‘Bloody good’ Andy Murray backed after heartbreaking loss and urged to ‘reflect’

Andy Murray at the Paris Masters

Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith has urged Andy Murray to take the positives from his devastating defeat to Alex De Minaur at the 2023 Paris Masters. 

Smith described Murray as “a bloody good tennis player” and thought the 36-year-old star performed well in the match despite falling agonisingly short of victory.

World No 13 De Minaur edged Murray 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5 in a three-hour battle in the opening round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament on Monday.

Murray looked to be on his way to a big win when he earned a 5-2, double break lead in the deciding set, but he failed to serve it out twice and saw a match point slip away as he lost five straight games.

The world No 40 has now lost all six of his encounters against the 24-year-old Aussie, who has become the Brit’s nemesis after beating him four times in 2023.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray has lost five of his last six matches in a disappointing end to a season that has been frustrating after a positive start.

Following the defeat, after which he destroyed his racket, Murray admitted he has not been having fun recently.

“I’m not really enjoying it just now in terms of how I feel on the court and how I’m playing. The last five, six months haven’t been that enjoyable, so I need to try and find some of that enjoyment back because playing a match like that there’s not much positivity there,” said the former world No 1.

Smith could understand Murray’s frustration given the close matches he has lost this year, but was also encouraged by what he saw in Paris.

“(On Murray’s comments about not enjoying tennis) I think it’s normal. He’s a bloody good tennis player and he’s trying to find that way because he’s not been far away in some matches,” said the Scot in a recent interview.

“Like, yesterday would have been a really good win. What is ‘Demon’, like 13 in the world? It’s a bloody good win and he’s so close to it and he is getting hacked off on the court because he knows he can do better still. I think it must be difficult.

“The [Stefanos] Tsitsipas match [at Wimbledon] and there’s been moments this year where he could’ve changed things quite a lot by getting over the line in a couple of them and I know he hasn’t and that will really frustrate him.

“I think if you win a bit less, it’s just normal. Where do you get your confidence from? It’s winning isn’t it? I hope he reflects on yesterday because I thought he played some really, really good tennis. From a set and 4-3 down he sort of clicked up a gear.

“He was playing well in the first set, I mean he should have won the first set really as well. But I thought it was what he was doing with the stuff he’s been working on in practice, I thought that was the best – from what I have seen as well – as best as he’s hit the ball and what he was doing with it.

“I thought he was dominating on his forehand from the centre of the court really, really well. I thought he played better when he came forwards at the net than previous. So for me, those two elements were really good. Very aggressive on second serve, returning it.”

Murray has been named in Smith’s Great Britain squad for the Davis Cup Finals knockout stage later this month, but revealed after his Paris exit he is yet to make a final decision on whether he will participate.

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