Wimbledon 2011: Andy Murray's defeat - what the papers say
- All England Club, London
- 20 June-3 July
- Live on BBC One, Two, 3D, HD, Red Button, online (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary from 0900 BST on BBC Sport website (#bbctennis); watch again on iPlayer
British number one Andy Murray's Wimbledon challenge was ended yet again by Spaniard Rafael Nadal at the semi-final stage on Friday.
The defending champion powered past his 24-year-old opponent 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-4 to book a final showdown with Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
The newspapers have delivered their verdicts on Murray's defeat.
"Rafa Nadal had his left foot anaesthetised before taking his place on Centre Court yesterday. Then he went out and did the same to Andy Murray. It may have been painful to watch but, thankfully, the British No 1 didn't feel a thing. And so we are still searching for our first Wimbledon finalist in 73 years." Steven Howard
"For more than an hour on Centre Court, Andy Murray was better than Rafa Nadal - sufficiently so to encourage growing hopes that he deserved at least a chance to reach for the ultimate prize there on Sunday. That he fell short for the third year in a row at this stage of the tournament had as much to do with his struggle for consistency when in such a position as the irresistible Spanish force in front of him." Kevin Mitchell
"Nadal overcame a slow start to produce some of the highest-quality tennis witnessed at SW19 and blow that statistic completely out of the water. The ability to deliver your best under pressure is what separates the true elite from their talented peers and it was the difference between Nadal and Murray." Colin Duncan
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
"This will be remembered as the occasion when Andy Murray fired long with what should have been a simple forehand and so blasted a seven-game hole in this semi-final against Rafael Nadal. Just like last summer, Nadal welted a great number of forehands past Murray on Centre Court, and then approached the net at the end to say sorry." Mark Hodgkinson
"Andy Murray became the second player after Tim Henman to lose his first three Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open era last night. It was not the kind of history the latest British number one had dreamed of making. Like his predecessor as the great home hope, the world number four raised expectations with a superb first set against the defending champion. But under the relentless pressure of Rafa Nadal, a Murray meltdown of seven losing games - including dropping his serve three times - stopped his momentum dead in its tracks." Neil McLeman
"The wait goes on. Andy Murray lit a flame of hope inside British hearts of a first home champion for 75 years here yesterday only to have it blown out by a Spanish whirlwind. Murray lost in the semi-finals for the third year in succession and for the third time in the past four years to Rafael Nadal after his apparent grip on the match was torn from his hands." Paul Newman
"He was rueful after the defeat. Not tearful, as he has been when losing a Grand Slam final, but understandably downhearted. Although sure he had played better over this past fortnight than he had done last year, especially against Nadal, he also admitted there were aspects of his game which could and should have been better." Stuart Bathgate
"Murray himself was consoled by the offer of a ringside seat at David Haye's world heavyweight clash with Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg, after it emerged Haye has organised a private jet for his friend. 'I was hoping Andy wouldn't be free to come here, but there we go,' said Haye." Richard Copeman
"Nearer and nearer it seems Murray gets, but once Nadal had been granted that suggestion of a reprieve - that perhaps was a mite too anxious he went on to produce spellbinding quality, a rash of thunderous winners to which the challenger could offer only fortitude and a flailing racket." Neil Harman
"So finally, once and for all, we know the answer to the hottest question in Britain over the past fortnight. The cruel answer is simply: No, Andy Murray is not as good as Rafael Nadal. He will work fiercely to close the gap. But on the hard evidence of last night on Centre Court, when Murray tried high-risk tennis to try to force his way to the final, Nadal has more shots, more pace, more skill." Bob McKenzie
NEW YORK TIMES
"Nadal shifted his game from scintillating to sublime in the second set and never downshifted. Murray's strategy was to play with abandon. He never lost his nerve, but his forehand abandoned him in the final three sets." Karen Crouse