Andy Murray will endure some sleepless nights after missing the chance to win his first Australian Open title, says Novak Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker.
Murray was the among the favourites following Djokovic’s early exit yet the Scot tumbled out in the fourth round on Sunday to world number 50 Mischa Zverev.
He may have ruined his best chance to end his Melbourne drought as Djokovic is struggling for form and the emerging generation is yet to fully blossom.
It leaves the men’s draw hard to predict with Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all well-placed to capitalise.
“It’s a tough loss for Andy,” said Becker, a two-time Australian Open champion and now working as part of Eurosport’s live coverage of the tournament.
“After an amazing finish to last year, he was the clear-cut favourite when the tournament started.
“That’s a tough pill to swallow but Andy is a toughie, he will find a way to recover, but he’s going to have a sleepless night or two.
“It’s really open now – already after the Djokovic loss everyone thought ‘it’s my year now’. After the Murray loss I think everybody else in the tournament feels that they have the chance to win it.
Murray has lost five times in the Australian Open final but the world number one bristled when asked if his latest loss represented a missed opportunity.
“Did I miss an opportunity? I don’t know,” Murray said. “Every year you come is a different chance, a different opportunity.
“I mean, still, even had I got through the match, Roger is waiting. Stan’s still in. Guys like (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga.
“You’ve got Roger plus three guys that are pretty much in the top 10 in the world in my half. There’s certainly no guarantees, even if I got through today’s match, that I would have gone further.
“Yeah, it’s disappointing to lose, but I don’t feel like this is any more of an opportunity than other years.”
Britain could have had two men in the Australian Open quarter-final of the singles for the first time in 40 years but instead there were none after Dan Evans also bowed out to Tsonga.
The British number three’s run came on the back of reaching the final in Sydney earlier this month and means he is set to climb from 51st in the rankings to 45th.
“I think last week proved playing the good guys, then coming here, it improves your game massively. It does for me,” Evans said.
“To be honest, I’m looking forward to the whole year playing those tournaments week in, week out. It’s what I wanted to do.
“I don’t plan on dropping down to play in any Challengers. I want to stay up there and see what I can do. It’s just better, isn’t it, to test yourself against those guys?”
Evans will now turn his attention to Britain’s Davis Cup match against Canada at the start of February. Murray is still considering whether to play in the tie.