A dejected Milos Raonic says his agonising five-set semi-final defeat to Andy Murray at the Australian Open left him feeling more heartbroken than he has ever felt on court, ruing a leg injury that hindered his chances.
Raonic put himself in a great position to pull off an upset against second seed Murray after taking the third set to lead 2-1, but an apparent groin complaint plagued him late in the match and the Canadian fell to a 4-6 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 defeat on Rod Laver Arena.
The 13th seed had looked the dominant force for much of the match with a brilliant serve-and-volley game that had Murray - a four-time runner-up in Melbourne - rattled.
But Raonic began to fall away and his frustrations got the better of him when he smashed his racquet after losing the opening game of the deciding set, an act he put down to the emotion of the occasion.
"I just had difficulty pushing off my leg with my adductor midway through the third set. That's what it was," Raonic said at a post-match news conference.
"It's unfortunate. It's probably the most heartbroken I felt on court, but that's what it is. I think maybe that's why I sort of lashed out after I did at the start of the fifth set.
"I guess that was sort of just the whole frustration of everything sort of getting out. I don't think that's like myself to do, but sometimes it's a little bit too much to keep in."
Despite his clear discomfort, Raonic insists withdrawing from the match never crossed his mind, adding: "I couldn't have cared less what could have happened on the court.
"I was in my second [grand slam] semi-final. I was in a much better position than where I was last time. Regardless of what situation I was in, I was going to play and try to do whatever I could."
For Raonic, his run in Melbourne is his joint-best performance at a grand slam after he made the last four at Wimbledon in 2014, where he was beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer.
And he believes there are positives to take from his performance in the first three sets against Murray.
"I'm in a much better state than where I was 18 months ago when I was in my first semi-final of a grand slam," he said.
"So I think I was giving myself chances and I was fighting hard. I was doing things right. It was just sort of how the story played out after."