Carrying an elbow injury and looking short on confidence, Murray has endured a tough start to the new season. But his strong finish to 2016 meant setbacks were ultimately inevitable
Andy Murray’s straight-sets loss to Borna Coric in last 16 of the Madrid Open this week was widely reported as a ‘shock’ defeat for the World No 1 – but for those who have been closely following his faltering start to 2017, the result felt more inevitable than it did surprising.
Speaking after his most recent defeat, even Murray himself admitted to feeling “concerned” with his struggle for form, with the French Open, the second Grand Slam of the season, beginning at the end of the month.
“I definitely think I need to be concerned about that defeat,” he acknowledged. “It’s not always the worst thing losing a match, but it’s sometimes the manner of how you lose the match which can be concerning or disappointing.”
On paper at least, these are testing times for Murray. There is a case to be made that this is his worst start to a season since 2008, while on Monday he will turn 30, traditionally the age at which players begin their gradual decline. And then there is his right elbow injury which he clearly still hasn’t recovered from, and which has severely hampered his serve – never the strongest facet of his game – in his most recent performances.