Andy Murray can still win Wimbledon and there is no need to panic about his recent dip in form, insists former British No 1 Greg Rusedski.
Murray crashed out in the first round of the Aegon Championships on Tuesday in a shock defeat by Australian world No 90 Jordan Thompson.
The loss came just 12 days before the start of Wimbledon and leaves Murray short of both match practice on grass and confidence ahead of the third grand slam of the year.
It also continues a worrying dip in form for the world No 1, who has lost nine times already in 2017, six of those coming against opponents ranked outside the top 20.
Rusedski, however, feels Murray’s demise has been exaggerated.
“Everyone is blowing it out of all proportion,” said Rusedski, who is working as an analyst for Eurosport.
“It’s one match. At the end of the day, this isn’t Wimbledon. He has another ten days left before he has to open up the tournament so we shouldn’t read too much into this.
“It means he’s going to get a bit more practice time, he’ll be able to get on the grass at Wimbledon, which is a little slower, and on top of that the conditions are not going to be as hot. I really think Andy is going to be fine.”
Rusedski added: “He’ll just go play a few exhibition matches. Novak (Djokovic) has won Wimbledon before without playing any matches leading in and Rafa (Nadal) has done the same, so let’s all not panic about it.”
It remains to be seen whether Murray now chooses to enter any additional events next week, with Djokovic announcing on Wednesday he had accepted a wild card for the Aegon International at Eastbourne.
Djokovic has not entered an official grass-court competition between the French Open and Wimbledon since 2010, instead opting for rest and the odd exhibition match.
“This will be my first trip to Eastbourne. I have heard great things about the tournament,” Djokovic said.
“I am looking forward to fine tuning my grass-court game there ahead of Wimbledon.”
Meanwhile, British No 1 Johanna Konta crashed out of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham in the second round when she was beaten in straight sets by American Coco Vandeweghe.
World No 7 Konta won only 11 points as she lost the first set inside 24 minutes and, although she improved in the second set, fell to a 6-1, 6-3 reverse in 64 minutes.
Vandeweghe faces Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in the last eight after her 6-1, 6-4 win over Alison Riske.
Fifth seed Kristina Mladenovic edged into the quarter finals with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) win over China’s Zhang Shuai.
Elina Svitolina may skip Wimbledon because of a foot problem after the world No 5 was knocked out 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 by Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi.
Svitolina has only ever won two matches at Wimbledon and does not want to jeopardise her chances of success on hard courts.
The Ukrainian said: “I’m disappointed I’m out of the tournament, but not disappointed about my performance because I couldn’t really show even like 50 per cent of what I can do.
“I was really looking forward to this year at Wimbledon. But today the court was slippery and it’s so bad for my foot. I will do my best.
“But for the moment it’s very uncomfortable, and there is a question, I think, about it, because the season is still long and there is lots of big tournaments as well where I will feel more comfortable and confident on the hard court.”