Former British #1 and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray withdrew from the tournament just a day prior to the start of play. Murray was slated to face Benoit Paire in round 1, with a potential meeting against rival Juan Martin Del Potro in the third round.
The British star released a statement on his withdrawal citing that playing best of 5 set matches would be too much strain on his body during the ongoing recovery period from hip surgery that sidelined him since Wimbledon 2017. His return came nearly a year later at Queens Club, where he lost a narrow contest against Australian big server Nick Kyrgios. He then headed to Eastbourne where he easily dispatched fellow recovering veteran Stan Wawrinka before losing in straight sets to the current British #1 Kyle Edmund.
Murray plans to participate in the upcoming North American hard court season, and should make his Grand Slam return at the 2018 US Open, a tournament that he’s won once before in his career (2012). Given how well he played in his three matches this year, there appears to be strong confidence that his recovery will be successful and he can return to a high level of play. Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic also had their own injury problems and Nadal proved he could beat them, while Djokovic is currently rounding into form himself.
The absence of Murray, even in a less than match ready state, will put a damper on the summer of tennis for the home British fans and all of those who were eager to see Murray return to SW19 for competitive matchplay. The weight of British hopes on the men’s side will now rest firmly on the shoulders of Edmund, who has taken the mantle for British men’s tennis since Murray went down last season.
Juan Martin Del Potro and Jeremy Chardy both stand to benefit. Chardy is a competitive grass court player who is now likely to reach Round 3 against Del Potro, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals once in his career (2013). Without Murray, expect to see some new faces taking to center court in London.