for glimpses of his famous back catalogue – while Shapovalov has matured into a genuine top-ten player (a position he is now guaranteed to reclaim in the world rankings once this tournament is over).

Fittingly, this was the first time Murray had lost in the third round of Wimbledon since 2005 – his debut year, when he was still a gangling, coltish 18-year-old with an indifferent fitness record. That was the tournament where he collapsed with cramp against David Nalbandian, the 2002 finalist here, and thus attracted accusations of inadequate conditioning.

Murray has come a long a way since his debut year at Wimbledon in 2005 - REUTERSMurray has come a long a way since his debut year at Wimbledon in 2005 - REUTERS

Murray has come a long a way since his debut year at Wimbledon in 2005 – REUTERS

From that moment, he threw himself into building his body from string-bean to mighty oak. And perhaps it was that painful process which accelerated the hip issues that bedevilled his later years. Heavy training schedules helped steel his will and stiffen his pride, but they also wore down his cartilage in a way that proved so costly later.

To return to Friday night, Murray’s run ended with his heaviest-ever defeat at Wimbledon – if only by a single game. At least he didn’t limp off the court this time, as he had in 2017 after that declining right hip grew too painful to walk on, let along run. Instead, he left to a huge standing ovation. Even in the twilight of his career, he can still bring so much joy, drama and exultation to this grand old tournament.

Relive Murray’s third round match in full below

08:42 PM

Shapovalov: ‘Andy is my hero’

I just told Andy at the net that he’s my hero. Achievements aside, what he has been able to do in the sport, to come back with an injury like his, to play like he has, move like he is doing.

The first set we played today was super intense. I had to give it my all and after that I was able to maintain my level, I think he dropped a little. It’s incredible what he has done to get to the third round.

He’s just starting back up so it will be incredible to see what he can do.

08:40 PM

Shapovalov: ‘A dream come true for me’

This is a dream come true for me. To play against a legend like Andy. He is doing something no one has ever done. He is truly an inspiration to many people, including me.

I’m just trying to soak in everything before I leave, it’s truly amazing to be on this court. To play a match like today, I don’t think I could play any better.

08:39 PM

Murray exits Centre Court

Only the winner obviously talks on Centre Court afterwards, so Murray has already departed. No doubt Shapovalov will be asked on his beaten opponent…

08:37 PM


Here we go… The first return is long from Murray. Shapovalov nets on the next for 15-15 but the Canadian comes into the net to shut down the next rally. An ace brings up two match points Shapovalov.

He just needs one, finishing with another ace to confirm a professional, straight sets win.

He greets Murray at the net and then offers the floor to the Briton.

08:33 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 6-2, 5-2 Murray (*denotes next server)

Each Murray point greeted with a big cheer, as he moves 30-0 up. Murray retrieves a booming Shapovalov backhand but his opponent can easily finish off the point at the net.

Shapovalov’s misfires and Murray closes in on the hold but not before Shapovalov corrects his earlier mistake with a winner down the line for 40-30.

If Murray does exit after the next game, then he can at least remember that scorching backhand winner to hold. He’s not lose the skillset, it’s just the stamina and consistency lacking.

08:29 PM

Shapovalov 6-4, 6-2, 5-1 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Professional as ever by Shapovalov as he keeps plugging away, not going for anything fancy. It’s soon 40-0 and then he finishes with a flourish, sending down an ace out side.

He is one game away from the fourth round of Wimbledon. And one game away from knocking out Britain’s tennis hero.

08:25 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 6-2, 4-1 Murray (*denotes next server)

A big cheer from the crowd when Shapovalov nets – they clearly want to watch their hero for longer – but those cheers turn to groans when Murray double faults on the next.

Shapovalov still pulling Murray this way and that on court and suddenly he has two break points against the Briton’s serve at 40-15.

He saves the first, then Shapovalov nets for deuce. A serve down the middle brings up advantage. If this is to be his Wimbledon swangsong, Murray won’t want a bagel on the cards. And he holds!

A tough night for Murray - SHUTTERSTOCKA tough night for Murray - SHUTTERSTOCK

A tough night for Murray – SHUTTERSTOCK

08:21 PM

Shapovalov 6-4, 6-2, 4-0 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Let’s not forget Murray had already spent seven hours plus on court before this match, not to mention he had barely played this year. His desire can’t be faulted but Shapovalov is just altogether different proposition to Murray’s other opponents.

It’s all sadly a bit flat. Shapovalov moving into a 40-15 lead, serving out wide and Murray pulling his return wide.

Murray is two games away from exiting this year’s Wimbledon.

