Andy Murray backed to continue competing at the top of the game

Andy Murray backed to continue competing at the top of the game

Andy Murray will take a few days to reflect on his Wimbledon heartache before deciding on his next move, according to coach Jonny O’Mara.

The 36-year-old’s devastation was clear after his five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round, following which he questioned whether he still has the motivation to carry on.

It is not the first time Murray has said something similar following a painful loss and O’Mara believes he is playing more than well enough to still achieve big things in the game.

Andy Murray cut a disconsolate figure after his loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas
Andy Murray cut a disconsolate figure after his loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas (Joe Toth/AELTC Handout)

“Only he knows what he’s thinking and whether that was immediate or whether that’s how he’s feeling, that’s entirely up to him,” said O’Mara.

“I think he’ll take a few days to reflect and whether he’ll stay with that or he’ll find motivation to carry on. He’s definitely showing a level that he can be at the top, and he is at the top.

“If there was anyone else that was top 40 in the world, nobody would probably be questioning the fact that they’re still playing. Who knows what he’s going to do but I don’t think there’ll be many people inside the top 40 thinking of retiring.

“I’ve had a couple of messages with him. Nothing crazy because it was a tough match and he’s obviously going to be a little bit hurt from that one. We were just speaking about the present and I’m sure we’ll speak about what’s happening in a few days.”

O’Mara’s presence in Murray’s team is another indication that the Scot is not yet that close to hanging up his racket.

The doubles specialist from Arbroath joined his friend’s behind-the-scenes set-up ahead of the grass-court swing with the aim of being a consistent voice.

Neither of Murray’s main coaches, Ivan Lendl and Mark Hilton, can travel full-time, and O’Mara is putting his own playing career on the back-burner to take on the role.

He made what could be his final appearance in men’s doubles at Wimbledon alongside Liam Broady, with the pair losing in the first round.

Jonny O'Mara, left, with fellow coach Mark Hilton
Jonny O’Mara, left, with fellow coach Mark Hilton (John Walton/PA)

“It’s such a good opportunity to work with Andy, work with Lendl, work with Hilts, see what it’s like at the top level,” said the 28-year-old.

“Obviously being from Scotland, growing up with watching Andy and watching what he’s achieved, it’s a difficult opportunity to say no to. I’ve enjoyed working with him the last few weeks.

“Obviously such a shame what happened the other day with him losing because I really thought there was a chance he was going to do something big this year. He’s been working hard, he’s been playing great in practice.”

Despite the agonising outcome, O’Mara enjoyed being in the inner circle for Murray’s latest nail-biting Wimbledon encounter, saying: “I wouldn’t say it’s more stressful because, when I’m on court, it’s me relying on my skills, when I’m in the box, I’m relying on Andy’s skills, and I much prefer to rely on Andy’s skills.

Andy Murray waves goodbye to Centre Court
Andy Murray waves goodbye to Centre Court (Victoria Jones/PA)

“To sit in the box and try and do what we can to help him try and get over the line and put in the performances that he can, it’s enjoyable and it’s just a shame that it didn’t go his way.

“Tsitsipas played great, his forehand was incredible. If things had gone a little differently, maybe there was electronic line-calling or the scheduling had allowed him to finish the same day, who knows, he might still be in the tournament. He’s definitely not delusional to carry on.”

O’Mara has gone from fan of Murray to friend to coach, and he could not be more impressed with his compatriot’s approach to his career.

“Just his level of dedication is incredible,” he said. “Every single day he’s doing everything he can to maximise his level, maximise what his body can do. That for me is the most impressive thing, and also his love for the game.

“That’s something that people don’t quite see is how much he loves the game, how much he wants to improve, how much motivation he does have for that. It’s been an absolute privilege to see him up close.”