John Isner’s heavy metal play drums Andy Murray of Wimbledon | Wimbledon 2022

In the midst of feverish scenes of similar awakening meetings, Andy Murray he tried his best to conjure up the last famous miracle in the central court late at night. But Father’s time – and John Isner’s crunchy heavy metal tennis – offered an overwhelming answer.

Then Murray promised to return Wimbledon if his creaking 35-year-old body would last, but he admitted it wasn’t a given. Only this defeat 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-4, his first ever in 14 appearances, stabbed even more.

But some of it was beyond his control. His opponent was a gunslinger over three hours who refused to miss, knocking down an extraordinary 36 aces and 80 winners to secure a well-deserved victory. “It’s no secret that I’m not a better tennis player than Andy, but I may have been a little better today,” he admitted generously. “It was one of the biggest victories of my career.”

As Isner later acknowledged, there is nothing particularly sophisticated about his playing. But why reinvent the wheel when you have a howitzer to serve and a forehand that tears seven strips of nylon from the ball? An American can be the tennis equivalent of a garage band that controls three cords. But he still confused Murray’s Blitzkrieg Bop.

“I’ve played against those players many times and I’ve found ways to make enough comebacks to turn matches, whether it’s against Karlovic, Isner, Raonic, guys like that,” said the humiliating Murray. “But tonight he was very close to the lines in important moments.”

But as much as it would hurt the Wimbledon crowd, which had royally encouraged him for years, Murray offered a portrait of the artist as an older man. Still very talented, for sure. But a little slower in the eyes and between the lines. In the game of millimeters and microseconds, it made a big difference.

“I think most players on tour would tell you that such a match will be won or lost based on a few points here and there,” Murray said. “I didn’t play well enough on these points.”

The bookmakers made Murray, who had won all eight previous games against Isner, a strong favorite. But he also knew that all these victories were years ago before his body collapsed and his hips reappeared.

Given the ultimate difficulty in breaking through Isner’s serve, it was vital for Murray to begin quickly. Instead, he broke in the third game. The Scot had two chances to return the favor, only to save Isner – first with a deft volley and then with the first 128 mph. It’s unbelievable that Murray didn’t get another opportunity to break through the competition.

John Isner serves for the match against Andy Murray
John Isner serves for the match against Andy Murray Tom Jenkins / The Guardian Pictures

After losing in the first set 6-4, Murray stabilized and had half a chance to break, when at 5-4 in the second he led Isner’s serve 30-15. But then the American hit two beautiful drop volleys, which showed that he had a surprisingly good touch on the big man to hold the service before he ran in the tie-break.

Murray was now in desperate need. To make matters worse, Isner scored 79% of his first serve – a staggering percentage given that many flew past a 130 mph speed cannon – and won 88% of his points in his first serve.

Murray’s greatest hope now was that his fellow veteran, 37, who played five hundred on Monday, could begin to feel some lead in his legs. “Come on, Andy, he’s older than you!” he shouted one flick, but Isner’s serve lasted as we headed for the next tie-break.

This time it was Murray who started quickly and hurried to the lead 3: 0. And with the crowd urging him on, he was able to capitalize. The fans were already on their feet, pounding in the air. Murray couldn’t do that, could he?

But Isner was under no regime to commit. A break of 2: 2 in the fourth set put the match on his racket and even after a delay he was able to keep his nerves and close the roof of the stadium.

Murray, meanwhile, could only hope that it would not be his last day on this most famous of the courts. “If I’m good at it physically, I’ll keep playing,” he said. “But with the problems I’ve had with my body in the last few years, it’s extremely difficult to make long-term predictions.”

His words were bruised and a little dazed. However, this could only be expected given the beating he had just experienced.

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