Murray serves under the roof - GETTY IMAGESMurray serves under the roof - GETTY IMAGES

Murray serves under the roof – GETTY IMAGES

08:17 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 6-2, 3-0 Murray (*denotes next server)

Murray needs a spark from somewhere, or a couple of fans to focus his attention on for inspiration like the other night. It’s just not happening as Murray comes into the net but can’t reach the volley, to trail 15-30. A Shapovalov backhand winner brings up three break points.

The world number 12 only needs one as another unforced error off the Murray racket brings the game to a close. Shapovalov breaks.

08:13 PM

Shapovalov 6-4, 6-2, 2-0 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Shapovalov, who was struggling with his first serve in the pre-roof era, opens with two aces. A deep, hard return from Murray into the corner does the business for 15-30.

Ouch, that’s a nasty one. Shapovalov slips in the corner, his racket goes flying and Murray, almost apologetically, taps into the open court. 30-30.

No ill effects seemingly from that fall as the Canadian fires down another ace. A forehand winner from the mid court wraps things up.

This could be over very quickly.

08:09 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 6-2, 1-0 Murray (*denotes next server)

It’s Murray to serve as we start under the lights. Almost a mirror image of the opening game of the entire match as Shapovalov opens up his body for a fearsome cross-court backhand winner.

Murray’s body language not that of a man who has full confidence in a five-set comeback, although that might just be the immediate three break points he is facing.

The first is saved when Shapovalov cannot return Murray’s serve. But when Murray’s forehand drifts wide, the Canadian breaks.

08:01 PM

Players are warming back up

A quick three minutes knock up for the two of them

07:53 PM

Reason for hope…

…. Murray has not lost a set this week while the Wimbledon roof has been closed.

Denis Shapovalov has been mightily impressive so far to take a two set lead and it seems an awful long way back for Andy Murray now, against an opponent much better than his previous two games.

But the two-time champion will regroup while the roof is being closed, and you know he won’t go down without a fight. Take 10 minutes to grab a drink and then rejoin us for hopefully another late night thriller.

07:48 PM


Solid, sensible tennis by Shapovalov, hitting the ball early and always asking the questions of Murray. 30-0 quickly becomes 40-0 when Murray nets. Three set points.

The first is saved with a scorching cross court backhand. But Murray can do nothing on the second. Second set Shapovalov.

07:45 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 5-2 Murray (*denotes next server)

Despite the five missed break points in the last game, Murray is calmness personified to race into a 40-0 lead. He’s just out going for a winner but a big serve wraps things up to love.

Big news just in: The Wimbledon roof will be closed after this set finishes. And we all know what happens when the roof has closed for Murray this week… Don’t got anywhere yet.

07:42 PM

Shapovalov 6-4, 5-1 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Shapovalov saves it, well more Murray does the work for him, sending his return long. And then Shapovalov goes big on his second serve for advantage.

MISS OF THE NIGHT! Murray, on the defensive, gets the return back and Shapovalov literally just needs to pat the ball over the other side of the net, something even my 90-year-old gran might even be able to do, but he nets. Shapovalov goes long and it is a fifth break point Murray. The crowd is trying to roar Murray over the line.

Opportunity missed again, and then Shapovalov cleans up and Murray is left empty-handed.

Closing in on the finish line - SHUTTERSTOCKClosing in on the finish line - SHUTTERSTOCK

Closing in on the finish line – SHUTTERSTOCK

07:38 PM

Shapovalov 6-4, 4-1 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Murray is battling as best he can and the crowd is appreciating it. Suddenly a glimmer of hope as Murray gets two break points when Shapovalov cannot send his return over the net.

A fifth ace of the match saves the first one before Murray can barely get his racket to the second one out wide. Deuce. Shapovalov, not for the first time tonight, has trouble with his ball toss and throws in a double fault. Third break point Murray. A 130mph serve saves him again and then a deep return into the corner is too good for Murray.

But it’s double break followed by a fourth break point Murray after a sumptuous forehand lob…..

07:29 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 4-1 Murray (*denotes next server)

Murray is not being steam-rollered, liked the scoreline might suggest. He’s just not able to land any serious punches when it matters.

Another game goes to 30-30 but this is better as he moves to 40-30 and then Shapovalov ends up on the ground again and Murray cleans up. He’s on the board.

07:24 PM

Shapovalov 6-4, 4-0 Murray* (*denotes next server)

It must be hard for Shapovalov playing the role of the pantomine villain on Centre Court. He very much knows the script though, which is to keep his man on the run and let him tire himself out.

