Andy Murray was stunned by Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the first round of Queen’s Club as the world no 1 suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats of his career. Murray was eyeing to warm up for his Wimbledon title defence by clinching the Queen’s title for the sixth time, but he was in for a shock as he succumbed to an astonishing 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 exit against the world number 90.
The 30-year-old’s loss was all the more notable because Thompson was only called up to face Murray at the last minute.
Murray was scheduled to face Aljaz Bedene, but he withdrew with a wrist injury just hours before Tuesday’s match, leaving Thompson, who was at the west London venue as an alternate after losing in the qualifying rounds, to scramble to get ready for his unexpected date with destiny.
With the Queen’s champion well below his best, 23-year-old Thompson seized his opportunity in memorable fashion and handed Murray his earliest exit from the tournament since 2012.
“It’s a big blow for sure. It’s not ideal obviously,” said Murray, who has failed to get past the second round in three of his last four tournaments.
“He was better than me. I didn’t create loads of chances and didn’t return particularly well.
“If I play like that, I certainly won’t win Wimbledon.”
The shock loss ended Murray’s 14-match winning streak on grass and his 10-match unbeaten run at Queen’s.
After reaching the French Open semi-finals to raise hopes that he was finally back on track following a poor first half of the season, Murray will head to Wimbledon, which starts on July 3, with fresh doubts about the state of his game.
“Andy’s the world number one. I’ve looked up to him. That’s definitely the biggest win of my career,” Thompson said.
“I was sitting around hoping to get a match. I got in the draw and I’m so lucky to be here.”
Murray’s downfall left Queen’s without the top three seeds as world number three Stan Wawrinka and world number six Milos Raonic also crashed out.
Wawrinka was beaten 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 by Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the Swiss star’s first match since being thrashed by Rafael Nadal in the French Open final.
“I’m really sad to have lost. I would have liked more matches here,” Wawrinka said.
“There’s still a lot of work to do physically and on my game, to be in a better place on grass.”
Raonic finished as Queen’s and Wimbledon runner-up last year, but the Canadian’s hopes of another strong showing on grass were wrecked by Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis’s 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8) triumph.
“I was just a little too passive. I was letting him dictate too much,” Raonic said.
“Obviously the disappointment is high right now.”