IF you thought this was painful to watch, just think what it must have been like to play in. So affecting and agonising was the manner of Andy Murray relinquishing his Wimbledon title against Sam Querrey yesterday that you were searching around for analogies to make sense of it all.

However you looked at it, the Wimbledon crowd were wincing along with their hero by the end of this 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 ordeal, as daggers of pain appeared to shoot through the Scot’s body with each change of direction and hammer blow from his opponent.

It says it all for the combative nature of this 30-year-old from Dunblane at a Wimbledon dominated by early withdrawals – not least that of Novak Djokovic yesterday - that this one should go the distance, but it was still Querrey who landed the knockout blow. Murray’s pursuit of a third SW19 title comes to an end at the last eight, just as his previous defence of his title had done back in 2014. Even if it had to be prised from his fingers.

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It was only when you saw the deterioration in the Scot’s condition in the final two sets here that you appreciated just how much of this year’s tournament has been in outright defiance of his body. This is a hip problem he has had since childhood, which didn’t get better after his semi-final defeat to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open and required him to rest up and cancel two planned exhibition matches in the lead-up to Wimbledon.

Querrey said this week that even the Super Bowl couldn’t match the attention focused on Andy Murray around Wimbledon. While that now shifts to Jo Konta – Centre Court might have spontaneously combusted had they both won this weekend – it was testament to the Scot’s strength of character that even amid all the pain he was still beating himself up for not taking care of this in straight sets. One hip had taken him to the cusp of the semis. There were certainly little signs of the trouble ahead when Querrey put a forehand long, allowing the Scot to break to 15 for a 2-0 first lead which he duly saw through to a rare shout of ‘mon the Hibees’. He was even a break to the good in the second set. Lesser players might have disappeared at that point, but the American redoubled his efforts, breaking straight back for 4-4, then capitalising on his second set point.

Having found himself pegged back from a break up in the third set, a wretched tie-break from Querrey offered further promise for the Scot. But somewhere along the line the damage had been done, as the fourth and fifth sets offered an alternative storyline, American aces raining down on the World No 1. Only two of the Scot’s 18 serves in the fifth set didn’t come back, compared to 12 of Querrey’s 17.

Murray still attempted to go above and beyond to salvage the situation. The killer double break for 5-1 in the final set arrived with a harum scarum 18-point rally only for Querrey to maintain his poise and put the ball into the open court.

While Querrey celebrated, Murray simply removed his hat, congratulated his opponent and walked off. He had done all his body would let him. It just wasn’t his day.