Andy Murray crashes out in first round in Open Sud de France

 In ATP, ATP News

Back from a long-term injury and now playing on a regular basis, Scottish tennis great Andy Murray has been keen to make progress on the court once again. However, any hopes for an early trophy win, no matter how minor, in 2021 have been dashed with a shocking first-round loss to Egor Gerasimov in the Open Sud de France. The loss was seen as a major surprise, with the former Wimbledon winner crashing out in a straight-set exit.

Gerasimov, from Belarus, overcame the Scot in straight sets, winning 7-6, (10-8), 6-1.  Murray, who is ranked 121st, crashed out and is now in a losing run of four straight games at ATP Tour level. Murray started out in the ATP Challenger Tour, losing to Illya Marchenko from Ukraine. His season has only just begun, but the hope is that the Scot can quickly find form – or he might find any dreams of returning to top-level contention fading quicker than expected.

Seen as a player with the ability to get back to the top of the sport, but perhaps not the fitness, Murray looks set to keep trying to recapture his former glory.

What happens next?

For Murray, this is another chastening loss that is almost certain to leave him questioning his level at the top of tennis any longer. 121st in the rankings, Murray needs to find a way to get himself together quickly. However, it is important to recall that this was his first game at ATP Tour level since October 2020, when he played in Cologne as part of the ATP Tour. There, Fernando Verdasco defeated him.

Gerasimov is an up-and-comer, too, having made the Second Round of the Australian Open and quickly moving up the tennis rankings. Now, he will take on either Jannik Sinner from Italy or Aljaz Bedene from Slovenia. For Murray, it is another chance to progress in a smaller tournament to build form and confidence ahead of grander openings as the year progresses.

The loss was seen as a shock, but given the form of both players heading into the game perhaps it is not quite the surprise that some suggest. Murray has been making a prolonged come back into the game and missed out on the opening season Grand Slam in Australia after testing positive for COVID-19. So, the rate of return into the game at the highest level has perhaps been smaller than some would have expected.

For Murray, then, the hard work starts now – it is time to start developing and improving again. Despite injury and despite his previous highs, the Scot hasn’t worked so hard to get back on the court just to become a regular entry round performer.

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