London: Andy Murray plans to be back at Wimbledon next year despite suffering a second-round defeat to John Isner on Wednesday - his earliest-ever loss at the All England Club.
The two-time champion, 35, struggled to tame the giant American’s serve, failing to break once in the match on Centre Court and going down 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (3/7), 6-4.
The British star has a stellar record at his home Grand Slam, winning the trophy in 2013 and 2016 - his previous earliest exits came in the third round in 2005 and 2021.
But the 52nd-ranked Scot said he had no plans to hang up his racquet and was in better shape than last year. “My game was certainly in a better place,” he said. “Physically I felt good, barring the sort of 10 days post-Stuttgart (earlier this month), which was frustrating.
“I could have had a good run here. One of the reasons why improving your ranking and trying to get seeded is important, avoid playing top players and dangerous guys like that early in tournaments.”
Murray said his future plans would depend on how his body holds up. Murray had been dogged by a catalogue of injuries in recent years, undergoing two hip operations.
“If physically I’m in a good place, yeah, I will continue to play,” he said. “But it’s not easy to keep my body in optimal condition to compete at the highest level.”
The former world number one looked to be heading out in straight sets against Isner but clawed his way back into the contest by taking the third-set tie-break, celebrating wildly in front of his passionate fans. But, crucially, he was broken in the fifth game of the fourth set by the 20th seed, leaving him with an enormous uphill task.
Isner, 37, made no mistake, firing down another barrage of aces to come out on top for the first time in nine meetings between the pair. The 2018 semi-finalist unleashed 36 aces and 82 winners in total.
“I am most definitely not a better tennis player than Andy Murray,” said Isner, gracious in victory. “I might have been a little bit better than him today.”