Heather Watson plans to take a break from tennis after admitting to feeling “burnt out” following a second successive first-round defeat on the WTA Tour.
The British number one says she needs to "find my game again" after crashing to a 6-1 5-7 4-6 loss to Japan's Ayumi Morita at the Sony Open in Miami yesterday.
The result continued a miserable sequence for the 20-year-old from Guernsey, who bowed out of Indian Wells at the hands of Irina-Camelia Begu and has not won a match since climbing to a career-high 39 in the world rankings at the end of February.
"This year I've been going a bit too long so I'm a bit burnt out," Watson said in quotes reported on the BBC Sport website.
"I've been thinking about it for a while now and I'm definitely going to take a break from tennis."
Watson's loss to world number 50 Morita came despite taking the first set in style.
She was unable to maintain her level, however, and managed just one break against two for Morita in each of the next two sets as the Japanese wrapped up victory in two hours 45 minutes.
"I was looking at the stats and I actually won more points, but that can happen in tennis," Watson said.
"It really hurts. I think I just need to find myself, find my game again."
She added: "I was playing really well, probably the best I've played this year, and I think I lost my concentration a bit, but that was enough for her to gain some confidence and step forward, and it kind of pushed me back and I started to play a lot worse.
"I still tried to fight but it just wasn't good enough, I wasn't aggressive enough."
Watson started 2013 in good form, reaching the third round at the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of the hard-court event in Memphis, while last-16 appearances in Pattaya City and Auckland also helped her to her best ever position in the world rankings.
Although Watson did not go into specifics over how long she intends to be away from the sport, it seems unlikely that she would want to skip the French Open starting on May 26 or the grass-court season which follows and culminates with Wimbledon at the end of June.