LONDON • For Andy Murray, the perfect launching pad for this week's Davis Cup final would have been a creditable showing at the ATP World Tour Finals and the year-ending No. 2 ranking secured.
Instead, the British tennis player departed hurriedly, leaving behind a violently smashed racket and memories of an error-strewn display that he must purge before leading the Britain team against Belgium in Ghent on Friday.
The Scot had insisted that he was at the London 02 arena intent on a title victory. But his mood after falling by the wayside in the group stage for the second year in a row, by virtue of a 6-7 (4-7), 4-6 loss to French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, was one of total dejection.
Feeeling down too was Spaniard Rafael Nadal, after he lost 3-6, 3-6 to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in yesterday's semi-finals.
Hopefully in a day or two, the realisation that Murray, 28, stands on the verge of an accomplishment fit to stand proudly alongside his two Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold will rekindle his competitive instinct.
However, as he headed back to the court in front of an empty stadium with Jonas Bjorkman, his coach, in an attempt to hit away some of his frustration, the Davis Cup was the last thing on his mind.
I wanted to try and win this tournament and I made way too many errors. Cheap ones as well and it's disappointing.
ANDY MURRAY after his error-strewn loss to French Open champion Wawrinka
"I didn't find it difficult not thinking about the Davis Cup final," he insisted. "I wanted to try and win this tournament and I made way too many errors. Cheap ones as well and it's disappointing."
Did he find any consolation in the fact that he will be linking up with a British team who are favourites to end a 79-year wait for the biggest team prize in tennis?
"No, not right now," Murray said. "I'm not so much concerned about next week. I'm just disappointed that I lost the last two matches.
"I made too many mistakes."
The Scot admitted that he could have few complaints about his Tour Finals failure after a lacklustre effort against Rafael Nadal and then the subsequent error-strewn defeat by Wawrinka.
The only positive thing that Murray managed to report was a clean bill of health with no injury concerns to worry Leon Smith, captain of the Britain team.
Murray insisted his inconsistent efforts were not the result of spending most of the week before the Tour Finals practising on clay courts at Queen's Club to prepare for the surface that will be used in the Davis Cup final in Ghent.
"There are no excuses. To be honest, I made too many errors. It was tough. I couldn't quite get the balance," he said.
"My timing wasn't there. I felt like my timing would get better as the event went on and it didn't. Actually, it got worse."
Murray will now focus on helping Britain win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936.
And the former Wimbledon champion is confident the prospect of victory at the end of a memorable Davis Cup campaign, which has already included wins over the United States, France and Australia, will quickly make him forget his London exit.
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS
Final: StarHub Ch201, tomorrow, 2am