Alex de Minaur leaves Andy Murray demoralised in brutal act in Monte Carlo

The Aussie tennis star has left Andy Murray questioning whether he wants to continue on clay.

Alex de Minaur, pictured here after thrashing Andy Murray at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Alex de Minaur thrashed Andy Murray at the Monte Carlo Masters. Image: Getty

Alex de Minaur has handed Andy Murray one of the most crushing losses of his career, leaving the Scottish champion 'demoralised' and questioning whether he wants to continue his clay-court campaign. In his first appearance at the Monte Carlo Masters in six years, Murray was thrashed 6-1 6-3 in just 86 minutes by the Aussie star.

The 35-year-old Murray gained direct entry into the prestigious tournament after several players - including World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz and 11-time champion Rafa Nadal - withdrew due to injuries. However it ended in a painful defeat for Murray, who has rarely played on clay-court in recent years.

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Last year he skipped all but one tournament of the clay-court season. The 35-year-old suffered hip injuries and a total joint replacement in 2018 - and the clay surface isn't particularly kind on his body.

De Minaur won the first four games of the match and never looked back, breaking serve for the third time to win the first set in 35 minutes. The Aussie didn't offer Murray a single break point in the match and now plays Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round on Wednesday.

For Murray, the crushing loss left him questioning whether he should continue his clay-court campaign or head home and start practicing for the grass season. “I’m pretty disappointed with it, to be honest, because I practised well last week,” he said.

“Obviously, I didn’t have high expectations going into the first tournament, I wasn’t expecting to play amazing tennis or feel great on the court, but certainly when you put a certain level of work in and that’s the performance that comes at the end of it, it’s pretty demoralising. I have to have a long think about things with my team and what I do from here.

Andy Murray, pictured here waving to fans after his loss to Alex de Minaur at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Andy Murray waves to fans after his loss to Alex de Minaur at the Monte Carlo Masters. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“There’s not really any options tournament-wise. Last year, we had looked into the possibility of playing potentially some hard court Challengers. But with the way the rules are now, like the ones that are over in Asia, for example, I can’t go and play them during Madrid and Rome. I’m not allowed to play elsewhere.

“So it’s just whether I play the clay court season or whether I miss it. I have to have a long think about things with my team and what I do from here, in terms of where I train or do I stick on the clay. It was, it was pretty, pretty disappointing."

Andy Murray hopeful of making French Open appearance

Murray has only made one appearance at the French Open since his 2017 run to the semi-finals. He made a first-round exit in 2020 and hasn't been back at Roland Garros since.

But the 35-year-old expresses his desire to return to the clay-court major for what could be his final appearance there. “If I feel like I can have a good run there, I would like to play," he said.

"I’ve not really played much there since 2017, and I don’t know how many more chances I’ll get to play there. Whilst I’m feeling good, I would love to do it again.”

Meanwhile, grand slam champions Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem both made winning starts in Monte Carlo. Thiem knocked out Richard Gasquet 6-1 6-4 for his first win at a Masters 1000 event in two years.

Wawrinka, who has slipped to 90th in the ATP rankings, also punched his ticket to the second round with a 5-7 6-3 6-4 win over Tallon Griekspoor. The 38-year-old, who beat Roger Federer to win the 2014 title, has failed to make it past the second round since 2017 and endured two seasons blighted by injury.

"Nowadays, each win is important," he said. "Physically I'm doing well and my form is decent enough. I'm capable of beating lots of players, I've just got to play my game."

with agencies

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