May 26 2024 - Andy Murray 1wide

A bittersweet embrace at the net between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray marked the end of the latter’s run at Roland Garros, bowing out in a lopsided 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 first-round defeat on Sunday.

It was the 22nd meeting between the longtime rivals and fellow three-time Grand Slam champions, as well as a rematch of their classic 2016 and 2017 semifinal clashes. But, tellingly, their most recent meeting came at last year’s ATP Challenger event in Bordeaux—another signal to tennis fans that Wawrinka, 39, and Murray, 37, are indeed nearing the end of their storied careers.

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The players were left “emotional” after battling for two hours and 19 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier, which saw both struggling physically—even as Wawrinka fired 35 winners past Murray and saved both break points he faced to seal the win.

Speaking in a post-match press conference, Murray revealed how much his respect for the Swiss player has grown since their first meeting at a Davis Cup match in 2005.

WATCH: Through the years: Andy Murray reflects on Roland Garros memories


Q: You had quite an extended exchange with Stan at the net afterwards and kind of a warm embrace. What did you guys say to each other then?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, it's a private conversation, but I said well done for winning.

We have obviously played each other and known each other for an extremely long time. I first played him back in 2005, and had some great matches with him. We spent a lot of time on the practice court and stuff with each other over the years.

Obviously, both of us, we are close towards the end. Yeah, I just had a chat with him at the net.

Wawrinka similarly declined to share the contents of their conversation at the net, but opened up a bit more about the emotions of the match as both players are “getting closer to the end.”

While his peers Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Murray have all either retired or are in the process of waving farewell, Wawrinka himself has been determined to keep going while his motivation remains high despite his ranking dipping to No. 98 this week.

"He's (an) amazing guy, amazing player, such a big fighter... We have a lot of respect for each other," said Wawrinka.

"He's (an) amazing guy, amazing player, such a big fighter... We have a lot of respect for each other," said Wawrinka. 

Q: Can you just tell us what you and Andy spoke about at the net. Looked like quite an emotional moment at the end.

STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it was emotional, for sure. We're getting closer to the end, and we played so many times over the last 20 years. A lot of emotion.

Was amazing to be on the Chatrier night session, something I never had a chance to do. And, yeah, he's (an) amazing guy, amazing player, such a big fighter.

We have a lot of respect for each other.

"He's one of the hardest worker on tour. Since more than 20 years, he always wanted to improve. He always improved his game," Wawrinka continued, adding, "He achieved everything a player could achieve in tennis... Hopefully he's going to keep going a little bit."


For Murray, Roland Garros was just his second ATP-level tournament back in action after a grizzly ankle injury at the Miami Open. The Brit suffered a full rupture of his ATFL and a near full-thickness rupture of his CFL, leaving him out of action for most of the clay swing and threatening to derail his farewell season.

Before the injury, Murray was adamant that he wanted to hang up his racquets after the summer, calling time on a career that saw him lift three Grand slam trophies, reach the world No. 1 ranking, win Olympic gold and more. But after coming back from his injury, he’s adopted a “when the time is right, I will stop” approach to retirement.

With the result Wawrinka moved on to the second round, where he awaits the winner of No. 32 seed Cameron Norrie and Pavel Kotov. The 2015 champion improved to 3-7 on the season after his victory over Murray, and narrowed the gap to 10-13 in their head-to-head.