Murray gives himself a sniff at 30-30 and then even at 30-40 down he is in the rally. The point looks his when Shapovalov takes a tumble, but whether it was a loss of concentration, Murray fails to clear the net with his shot from the mid court.

07:19 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 3-0 Murray (*denotes next server)

Now would very much be a good time to get on the board. Every point out there is a battle for Murray right now, as the chattering to his box steps up a notch. Two break points for Shapovalov.

Superb from Shapovalov. He’s down on the turf one moment, sprints across to the left and retrieves it on the turn, and then Murray somehow misses at the net. Shapovalov breaks. And it is quickly turning into what a lot of people feared for Murray after his earlier exertions this week.

07:14 PM

Shapovalov 6-4, 2-0 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Danger time for Murray as two errors leave him 30-0 down. He cuts the deficit by one but the consistency in his game is still not there. Shapovalov wraps up the game with an ace.

No shortage out outside support for Murray - REUTERSNo shortage out outside support for Murray - REUTERS

No shortage out outside support for Murray – REUTERS

07:11 PM

Shapovalov* 6-4, 1-0 Murray (*denotes next server)

It was in 2016 that Murray won the second of his Wimbledon titles, the same year that Shapovalov won the junior boys title.

The apprentice gets his nose in front in this game after an epic rally, in which elder statesman looked to have won in, the crowd started going wild, and then he promptly netted. Break point Shapovalov.

Ouch. Double fault Murray. Shapovalov a set and a break up.

07:04 PM

First blood Shapovalov

Shapovalov may have taken the opening set but Murray made him fight for it. Interestingly, Murray was getting joy when he was hitting directly at his opponent and almost cramping his style. It was when the Canadian was able to open up on the run that he was the most dangerous.

Just under an hour for that first set, how much has it taken out of Murray?

Denis Shapovalov is playing the villain this evening - PADenis Shapovalov is playing the villain this evening - PA

Denis Shapovalov is playing the villain this evening – PA

07:02 PM


Murray throws everything at it to try and pass Shapovalov at the break but the Canadian’s reflex volley is too good. Shapovalov steps it up on the next and earns set point.

Murray digs it out on the baseline and even gets to the drop shot but Shapovalov merely has to help himself to the point at the net.

06:59 PM

Shapovalov 5-4 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Basically, never predict anything when it comes to Murray. He’s come back from 5-1 in this set. And that’s in a small way caused by Shapovalov struggling on his first serve. The Canadian floats in a second serve again and Murray sends it back with interest, causing his opponent all sorts of problems.

An invaluable ace – and a roar from Shapovalov – makes it 30-30. Murray is able to return another second serve and a cramped Shapovalov sends it wide. Break point Murray. The net cord is not Murray’s friend, throwing him off for his return. But Murray gets a second break point when Shapovalov nets.

How does he do it? Twice Murray looks beaten but he stretches to make a lob, alas the second was out. But a backhand cross earns him a third break point…

06:51 PM

Shapovalov* 5-4 Murray (*denotes next server)

It’s raining Shapovalov unforced errors! Murray, on a six point winning streak, moves to 30-0. It’s like the Murray of yesteryear, playing with his opponent on the baseline before flicking in the dropshot. An ace wraps things up, we’re onto 5-4 and the crowd is alive and kicking.

06:49 PM

Shapovalov 5-3 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Well, what do we have here? Murray moves 30-0 up on the Shapovalov serve. He gets great depth on his groundstrokes, forcing the Canadian on his heels and he sends it into the net. Three break points Murray.

And Murray only needs one! Shapovalov once again dumps into the net. Murray breaks! Is the comeback on early?

06:44 PM

Shapovalov* 5-2 Murray (*denotes next server)

An error off the Murray racket first up but there is a freebie from Shapovalov as the ball ricochets off his racquet. Murray nets on the next but a forehand winner makes it 30-30. And then Shapovalov misfires off the backhand side and Murray wraps up the game. He won’t be handing anything to his opponent, that’s for sure. Over to you Shapovalov…

06:41 PM

Shapovalov 5-1 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Murray fans always knew this was going to be a tough ask for their man but how to break down the wall that is Shapovalov? With that latest one, Shapovalov already has 11 winners to Murray’s three. The Canadian just misses the line chasing another.

Murray loops a return wide on the left but Shapovalov nets when Murray adds a bit more power and it’s 30-30. A glimmer of hope…

Shapovalov’s trusty one-handed backhand down the line digs him out and then on the next, his forehand lands right in the corner. Murray will serve to stay in the set.

