Andy Murray is already planning a hefty off-season after suffering an agonising defeat to Alex de Minaur at the Rolex Paris Masters. The world No 40 led 5-2 in the final set before losing five games in a row and has since given a brutal assessment of his game, claiming he wasn’t “enjoying” his tennis.
Murray was understandably disappointed after blowing a huge lead over De Minaur in his first-round match on Monday. It was the second time in a few weeks that the Brit had a match point over the world No 13 but failed to beat him. And Murray smashed his racket twice as De Minaur came through 7-6(5) 4-6 7-5.
The 2016 champion in Paris-Bercy gave a damning verdict on his performance as he outlined his plans to work on his game for several weeks during the upcoming off-season. “I mean obviously right now, the way the match finished, it’s pretty disappointing,” Murray said immediately after walking off court.
“I didn’t play well. I didn’t play well for large parts of the match and found myself in a good position. You know, to be fair to him, he didn’t miss any returns, he gave me no free points and then I didn’t come up with enough good shots when it mattered. And then he started playing better.”
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After blowing a double-break lead, Murray couldn’t recall a similar collapse in his career before. The 36-year-old continued: “He definitely, when he went behind in the third set, started being more aggressive, putting me on the back foot a bit more. But I think that’s a first for me. Not sure, but I can’t remember finishing a match like that before.
“I don’t remember. I mean, it may have happened but I don’t remember.” It wasn’t just the defeat that concerned Murray, but it was the manner in which he lost the match. The three-time Grand Slam champion wasn’t happy with his serving stats, something he knew he had to change.
“I mean, I also throughout the match was getting hardly any free points off my serve really,” he explained. “I think I served two aces across a three-hour match, so you’re having to work all the time for all of the points. Obviously it’s nice when you’re under pressure to get some free points, to get some cheap points, and I didn’t get any really in the games when I needed it.”
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Despite his disappointment, Murray made it clear that he was still happy to put in the work. And that’s exactly what he was intending to do following another first-round exit. “I’m still training hard, I’m practising hard, I’m doing all the work in the gym and everything. I’ve just not been improving in the areas that I feel like I need to,” he added.
“You play a three-hour match on a fast indoor court and I’m not really getting loads of free points on my serve. It’s quite an important part of the game now. Lots of the guys are serving big, getting a lot of free points and it used to be something I could rely on quite a lot. And I’m not doing that now.”
With the off-season looming, Murray explained that it would take more than just a couple of weeks to get to where he wanted to be. He said: “Something like that, I’m going to have to improve and work on and it’s not always easy mid-season to do that stuff because you can’t make a huge change in 10 days or two weeks.
“It takes time. In the off-season now, if I’m going to make some improvements and some adjustments, I’m going to need a lot of work with my team. It takes consistent work to try and do that, not just one or two weeks in December.”
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