WIMBLEDON: Andy Murray was pleased to be back playing singles at Wimbledon after a four-year absence, pleased to make it through three matches this week without any new injuries and pleased to be playing in front of raucous crowds.
And still, after a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 loss at Centre Court to No.10 seed Denis Shapovalov on Friday night, Murray was left asking himself a rather glum question.
"There is a part of me that feels a bit like I have put in so much work the last three months and, ultimately, didn't play how I would want and expect. And it's like: Is it worth it?" Murray said.
"Is all of that training and everything that you're doing in the gym, unless you're able to, like, practice and improve your game and get matches and continue (to) get a run of tournaments, is it worth all of the work that you're doing?" And then he offered an answer.
"There is part of me that feels like, yes, it is, because I had great memories and stuff from this event and (played) in some brilliant atmosphere," Murray said.
"But then, also, I finished the match tonight and I'm saying to my team . I'm just not happy with how I played."
The 34-year-old Murray recently returned to the tour after a three-month absence because of a groin problem, just the latest in a series of injuries.
Most serious was the bad hip that wound up requiring two operations.
That is why he hadn't played singles at the All England Club since 2017, a year after he won his second title at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.
The first, famously, came in 2013, making him Britain's first male champion there in 77 years.
Murray opened this trip to Wimbledon with a four-set victory over 24th-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, then needed five sets to edge Oscar Otte.
He did not manage to put up nearly as much of a fight against Shapovalov, a 22-year-old left-hander from Canada who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.
"Unless me and my team can find a way of keeping me on the court for a consistent period of time and allow me to practice the way that I need to to compete with these guys," Murray said, "then that's when the discussions about what I do next will come in, because I have genuinely put a lot into this to get to this point."