Andy Murray is keeping his fingers crossed an injury he picked up in his final defeat by Matteo Berrettini at the Boss Open in Stuttgart will not affect the rest of his grass-court campaign.
The two-time Wimbledon champion had made it through to the final of a grass-court tournament for the first time since lifting his second title at the All England Club in 2016, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios.
He was bidding to win his first title since 2019 but, after forcing a deciding set, began to experience discomfort and twice needed treatment before succumbing to a 6-4 5-7 6-3 defeat.
Murray appeared to be pointing to his left hip area in conversations with the physio but, speaking later, revealed it was abdominal pain that had affected him.
He said: “I got some pain in my ab when I was serving. Not something I’ve had before. I’ll need to get it checked when I get home.
“Obviously I’ve played a lot of matches. This is the most matches I’ve played in two weeks since probably 2016. That’s a really long time. It’s probably normal that I would feel some stuff in my body but I don’t really know the severity of it.
“Hopefully it’s all right. Obviously some good wins, it was a good week, but not the way I wanted to finish the week. I felt like I was playing well enough to win and I got myself in a really good position going into the third set so a frustrating end to what was a good week.”
Murray called the physio to the court after dropping serve to start the deciding set and then requested treatment mid-game at 2-4.
It appeared the 35-year-old might decide to retire, but he fought on until the finish line, which came when Berrettini broke for a second time in the set.
With only two weeks until Wimbledon, and with Murray due to play at Queen’s Club next week, the Scot must hope this is not an issue that will put him back on the sidelines.
He had fought back very well to force a decider after dropping serve in the third game of the match as Berrettini, playing in his first tournament since March following hand surgery, showed again how well suited his game is to grass.
Speaking on court, Murray said: “Sorry I couldn’t get over the line today, but there’s been a lot of progress the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to what the future has to hold, I’m feeling a lot better about my game. Hopefully my body can hold up a little while longer so I can keep playing matches like this.”
Despite the defeat, Murray will return to the world’s top 50 on Monday for the first time in four years.
Tournament organisers, meanwhile, announced they are investigating Kyrgios’ claims that he received racial abuse from the stands during Saturday’s semi-final.
A statement read: “We have expressed our regret towards Nick Kyrgios and his team and assured that any kind of discrimination is unacceptable. The incident is currently under investigation.”
At the Libema Open in Holland, local wild card Tim Van Rijthoven completed a remarkable week by defeating top seed Daniil Medvedev to claim his first ATP Tour title.
The 25-year-old had never won a tour-level match before this week but defeated the top three seeds, following up victories over Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime by seeing off Medvedev, who will return to world number one on Monday, 6-4 6-1.
There was also an upset in the women’s final, with seventh seed Ekaterina Alexandrova defeating top seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 6-0.
British doubles specialist Neal Skupski continued his superb season with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof, the pair defeating Australian duo Matt Ebden and Max Purcell 4-6 7-5 10-6 to win their fifth title of the year.