Murray beaten on possible French Open farewell

Andy Murray waves goodbye to the French Open crowd after losing to Stan Wawrinka
Andy Murray's defeat by Stan Wawrinka was only his fourth match since rupturing ankle ligaments in March [Getty Images]

Andy Murray may have played his final French Open singles match after losing to Stan Wawrinka in a one-sided first-round meeting between the veteran pair.

Britain's Murray, 37, has said this year is likely to be his last one on tour and avoided surgery on an ankle injury in order to return to Roland Garros.

But his lack of court time was evident in a 6-4 6-4 6-2 loss to the 39-year-old Swiss.

It was the former world number one's first appearance on the Paris clay since a first-round defeat in 2020, and only the second since a brutal loss in the 2017 semi-finals – both also at the hands of Wawrinka.

"It was always going to be tough, tough match. Stan has, over the years, played brilliant tennis on that court," Murray said.

"I was expecting him to play very well. I think he did that. He gave me very few opportunities.

"I wish I could have done a little bit better."

Murray's exit on day one in Paris came after Jack Draper lost to Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong as the British campaign got off to an inauspicious start.

Draper, 22, is 35th in the world but was beaten 7-5 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 3-6 6-3 by 176th-ranked De Jong.

Murray and Draper were the first of six British players to step out on to the Roland Garros dirt, with Katie Boulter, Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Harriet Dart opening their campaigns on Monday and Tuesday.

Murray's French Open is not over yet as he has entered the men's doubles alongside Evans.

Murray looks undercooked against sharp Wawrinka

When Murray played Wawrinka in 2017, the pair were operating in the peaks of their careers.

But the physical exertions of the match – and that tournament – exacerbated a hip injury which derailed Murray’s career and later needed surgery to prolong it.

Being able to return to playing with a metal cap in his hip joint was something no other singles player had ever done – but the obstacles have continued to appear in his way.

The fact he has even been able to return to Roland Garros again this year is remarkable.

When Murray ruptured ankle ligaments in a Miami Open match on 24 March, the three-time Grand Slam champion feared he would not be able to say farewell to the place where he came runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2016.

Murray did return but arrived with little expectation. Wawrinka had not won back-to-back matches since last year’s US Open, but he was much sharper than Murray and clinical when his chances arrived.

The tone for Murray’s evening was set when he lost serve in the first game of the night-session match. The Scot was unable to take two break points at 2-1 and came under more pressure himself at 0-40 4-2 before Wawrinka served out the opening set.

Murray lost serve again early in the second and chances to break back were rare until Wawrinka fought back from 0-30 5-4 to extend his advantage.

The third set was even more one-sided, sealed with another trademark backhand winner down the line from 2015 champion Wawrinka.

The pair shared a warm and long embrace at the net, where Wawrinka said he told Murray he was a "great champion".

A poignant moment which demonstrated their mutual respect was followed by a standing ovation for Murray, who waved farewell on what could be his final appearance on Chatrier.

"It was a great match to play, to be on centre court, and play against Stan, who I've had great battles with, and a great crowd," Murray said.

"But sitting here I would have put in a better performance, or had a closer match, or got through than to lose in the first round."

Frustrated Draper still has work to do

Jack Draper reacts during his French Open defeat
Jack Draper has reached a career-high ranking of 35th in the world [Getty Images]

Draper is a fine talent with ambitions of reaching the world's top 10, but this defeat was another example of the work he still has to do.

The left-hander recently brought South African former world number nine Wayne Ferreira into his coaching team to help achieve his goal, saying before he faced De Jong that his game - particularly his serve - is "in transition".

Landing only 50% of his first serves, and winning just 51% of second-serve points, were indicative of that.

Double faults also came at costly moments, none more so than the one at 30-40 in the seventh game of the decider which helped De Jong seal victory.

"My serve has been a problem this year. I'm trying to change it to make it better," Draper said.

"The confidence isn't there at the moment on my serve, and it's a problem I'm going to have to work on. It's really letting me down."

While Draper struggled, 23-year-old De Jong showed assurance after his three qualifying victories to reach the main draw.

Only once had the Briton played a five-set match - when he came through to beat Marcos Giron in tough conditions at this year's Australian Open.

That felt like a landmark moment in Draper's career, showing he had built up the physical and mental resilience to overcome adversity.

However, Draper was unable to win another Grand Slam decider as De Jong set up a second-round meeting with Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz.

"[Last year] I couldn't manage near to three sets, and now this is probably, I think, the longest match I've played," Draper added.

"I didn't cramp, I didn't break down. The issue today wasn't physicality, it was my tennis. So I think that's a real positive."