Andy Murray had come into the interview room on Saturday and made optimistic noises about playing at Wimbledon despite a long-term injury, only to pull out around teatime on Sunday on the eve of the tournament.
When he withdrew in 2007 — due to a wrist problem — you knew he still had a long career ahead of him that was likely to bring great success.
You could hardly feel the same way on Sunday when it emerged that he was, after all, going to miss what is now his fourth Grand Slam in succession.
Andy Murray believes his decision to withdraw from Wimbledon was the right one
Murray withdrew from Wimbledon, saying it has come too soon in his recovery
This has become, sadly, something of a habit in the wake of the degenerative hip condition that first became evident a year ago. There cannot be much certainty about what will come next.
Murray tried his damnedest, he always does, but it turns out that he was unrealistic — again — in his expectations of what he could bring to the event, resulting in more last-minute disappointment.
At least on this occasion it will not interfere with the wider draw, as was the case at last summer's US Open. That was when the seeds had to be shuffled and Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer ended up in the same half, to their barely disguised displeasure.
Murray said he has been making significant progress in practice and in matches recently
He's still recovering from hip injury and said it is still too soon to play best-of-five-set matches
Into Wimbledon comes a lucky loser from qualifying, the highly rated teenager Jason Jung of Taipei, and there will be no complaints from him or the man Murray was due to play, Frenchman Benoit Paire.
While they are facing off on Tuesday, the 31-year-old Scot will be on a hard court somewhere, trying to prepare for the forthcoming tournaments in North America that follow Wimbledon.
Ivan Lendl, the coach who was at his side for all three Grand Slam triumphs, was present for his late pull-out at Flushing Meadows, but departed the scene in November, seemingly having become somewhat semi-detached.
Since then there has been a succession of no-shows, interrupted by appearances at Queen's and Eastbourne in the past fortnight. A constant feature has been the discussions Murray engages in with his support team about how best to react to the problems brought on by a hip that he has pulverised in pursuit of perfection.
June 27, 2017: Murray does not mention his hip problem after losing his first match at Queen's to Jordan Thompson but then pulls out of an exhibition match owing to the injury.
July 12, 2017: A limping Murray battles his way to the Wimbledon quarter-finals, where he loses to Sam Querrey.
August 26, 2017: After pulling out of two Masters events and losing his world No 1 ranking, Murray travels to New York for the US Open but pulls out two days before the start, saying his hip is too sore.
September 6, 2017: Murray consults several hip specialists before announcing he is likely to miss the rest of the year, but is hoping to avoid surgery.
January 2, 2018: Murray schedules the Brisbane International for his comeback only to pull out on the eve of his first match.
January 8, 2018: Murray reveals he has had hip surgery in Melbourne.
March 28, 2018: He returns to on-court