Andy Murray is today coming to terms with losing his Wimbledon crown after a chastening loss to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.
The Scot had hardly put a foot wrong in his first four matches, but he never approached his best tennis on Centre Court yesterday.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were left despondent in the Royal Box while Murray’s girlfriend Kim Sears was stony-faced as she hurried out of the stands after the defeat.
Kate looked solemn as she applauded Murray’s efforts, while William stood still and blew out his cheeks.
After the game, Murray admitted: “I just didn’t play well today and he played much better than me from the beginning to the end. That’s not going to add up to a good day at the office.”
The spotlight moves to the ladies’ singles title today with both semi-finals taking place on Centre Court.
Former champion Petra Kvitova will face fellow Czech Lucie Safarova before Canadian Eugenie Bouchard plays Simona Halep.
Forecasters are predicting a dry, bright and warm day at SW19 with a maximum temperature of 27C.
Meanwhile Murray revealed he would take a few days off following yesterday’s defeat, but “probably won’t be on a beach”.
The reigning champion was cheered on by a host of famous names in the Royal Box, including actor Hugh Grant, comedian Michael McIntyre, Princess Beatrice and England rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster.
Kate paid homage to the All England Club’s strict fashion rules for players by wearing a white dress by Australian brand Zimmermann.
Dimitrov suggested after the game that he knew from the warm-up that Murray would not be at his best.
“I think it’s just a feeling,” he said. “I have practised quite a few times with him and I know how he is striking the ball when he is at his best, I know how he is playing when he is not at his best. I think it’s just a feeling that I had.”
As the pair walked off a stunned Centre Court, Murray reminded his opponent that they should bow to the Royal Box.
Murray said: “We spoke about it before the match and we were given the instructions to bow. It used to be a tradition always. Now it’s changed unless there’s royalty in there.
“But, yeah, that’s something we talked about. I made sure to remind him when we were walking off the court, because I can imagine for him it was the first time he’s been in the semis of a slam, so just to make sure that we did it when we walked off.”
During the game Murray was spotted by some onlookers swearing in the direction of the players’ box, although it was not clear what it was in reference to.
His spokesman Matt Gentry, who was sitting in the box, said he did not hear the comments, but added: “Occasionally his language is a bit colourful and he does talk to himself.
“He does look at the box – he likes to see people he knows rather than a face in the crowd. I think they were utterances of frustration. It would have been just frustration, to be honest with you.
“He was quite circumspect after the match.”
The Scot’s fans inside Centre Court were disappointed by the defeat.
Kate Adcock, 54, who cheered Murray on from the stands, said: “It’s very disappointing. One of the big reasons we came to Wimbledon was because we haven’t had a good British player for such a long time.
“If he’d lost and it had been very close then I would have accepted that and thought ‘that’s the way it goes’. But I think because it only went to three sets and he just wasn’t in it, it was such a shame.”
Barry Treanor, 65, from York, said: “I am disappointed in his inability to adapt his game plan. The crowd were really behind him but eventually he was beaten by a better player and the crowd couldn’t do anything about it.”
Oonagh Gribbin, 30, from Northern Ireland, watched the game from Murray Mound.
“I thought Murray came out and didn’t really show any motivation like he did last year,” she said. “I don’t think even the crowd was as supportive as it was last year.”
Rachel Bateman, 27, from north London said: “I am disappointed.
“He didn’t seem as confident against Dimitrov as he was in other matches but there is always next year. When he lost the second set a lot of people left Murray Mound. It was as if they didn’t want to see him lose.”