Andy Murray admits his last couple of weeks have been “a struggle” after the world No1 suffered yet another early exit, this time in the Rome second round, but the British star insists he can still have a good run at this month’s French Open (starts May 28).
Murray lost 6-2, 6-4 to home favourite Fabio Fognini in the Italian capital on Tuesday and will head to Roland Garros in 10 days’ time with a mediocre 4-4 win-loss record on clay under his belt this season.
The Scot fell to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the Monte Carlo third round, before exiting the Barcelona semis against Dominic Thiem, and losing to Borna Coric in the Madrid third round.
His Rome stumble was his latest disappointment in what has been a sub-par 2017 so far for him.
Murray had said after his defeat to Coric last week that he was “concerned” about his performance during the match, in which he failed to change his tactics or find solutions against the young Croat.
“I definitely felt a little bit better than there, but, yeah, still not close to where I would like to be, obviously,” Murray told reporters in Rome, comparing his loss to Fognini to the one against Coric.
“I felt like after Barcelona I would start to play better, and the last two weeks have certainly not been as good as Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Even the match I lost in Monte-Carlo I did actually feel like I played some good tennis. I messed up the match a bit in the third set, but I did actually play some good stuff.
The last couple of weeks has definitely been a struggle, and, you know, a long way from where I’d like to be.”
There has been speculation that perhaps Murray’s incredible second half of 2016, which led to him ending the year as the world No1, may have taken its toll on him, or that perhaps his ascension to the top of the rankings has added extra pressure on him.
The 30-year-old insists that is not the case, and that being world No1 is not the reason he has been struggling to find his top form.
“It really doesn’t, to me. I’m not lying,” Murray assured, when asked whether it felt different at tournaments being the world No1.
“That’s just how I feel. I’m just not playing well, and I don’t think it’s to do with my ranking. I mean, the last couple of weeks, you know, they have been tough and I haven’t played well. I think sort of that Indian Wells and maybe like Monte Carlo, you know, the (elbow) injury and stuff was more understandable.
“But the last few weeks, there is no reason for it from my end. I’m just not playing good tennis, and I need to try and work out how to turn that around. I believe I will. And I need ideally quickly, because there are some pretty important tournaments coming up.
“I still feel like I can do really well in those events. I need to turn it around quick.”
Murray reached the Roland Garros final last season before he went on to win Queens and Wimbledon.
He acknowledged that his movement – usually one of his greatest strengths – has not been up to standard recently, and that is something he needs to figure out.
“I know a lot of people think I have got no chance of doing anything at the French after the last couple of weeks, but, you know, I do think I can,” he added.