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Andy Murray hit 12 winners but delivered 14 unforced errors during his second-round match against Fabio Fognini.

Murray Searching For Answers After Rome Defeat

Scot targets movement as an area of concern

Andy Murray is as confused as the rest of us.

The World No. 1, who had his best season on clay a year ago, is suddenly struggling on the surface, and he's not sure why.

The Scot suffered his latest stunning defeat on clay on Tuesday during his opener at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, falling to Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4. Fognini crushed winners from all over the court, finishing with 31, including 23 from his forehand wing.

Murray, the defending champion in Rome, acknowledged that Fognini played well, but he also said he could have done more against the Italian No. 1, who was backed by a boisterous crowd on Campo Centrale during the late-evening match.

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“I wasn't creating enough chances on my own,” Murray said. “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.”

Murray said he felt better on Tuesday than he did during his third-round loss to #NextGenATP Croatian Borna Coric in Madrid last week. But the Brit's level was still nowhere close to what he expected.

The World No. 1 has now failed to reach a final during his past five tournaments. Murray reached the Doha final to start the year (l. to Djokovic) and won his 45th tour-level title in Dubai in February (d. Verdasco).

Murray's Results Since Dubai

Tournament

Result

Internazionali BNL d'Italia

2R (l. to Fognini)

Mutua Madrid Open

Round of 16 (l. to Coric)

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Semi-final (l. to Thiem)

Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

Round of 16 (l. to Ramos-Vinolas)

BNP Paribas Open

2R (l. to Pospisil)

“I felt like after Barcelona I would start to play better, and the last two weeks have certainly not been as good as Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Even the match I lost in Monte-Carlo, I did actually feel like I played some good tennis,” Murray said. “The last couple of weeks have definitely been a struggle and a long way from where I'd like to be.”

Murray, who didn't drop a set last year in Rome, said his recent results have been particularly distressing. Losing early in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo was more understandable, he said, since he was recovering from a right elbow injury that kept him out of the Miami Open presented by Itau.

“But the last few weeks, there is no reason for it from my end. I'm just not playing good tennis, and I need to try and work out how to turn that around. I believe I will,” Murray said.

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The 30-year-old Murray, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, did pinpoint his movement as an area that could use some focus on the practice court. Murray's clay-court agility has been key to his success on clay the past two years, and particularly last year, when he made the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo, the final in Madrid, and won his first Rome championship.

“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.”

He dismissed suggestions that the number “1” next to his name has been causing him to have subpar results. Murray, who reached No. 1 last November in Paris, said he feels no different than he has during the past decade, a stretch that saw him always hovering near the top of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

“I'm just not playing well,” Murray said, “and I don't think it's to do with my ranking.”

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