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Dejected Murray considering skipping rest of clay-court season after “awful” performance in Monte-Carlo

The Scot said he has a decision to make after playing so badly, by his standards

Andy Murray Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 10, 2023 Britain’s Andy Murray reacts during his first round match against Australia’s Alex de Minaur (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Andy Murray says he may skip the rest of the clay-court season after losing to Alex de Minaur in the first round of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Monday, a match he described as “awful”, “demoralising,” and one of the worst of his career.

The former world No 1 was beaten 6-1, 6-3 by De Minaur, a man who can drive anyone to distraction and far from an easy draw for Murray on his first clay-court outing of the year. But it was the manner of the performance which worried Murray most of all, and left him wondering out loud if he will play any more clay-court events in the build-up to Roland-Garros.

At 35 – he turns 36 next month – and with a metal hip, any defeat needs to be put in context, but in a corridor near the locker room at the Monte-Carlo Country Club shortly afterwards, Murray cut a dejected figure as he summed up his performance, describing it simply as “awful”, and “one of the worst of my career”.

“I’m pretty disappointed with it, to be honest, because I practised well last week,” he said. “Obviously, I didn’t have high expectations going into the first tournament, I wasn’t expecting to play amazing tennis or feel great on the court, but certainly when you put a certain level of work in and that’s the performance that comes at the end of it, it’s pretty demoralising.

“I have to have a long think about things with my team and what I do from here.”

Stick to the clay or train – options are limited

Murray will not be able to play any other tournaments if he does skip the rest of the clay-court season, which would hurt his attempt to get his ranking – he’s No 54 in the live rankings – up into the top 32 in order for him to be seeded at Wimbledon, one of his stated goals for the first half of the year.

“There’s not really any options tournament-wise,” he said. “Last year, we had looked into the possibility of playing potentially some hard court Challengers. But with the way the rules are now, like the ones that are over in Asia, for example, I can’t go and play them during Madrid and Rome. I’m not allowed to play elsewhere.

“So it’s just whether I play the clay court season or whether I miss it. I have to have a long think about things with my team and what I do from here, in terms of where I train or do I stick on the clay. It was, it was pretty, pretty disappointing. “

Andy Murray looks confused and frustrated in Monte-Carlo (Norbert Scanella/Panoramic)

Murray had begun the season in exhilarating fashion, beating Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis in epic encounters at the Australian Open and then reaching the final in Doha, where he beat Alexander Zverev along the way before losing out to Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Defeat hard to take because of strong start to year

A couple of good wins in Indian Wells maintained momentum before he lost to fellow Briton Jack Draper but his defeat by Dusan Lajovic in Miami hurt and then De Minaur rubbed salt in the wounds with his victory in Monte-Carlo.

“I put a lot of work in, in the off-season,” Murray said. “I trained really hard and you know, had continued that through the year. There’s been parts of this year that have been a little bit tricky team-wise but, like, in the build up to Doha for example like I spent, you know, a good sort of 10 days on my own on the court and, you know, had worked well and was working consistently on the the things I’d been doing in the off season, really building on Australia and it was feeling good.

“But obviously since since I finished in Indian Wells, things have gone gone downhill and two bad performances. Obviously you can lose matches and stuff. Like I could have lost some of the matches I won earlier in this year. But it’s just that the nature of those performances and how poor they were is really disappointing for me, because I get losing matches, you don’t win every single week and everyone loses at some stage. But it’s more the nature of how they were and how I played and felt on the court that is not fun.”

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