When a player ranked number 40 loses a desperately tight match to one in the top five it could rarely be considered a cause for mourning.
The moist eyes of Andy Murray last night told you otherwise, the veteran Scot clearly devastated by his second round loss at Wimbledon on the tenth anniversary of his first singles title.
The twice champion has spent most of his thirties painstakingly fighting against injury and the onset of sporting old age, and above anywhere it is the All England Club where the payoff is meant to come.
So as he reviewed his second straight exit from the second round he was inconsolable, and certainly it was no mitigation that he was giving away 35 ranking places and a fully functioning hip to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Resuming at two set to one up with the full steam of the Centre Court behind him, he ended up falling 7-6 6-7 4-6 7-6 6-4 in an overall time of four hours and 40 minutes. Again there was no telling Murray that he had dragged the finest grass court performance of Greek’s career in the course of it.
Andy Murray crashed out of Wimbledon after his second round clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas
Greek tennish star Stefanos Tsitsipas was emotional after coming out on top against Murray
Making it all the more painful is that there were no shortage of what-ifs attached to a result that left Liam Broady, beaten in the third round, as the last male survivor from the host nation in the Championships, after the demise of Cam Norrie.
Might it have been different for Murray if they had carried on the previous night when he had the momentum but they were dragged off for the curfew? Could he have clinched the win if, returning at 15-30 at 4-4 in the fourth set, he had bothered to challenge an incorrect call which failed to spot that his response to the Greek’s serve had actually hit the line?
Perhaps the wider question concerns what might have happened if Murray had managed to secure himself a seeding in the top 32, which he so nearly did.
That would have guaranteed him avoiding an opponent like Tsitsipas until the third round at the earliest, when he might have had a gentler introduction to the tournament and the chance to settle into his stride.
Meticulous as ever, Murray structured the last few months to try and boost his ranking into that zone – skipping the French Open – but just fell short and so was always at the mercy of the draw.
If he is try and eke out one more deep run at a Grand Slam he needs to catch a break with who he plays. So far this season he has beaten three players in the top twenty but nobody ranked higher than 14.
Had he squeezed past Tsitsipas there would have been a very winnable match today against Serbia’s Laslo Djere, and that will have just added to the misery he was feeling last night.
Murray could not hide his disappointment after suffering his five-set defeat against Tsitsipas
The ex-champion bowed out on Centre Court in what could be his final Wimbledon appearance
As it was the match he had played against Tsitsipas had more the feel and calibre of a quarter or semi-final. Murray had played so well on Thursday evening there was the sense he was turning back time, to before his hip problems.
According to the BBC the audience for that had peaked at five million, and it is the sort of figure that few can deliver this fortnight.
No wonder everyone wants Murray to go on as long as he can, but nothing lasts forever. There could be a double farewell to two greats next year if he and Rafael Nadal make it back to SW19, but the fact is that both of them are just one more significant injury away from joining Roger Federer in retirement.
Murray was not framing it in any longer term context last night, just the immediate impact of what he was sensing: ‘I had a good chance of having a proper run for the first time in a long time at a slam. I didn’t take it,’ he said. ‘Regardless of the atmosphere and those things, it’s still very, very disappointing.’
The conditions were very different upon the resumption, with the roof open to the sun and wind after playing in the heavier air the night before.
While the ball was coming through quicker it was still the same elaborate game of hide and seek that Murray was playing with his opponent’s backhand, very much his weaker side.
Tsitsipas, 24, embraced the British veteran after their closely-fought battle on Centre Court
The Scot probed it at every opportunity, but it was desperately hard to create any break opportunities, such was the strength and consistency of the world number five’s first serve.
The one chance came at 4-4 and 15-30, when his backhand cross court return skimmed the line. The line judge and umpire missed it and so did Murray and his support box. The point would have been replayed if Murray appealed.
Tsitsipas turned the tiebreak by winning a long rally at 3-3 and then closed it out with his serve. Murray’s head dropped and he was broken early in the fifth set. Only in the very last game did he excite thoughts of a comeback by forcing a deuce from two match points down. Ultimately, his outstanding ability at returning serve was not quite up to the job yesterday.
Not that Murray had anything to apologise for, he has given more than enough to Wimbledon, and then some. That this almost felt like an upset tells you all you need to know.