Earthquake at Queen's as Murray loses to 'lucky loser'
The world number one bundled out of Wimbledon warm-up by journeyman Jordan Thompson
A mild earthquake was felt in a leafy corner of south-west London in the sultry sunshine of Tuesday evening, and it was all thanks to an Aussie.
Jordan Thompson was responsible for the tremors that rocked the Queen's Club and Andy Murray was the man left shaken. The world number one, the player widely expected to retain his Wimbledon crown next month, was unceremoniously dumped out of Queen's by a journeyman ranked 90 in the world.
It wasn't even a close contest. Murray was thrashed. It was all over in 101 extraordinary minutes as Thompson cantered to a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory. The wizard of Oz hadn't even expected to be playing. He was on standby, receiving a call-up earlier in the day when Murray's scheduled first-round opponent, fellow Briton Aljaz Bedene, withdrew with a wrist injury.
As BBC Sport rather patronisingly noted in its preview of the first-round match, "luckily Australia's world number 90 Jordan Thompson had not nipped out for a shopping trip in the West End. He was kicking about the site, picked up his phone and brought in as a lucky loser from qualifying".
For "lucky loser" read "cannon fodder". But unfortunately for Murray, Thompson didn't stick to the script. Playing with the carefree abandon of a man with nothing to lose, the 23-year-old Australian produced a brilliant service game, recording speeds of up to 130mph, while he moved with a lithe athleticism that was in contrast to the awkward diffidence of his opponent.
All the same, winning in straight sets against Murray, the man who's won five of the last eight titles at Queens, was scarcely believable. Spectators, journalists, officials, even Thompson himself, all looked somewhat bemused at the end of the match.
"I don't know if I can say my immediate thoughts," said Thompson at his post-match interview. "I was sitting around yesterday hoping to get a match. Here I am, I got in the draw and I was so lucky to be here."
In what will surely be a contender for understatement of the year, Thompson admitted that he "didn't expect to be winning in straight sets", and he also confirmed that it's "the biggest win of my career".
It's one of the few wins of his career, to be honest, from a man who's never claimed a tour title, in stark comparison to Murray who has amassed 45, including three Grand Slams. Thompson's best showing in a Slam event was in the Australian Open this year when he battled through to the second round.
As for Murray, the defeat hurt, and not just because it was his first loss at Queen's since he was beaten in the third round by Radek Stepanek in 2014. "Yeah, [it's] a big blow, for sure," he said. "Obviously this tournament has given me great preparation in the past, and when I have done well here, you know, Wimbledon has tended to go pretty well, too… hopefully I get enough time on the court these next couple of weeks and work on some things, because I'm going to need to. If I play like that, I certainly won't win Wimbledon."
The only consolation for Murray was that he exited the first round of the tournament in good company, following third seed Milos Raonic and second seed Stan Wawrinka through the door marked "humiliation" on a day when Queen's impeccable foundations were rocked to the core.