Murray hopes to avoid 'rubbish' repeat

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.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own