ANDY Murray has revealed he may drop down to the Challenger Tour after his fifth consecutive defeat on Tuesday.
Murray was beaten in straight sets by the Czech Republic’s Tomas Machac at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, which was his fourth loss in four matches this year.
The two-time Wimbledon champion will next play at the Qatar Open in Doha in the week beginning February 19.
“The only way is to find solutions to win matches. That can come in training, working on your game and your feelings,” Murray told French media on Tuesday.
“But what happens in training doesn’t always transfer over to matches. In 2016, when I was No 1 in the world, my coach told me I had only won two or three training sets in the whole year.
“This year, I’ve won basically all of them and I can’t win a single match! You need to perform in competition, that’s the only thing that counts. I may have to go to the Challengers.”
Murray started the year with a three-set defeat to Grigor Dimitrov then lost at the Australian Open to Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
After two weeks off, the three-time Grand Slam champion travelled to the Open Sud de France but was narrowly beaten by Benoit Paire 6-2 6-7 3-6.
After that match he responded to criticism on X, formerly known as Twitter, by vowing “I won’t quit”.
Murray, who is Britain’s most successful tennis player in the Open era, was asked about his decision to hit back at criticism on social media.
“I didn’t cry in front of my phone whilst reading it but I was disappointed. People who have witnessed my career know how difficult it is to achieve what I have done after my hip problems,” he said.
“It’s not been done in other sports. I hope other players can carry on after a similar operation.
“The easiest thing for me would have been to end my career. But I carry on because I love the game. I love training.
“At the moment, it’s true, it’s not easy to compete. But what is happening at the moment is not affecting my career.
“No run of losses won’t change what I’ve done when I’ve been on form, with two hips. That’s why I was disappointed with the article. I’ve known that journalist for a long time.”
Murray on new experience in his career
Murray had career-threatening hip surgery in 2019 but has slowly risen up the rankings and is currently the world No 49.
The 36-year-old reached the final as a wildcard at the Sydney Tennis Classic at the start of 2022 and later that year the Stuttgart Open.
He’s yet to go beyond the third round at a Grand Slam since his comeback from surgery but won three Challenger titles in 2023, including the Nottingham Open where it looked like he was rediscovering some of his best tennis.
“In Beijing and Bercy last year, I lost two matches against [Alex] de Minaur whilst serving for the match, with match points,” said Murray on his current poor form.
“This happened over the last three months and it happens very rarely. But he is top ten and I only just lost, just like against [Stefanos] Tsitsipas and [Tommy] Paul. I can still be competitive.
“But when you don’t win the game, you lose confidence. I’ve never experienced that in my career. When I went out early, I tended to do better the following week. Now I’m losing more often, and I have no experience for that. And obviously there were also matches like last week [against Paire] where it was more difficult.” — Skysports.