BRITISH pair Andy Murray and Laura Robson face an uphill battle to emulate last year’s Hopman Cup run after losing their opening group clash against Italy.
Murray and Robson reached the final in Perth 12 months ago but went down 2-1 yesterday after losing the deciding mixed doubles to Potito Starace and French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.
With only the two group winners progressing to the final, Murray admitted the defeat was an early blow to his and teenager Robson’s hopes of matching their performance last time round.
“It was a very long first day of the year. It’s disappointing we didn’t win but hopefully we can come through in the next one,” said the Scot, ahead of tomorrow’s contest with France.
The tournament is part of the build-up to the Australian Open, the year’s first grand slam.
Murray (left) added: “I was breathing so hard after the first four or five games. I only arrived on Saturday afternoon so there’s not been a whole lot of time to get over jet-lag yet.
“It’s going to take some time to get used to the conditions.”
Robson, 16, made a promising start before being swept aside 7-5, 6-3 by Schiavone, but world No4 Murray levelled by beating Starace 7-5, 6-1.
The British duo then lost a closely fought doubles match 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (10-2).