Andy Murray admits he is short of reasons to explain why he has lost another crucial match against rival Novak Djokovic, as the Serb star lifted the Miami Open for the fifth time after a three set contest.
Having lost the first set and worked hard to tie the match at a set apiece, Murray failed to match Djokovic in the final stages as the world no.1 found another level and routed his opponent with a third-set bagel, winning in 7-6(3) 4-6 6-0.
In the hot and humid conditions, where both men became a tad irritable as the sun beat down, the Scot just couldn’t offer any threat by the end. It does little to end suggestions that he lacks the all-round strength of his main competitors.
Article continues below
This defeat for Murray is his seventh in a row against the eight-time Grand Slam champion and his third of 2015 already – the clay court season hasn’t even started yet.
Before this final on the east coast of America, a fortnight to be precise, they met on the west coast in Indian Wells, California for a semi-final where the victory was far more comprehensive. This Miami final reflected their Australian Open tussle much more as both men struggled to make the most of their chances before Djokovic powered through at the end.
Article continues below
Murray, who moves up to third in the world rankings after some encouraging performances, is now without a win over Djokovic since their famous Wimbledon final of 2013. The British no.1 admits that he needs to look at why this is the case.
"There have been some tough matches - ones where my game has been there, but not [for] long enough to get a win," he told BBC. "I need to look at why that is.
"At the Australian Open it was mental, but today it was physical. In the third set I had nothing in my legs.
"This match was completely different regarding the level I played," he added. "I felt I pushed Novak a lot more than a couple of weeks ago. I haven't managed to quite get a win yet. I'm sure people will make up their own minds why that is."
Top 3 hoodoo
Although this defeat highlights his poor run of form against the current world no.1, Murray has also enjoyed a fairly wretched spell in total against the other stars of the sport, namely Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The aforementioned Wimbledon final win over Djokovic in 2013 was the last time he beat any of the ‘big three’ and his cumulative record against them now stands at an ugly looking 24-45 in the others’ favour.
Despite that record, which is closing-in on stretching to two years, Murray thinks it is normal to experience ups and downs at the top end of the sport.
"Last year I wasn't where I wanted to be, so it's this year's three losses which are the ones I need to look at,” the 27-year-old continues. "Novak went through a period when he never won against Rafael Nadal in a final, but then won six or seven times in row.
"Roger Federer went through a period of not having won against Rafa on clay."
Murray does now have a while to consider his approach to big matches, but it won’t get any easier as the tennis calendar now enters a phase which has always been tough for the Briton – the dreaded clay season.
The world no.3 will hope that his marriage to Kim Sears – the pair are due to wed at the weekend – will offer a spring of opportunities leading to the French Open.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms