Tennis: Struggling Murray puzzled over form and movement after early Rome exit

World No. 1 Andy Murray has exited the last three clay court tournaments in a row, in a worrying lead-up to next week's French Open.
World No. 1 Andy Murray has exited the last three clay court tournaments in a row, in a worrying lead-up to next week's French Open.PHOTO: EPA

(REUTERS) - Men's tennis world No. 1 Andy Murray is unsure what caused his recent slump after his Italian Open title defence ended with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat by home favourite Fabio Fognini in the second round.

The Scot had his most successful season on clay last year, winning one out of three finals, but has seen his fortunes on the surface reverse with the loss to Fognini marking three unsuccessful clay tournaments in a row.

"I wasn't creating enough chances on my own," Murray was quoted by the ATP website (www.atpworldtour.com).

"Normally during matches your opponent might give you a few opportunities with some errors, and obviously you hope to create a few yourself. That certainly wasn't the case today. The only chance I really got was when he was making errors."

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Murray has won one out of seven tournaments this season, exiting in the round of 16 or earlier in four of those. He was eliminated in the semi-finals at the Barcelona Open and his only title win was at the Dubai Open in March.

The 30-year-old was particularly unhappy with his movement on the court.

"Movement the last two weeks has not been good," Murray said. "My movement has been a big help, the last couple of years, but certainly the last couple of weeks, that's been a problem. So I need to address that."

The Briton also said his top ranking had nothing to do with his performances.

"I'm just not playing well and I don't think it's to do with my ranking," he added.

Next up for Murray is the French Open that starts next week. He lost to Novak Djokovic in four sets in the final last year .