Tennis legend Mats Wilander has brutally questioned whether British star Andy Murray should have participated in the French Open this year.
Murray currently sits at No. 111 on the ATP rankings after returning from a period out of action due to hip surgery.
The 33-year-old suffered an embarrassing first round defeat to Swiss rival Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros on Monday — the straight sets loss equalled his worst grand slam performance since 2005, winning just six games in the one-sided encounter.
Murray only won 25 per cent of points during Wawrinka’s service game, while 64 per cent of his first serves were faults.
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As a three-time grand slam champion, Murray was awarded a wildcard place in the French Open, a decision which Wilander argued was unjust.
“I worry about Andy Murray. I would love to hear him say why he is out there, giving us a false sense of hope that he is going to come back one day,” Wilander said on Eurosport.
“I keep getting a little bit disappointed. Is it his right to be out there doing that? Why? I did it and I shouldn’t have, it was the biggest mistake I did in my career.
“I think Andy Murray needs to stop thinking about himself and start thinking about who he was. Does he have a right to be out there taking wildcards from the young players?
“I was 26 when I first retired, came back at 28, played until 32 and there was a couple of years I played and should not have taken up the space where there were younger, more motivated players who were better than me.
“It’s tough to quit, for sure. By giving us all hope by playing, it’s just not right. I love the fact that he is back and trying. Hopefully he’ll figure out why he’s doing it.”
Wilander won seven grand slam titles in the 1980s, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.
Murray responded to Wilander’s scathing remarks on social media, bluntly posting to Instagram: “Love this.”
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Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios — who opted not to take part in the French Open due to safety concerns — also hit back at Wilander, swiftly telling the Swedish icon to “shut up” on social media.
“Just read what Wilander said about (Andy Murray) … shut up Mats, no one cares. Muzz, just know that however long you stay, we all appreciate and enjoy your tennis and banter,” Kyrgios tweeted.
“Also I’ve never watched a point of Mats Wilander.”
Earlier this year, Murray defeated US Open finalist Alexander Zverev at the Western and Southern Open, spurring fans to claim he had finally rediscovered his form.
On Monday, the Brit conceded he was past his prime, but will not consider retirement for a few more months.
“I’ll need to have a long, hard think and try and understand what happened,” Murray said.
“It’s going to be difficult for me to play the same level as I did before. I mean, I’m 33 now and I was ranked No. 1 in the world, so it’s difficult with all the issues that I have had.
“But, yeah, I’ll keep going. Let’s see what the next few months holds and I reckon I won’t play a match like that between now and the end of the year.”
Wawrinka will take on Germany’s Dominik Koepfer for his round two match on Wednesday AEST.