Murray hopes to avoid 'rubbish' repeat
Wednesday 13 April 2011
Considering that his last three performances have been among the worst of his career, Andy Murray would probably prefer not to recall his last appearance at the Monte Carlo Masters. Twelve months ago, during another post-Australian Open slump, the Scot was beaten 6-2, 6-1 by Philipp Kohlschreiber in his opening match of the clay-court season. At the time he described his display as "just rubbish".
Murray meets Radek Stepanek this afternoon in his first match of the year on clay hoping to end a run of results even worse than he experienced last year. Since the Australian Open semi-finals Murray has played four matches and not won a set.
For the first time since he made his debut on the main tour seven years ago, the world No 4 has suffered two defeats in a row against players ranked outside the world's top 100, Donald Young and Alex Bogomolov junior having beaten him in his most recent matches, in Indian Wells and Miami respectively.
Stepanek, who saved two match points before beating Marcos Baghdatis in his opening match on Monday, lost his first three encounters with Murray but won their most recent meeting, at the Paris Masters 17 months ago. The 32-year-old Czech, a former world No 8, slipped this week to No 70 in the rankings, his lowest position for four years.
Since his defeat to Bogomolov, Murray has been looking for a new coach, having parted company with Alex Corretja, who had been working with him on a part-time basis for the last three years. "I'm not any closer," Murray said when asked how his search had been progressing. "I'm trying to concentrate on playing."
Given Murray's recent form it might not be wise to look beyond his opening match, but the winner will face either France's Gilles Simon or Brazil's Thomaz Belluci. Murray is seeded to meet Gaël Monfils in the quarter-finals and Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. Nadal, who is aiming to win the title for the seventh year in succession, begins his campaign today against Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.
With Novak Djokovic pulling out because of a knee injury, Roger Federer is the No 2 seed behind Nadal. The Swiss beat Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-1 in his opening match yesterday.
Twelve months ago, Nadal won all three Masters Series tournaments on clay as well as the French Open. Even if he repeats that performance the Spaniard could still lose his world No 1 ranking to Djokovic, who has relatively few points to defend in the coming weeks and has won all four tournaments he has played this year.
Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early
Phil Hughes head injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Sam Wallace: Players of Suarez’s standing just don’t sign for clubs like Liverpool
Phil Hughes injury: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
Schalke vs Chelsea: Roberto Di Matteo admits thrashing by former side was most painful defeat of his career
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police