‘What a shitty sport tennis can be’: Purcell furious after squandering six match points as Australian misery in Paris continues

Australia’s tale of Roland Garros woes has reached new depths with Max Purcell losing six match points before finally losing his first round match in baffling fashion following a stirring comeback.

But the devastated Purcell, who defended how he delivered an underarm serve on one of his failed match points against qualifier Henri Squire, stood firm after his five-set defeat that he has “no regrets”, even as he reflected on what a “shitty sport”. tennis can be.”

The Sydney player’s agonizing elimination in the German Grand Slam newcomer on Monday left the green and gold contingent at 0-6 (five losses and one injury withdrawal) after two days with the women’s challenge already over after the previous 6-3 6- by Daria Saville. 4 loss to Jasmine Paolini on Monday.

It will be the first time since 1997 that there will be no Australian woman in the second round of the Paris Slam following Ajla Tomljanovic’s exit on Sunday.

However, it looked like Purcell would finally break the men’s drought when he recovered from two sets down against the great Squire and served twice for the match on the verge of his first five-set victory.

He would be forgiven if what happened next haunted him for the rest of his tennis days.

He failed to convert four match points when serving at 5-4, but then, having broken Squire again to serve at 6-5, he earned a fifth match point, only to make the fateful decision to serve underarm. .

“I do it a lot in practice, it’s worth a try, absolutely,” Purcell said.

“I don’t regret it, in hindsight it sucks, right? Don’t just take the positive, learn from it. “I hate living in the past.”

Max Purcell. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Squire quickly caught on to the armpit trick and won the point, leaving 25-year-old Purcell’s head understandably spinning when he then double-faulted and hit a backhand wide, taking the contest to a super tiebreaker.

In a nail-biting moment, Purcell once again fought back from 9-7 down to rescue two match points and earned a sixth which the German saved, but eventually a tired backhand at the net allowed Squire to prevail after three hours and 21 minutes. .

When asked how he would get through it, Purcell simply shrugged: “I’ll go to practice tomorrow and then double up the next day. The game continues, okay.

“I’m proud of the way I fought, I should have taken the spoils, but that’s tennis, it’s a shitty sport, you don’t always win when you’re winning.”

That was one positive Purcell took from a match, interrupted by two rain breaks, in which qualifier Squire was “playing lights out” for two sets.

“I wish he’d opened his eyes,” Purcell smiled sadly.

Earlier, Saville battled valiantly against rising star Paolini, but her second set comeback from 5-1 down to the brink of 5-4 fell agonizingly short, after it was interrupted by an hour-long rain delay that stopped his impulse.

But the 30-year-old Australian No. 1 didn’t complain, she only lamented having served so poorly, stopping her shot just once in eight attempts and also committing nine double faults.

“I felt like the whole match was a lot closer than maybe the score suggested,” Saville said, “but I had problems on serve and that cost me, especially in the first set.”

“But at 5-4 in that return game, I made four unforced forehand errors, trying to dictate but failing. “I’m okay with that, because I think I took a risk, but it just didn’t work out.”

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