The umpires and players at the French Open are locked in a weird waltz – slow-slow, quick-quick slow – over the exasperating issue of time violations for tardy serving, and Andy Murray found himself at the centre of the debate on day five.
Novak Djokovic shrugged aside a fleeting lapse of concentration to ease through his opening match at the French Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
If British tennis is heading ever so cautiously in the right direction, the pilot and guiding light for the foreseeable future remains the man who four years ago got lost on the Paris Métro en route to dinner with his mother.
The opening day of the French Open was all sunshine and summer roses until a young man armed, thankfully, with nothing more threatening than a mobile phone, invaded Court Philippe Chatrier to have his photograph taken alongside Roger Federer – then strolled from the scene of his misdemeanour as if he owned the place.
Andy Murray begins his eighth French Open with what should be an uncomplicated workout against the Argentinian lucky loser Facundo Argüello on Monday. However, he may be mildly distracted by the growing suspicion this could be his last major campaign with his coach, Amélie Mauresmo.
When Roger Federer said on the eve of his 39th match against Novak Djokovic, “He’s not Rafa Nadal”, he must have suspected his hubris would come back to haunt him. afternoon it did.
Eight matches in 11 days on a previously unfavoured surface, a three-set duel that finished so late it prompted promises of an official review of scheduling on the ATP tour, and, to top it all, a virtually flawless performance against the best clay-court player in history.
Andy Murray dropped a heavy hint on Sunday that he is preparing for life on Tour without his coach, Amélie Mauresmo, who is due to give birth to her first child in August.
Novak Djokovic penned the opening chapter of his annual attempt to reshape the most familiar narrative in modern tennis with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Roger Federer has been knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters in the third round by Gaël Monfils, on a bad day for Switzerland as Stanislas Wawrinka also lost.
That is it for Wimbledon fairytales this year – unless Sam Querrey can protect a two-set lead and pull off the shock of the year against Novak Djokovic when they return on Saturday.
And then there were none. It has not quite been a week – and a decent chunk of that has been lost to rain – but British interest in the women’s singles was ended in the Friday gloaming at Wimbledon. Tara Moore, the last of six home players in the draw, was defeated by the veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova in a rollercoaster encounter 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.
The only Scottish independence Andy Murray is interested in this week is his own and, unshackled from extraneous distractions, he is doing an excellent job of rediscovering the focus that went missing in the early stages of the French Open last month.