Andy Murray admits his Wimbledon chances suffered a heavy blow with defeat to lucky loser Jordan Thompson in the first round of the Aegon Championships.
But Murray is adamant he still can turn his stuttering form around at the All England Club, where his bid to win a fourth grand slam title begins in less than a fortnight’s time.
Thompson, ranked 90th in the world, was only entered into the main draw at Queen’s when Aljaz Bedene withdrew injured, but the Australian played the match of his life to win 7-6 (7/4) 6-2.
The defeat is Murray’s ninth already in 2017 and sixth against a player rated outside the top 20. It is the Scot’s second worst result by ranking since March 2012.
More concerning for Murray is not only the continuation of his poor form but the fact he has lost potentially a week’s worth of competitive matches on grass, with Wimbledon fast approaching.
It is perhaps no coincidence that both his Wimbledon triumphs in 2013 and 2016 came after he also won the title at Queen’s.
“It’s a big blow, for sure,” Murray said. “Obviously this tournament has given me great preparation in the past and when I have done well here, Wimbledon has tended to go pretty well, too.
“It’s not ideal obviously but guys have in the past also gone in to Wimbledon having not won lots of matches.
“Novak (Djokovic) a number of times hasn’t played any warm-up tournaments and played very well there. It has happened in the past where guys haven’t done well and they’ve gone on to do well at Wimbledon.
“There is no guarantees that I won’t do well at Wimbledon but it certainly would have helped to have had more matches.”
Murray can, however, draw encouragement from his last first-round exit at Queen’s in 2012, when he went on to reach the Wimbledon final, while Djokovic has regularly warmed up for SW19 by attending only exhibition matches the week before.
The World number one said he might yet explore the option of exhibition events next week but insists there is no reason to panic.
“I do think that a lot can change in a short period of time. Everything was a lot better in practice. Today’s match was not good but I was much better in practice,” Murray said. “If I play like that, I certainly won’t win Wimbledon but I can play better than that.”
Thompson, who lost to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Sunday only to receive a lifeline when Bedene pulled out, will face American Sam Querrey in round two.