Former US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has hinted that retirement is just around the corner after he was forced to abandon his first round match at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday morning AEST.
The Swiss veteran was trailing 4-6, 6-7 against France’s Corentin Moutet when he shook hands following the second-set tiebreak, prematurely ending the contest on Court 5.
Moutet’s record against the former World No. 3 improves to 3-0.
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Wawrinka was a shadow of himself on Tuesday, repeatedly calling for a trainer to tend to his finger, although it remains unclear what exactly his injury was.
The 37-year-old roared back to life in the second set, finding himself on set points on multiple occasions, but the 2016 champion couldn’t land the decisive blow before eventually calling it quits.
Stunned gasps echoed around the venues as Wawrinka shook hands and packed his things.
“I know that I‘m closer to the end, that’s for sure,” he conceded after the defeat.
“It’s a reality. I will never be able to play as well as I did in my career because I’m getting older, but I believe that I still have some good and big results in me and that’s why I keep gonna fight a little bit.”
Moutet will face either Czech star Tomas Machac or No. 21 seed Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round.
Elsewhere, British icon Andy Murray marked the 10th anniversary of his maiden grand slam triumph with an impressive US Open straight sets win over Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.
The 35-year-old defeated the 24th seed 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, showing no signs of recent cramping problems which plagued his hardcourt summer.
“It felt like five sets,” said Murray after his first straight sets victory at the slams since Wimbledon in 2017.
“They were very tricky conditions, very hot and humid. Just really happy to get through that one.”
Murray won the first of his three grand slams at the US Open in 2012, ending Britain’s 76-year wait for a men’s champion at the majors.
“It seems like a long time ago when I won here. A lot has happened in my career since then but it was huge moment for me.”
Now ranked 51, Murray will face American wildcard Emilio Nava for a place in the last 32.
Meanwhile, two-time grand slam champion Simona Halep was knocked out of the US Open after suffering a shock defeat to unseeded Ukrainian Daria Snigur on Tuesday morning.
– with AFP