Andy Murray was left frustrated after a first-round defeat to Fernando Verdasco in Cologne on Tuesday night as the struggles of his latest comeback continued.
Murray is desperately seeking fresh momentum after winning three of seven matches since the ATP Tour resumed in August.
Two of those wins – including his best victory this year over German world No. 7 Alexander Zverev – came in his first tournament back at the relocated Western & Southern Open in New York, while there was a famous five-set fightback in the first round of the US Open against Yoshihito Nishioka.
Since then, however, there has been little to smile about for the former world No. 1.
He has suffered three defeats on the spin to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime at the US Open, Stan Wawrinka at the French Open and Spain’s Verdasco in Cologne.
In the wake of his loss to Wawrinka – the joint worst Grand Slam defeat of his career – Murray said he would have a ‘long, hard think’ but little improved from his perspective in a 6-4 6-4 defeat to Verdasco.
‘I need to get back to playing my game on the court, I’ve kind of gone away from that a little bit,’ said Murray after losing to the 36-year-old world No. 62 from Spain.
‘I’m maybe making a few more mistakes than usual because of that.
‘I need to practice, I need to play matches and physically I need to get better.
‘Some things I did a little bit better, but overall it was not that much better than that match [against Stan Wawrinka in Paris].
‘It’s a surface that I’m a little bit more comfortable on, so that probably helped me. But in terms of my game, it was not much better.’
Cologne is hosting back-to-back tournaments. Asked if he would stick around for the second one, Murray replied: ‘I will speak to my team tonight, and see what they say, but the plan is to play here next week. Over the next few days I can hopefully get some practice in.’
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