World No1 Sir Andy Murray cut a frustrated figure after losing in straight sets to Croatia’s Borna Coric in the last 16 of the Madrid Open as his build-up to Roland Garros continued to underwhelm.
Coric, who is ranked No59, broke Murray three times in the opening set and prevailed 6-3, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final showdown with Austria’s Dominic Thiem.
Since returning from an elbow injury last month, Murray has also crashed out of the Monte Carlo Masters at the last-16 stage and the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open, where he lost to Thiem.
Such form is a far cry from 12 months ago when he entered the French Open, which this year starts on 28 May, after winning the Rome Masters and reaching the final and last-four of the Madrid Masters and Monte Carlo Masters respectively – the start of a run which ended with him reaching the world No1 spot.
“There were a lot of things that weren’t particularly good,” said Murray. “I made a lot of unforced errors and I also didn’t find any way to make it a more competitive match, so that’s the most disappointing thing.
“You can lose matches sometimes, but the manner of today’s loss was disappointing.
“Things change fast but you need to find exactly what it is that is going wrong and how you’re going to fix that and commit to it. And if I do that, I’m sure I can turn it around.”
This was Coric’s second victory over Murray and came after he lost in the second round of qualifying to Mikhail Kukushkin only to gain a place in the tournament following injury to Richard Gasquet. Coric also beat Murray at the 2015 Dubai Championships.
Murray’s next tournament is the Rome Masters, where he is the defending champion, which starts on 14 May.