06:35 PM

Shapovalov* 4-1 Murray (*denotes next server)

Murray steps up to serve and the crowd, willing their gallant soldier on, roars in approval. An ace is a good place to start. Shapovalov then drops one right on the baseline and Murry is unable to react. 15-15.

Murray needs to find a way to hurt is opponent, it’s just whether he still possesses the weapons to do so against an opponent of this calibre. A big first serve sure helps, as he goes out wide and moves to 40-30.

An approach to the net should end with a Murray winner but instead he pushes it kindly back to the Canadian who duly lobs him. Another poorly executed Murray shot, this time the drop shot, gives Shapovalov an easy winner up the line and break point. Saved! A second break point follows but Murray forces his opponent to go long.

Murray’s second attempted drop shot is given the exact same treatment by Shapovalov as the first. Third break point. And Murray misses on the backhand and Shapovalov gets the double break.

06:26 PM

Shapovalov 3-1 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Murray is clearly still not happy with his shoes and his confidence in the court itself. He’s prowling around the baseline as Shapovalov moves 15-0 up.

Murray is staying in the rallies for now but he can’t find the killer touch and nets. The Canadian wraps up the game.

06:22 PM

Shapovalov* 2-1 Murray (*denotes next server)

Murray, with a pair of fresh wheels, or more specifically shoes, to combat the slippery court, moves 30-0 up on serve. But he’s pinned back to 30-30 quickly enough. Oh no, he gets his positioning wrong on a simple forehand and it’s break point Shapovalov.

Drama! Murray’s return is called long, both players even trot back to their chairs but Murray’s challenge is proved right via Hawkeye and we go again! It’s an rip-roaring rally but Shapovalov’s backhand proves too good. (I think I might be writing that a lot this evening). Shapovalov breaks!

Murray takes a couple of early tumbles - REUTERSMurray takes a couple of early tumbles - REUTERS

Murray takes a couple of early tumbles – REUTERS

06:15 PM

Shapovalov 1-1 Murray* (*denotes next server)

Murray’s feeling it early on here as he flicks a nice backhand past Shapovalov, 15-15.

Second serve ace by Shapovalov, 30-15. Shapovalov backhand into the net, 30-30. First sighting of Shapovalov’s awesome backhand as he rips an 89mph winner past Murray.

Long game on Shapovalov’s serve and another slip by Murray as he tries to reach a Shapovalov groundstroke.

Shapovalov holds.

06:06 PM

First set: Denis Shapovalov* 0-1 Andy Murray (*denotes next server)

A slip by Murray on the opening point but he’s OK. Shapovalov shanks a backhand return, 30-30.

Excellent Murray forehand drags Shapovalov wide and draws the error, 40-30. And the former British No 1 hits a big first serve to hold.

06:00 PM

Here we go!

Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov stride onto Centre Court for their third-round showdown.

Should be quite the spectacle.

12:20 PM

Murray not taking the easy route

Andy Murray faces the biggest test of his Wimbledon comeback today when he takes on 10th seed Denis Shapovalov for a place in the fourth round.

The two-time champion was centre stage in another night of drama at SW19 on Wednesday, coming back from two sets to one down to defeat inspired German qualifier Oscar Otte.

As in his opening match against Nikoloz Basilashvili, Murray appeared to have a grip on the contest only to play himself into, and then out of, trouble.

The result is that the 34-year-old, who had not won back-to-back matches at grand slam level for four years prior to this week, has been on court for more than seven hours already.

He said of his inconsistency: “I think it’s lack of match play, personally. In both the matches, I was up and playing well, and in good positions. There just was not the concentration and stuff and the focus that’s required to play.

“It’s just not easy when you’ve not played matches and you’re not practising that much just to maintain your concentration and focus for two and a half, three hours at a time.

“I think once you start to play more matches again and get into that rhythm and get used to winning again, it becomes a bit more instinctive, a bit more natural. It’s just been a bit tough so far.”

Murray is unlikely to get away with the same lapses against 22-year-old Canadian Shapovalov, who is one of the most exciting young talents in the game.

He survived a two-day, five-set tussle with Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round before being given a free pass into round two when opponent Pablo Andujar withdrew.

Shapovalov is looking forward to the occasion, saying: “Definitely I think it’s a great moment for me. It’s going to be my first time on Centre Court at Wimbledon, so it’s definitely super exciting for me and my team and my career.

“Definitely a match I grew up wanting to play against Andy in the spotlight like this. It’s going to be a lot of fun out there.

“As a fan of Andy’s, to see him back and moving so well, especially those last two sets, how he turned it around. It felt like he was the player that he was. It was really exciting to see.”

The pair have never played before, but it is likely to be another nerve-shredding occasion for Murray fans.