Murray was eliminated from the Miami Open on Monday after a three-set defeat against Grigor Dimitrov and many have made the connection between the Scot’s indifferent form and his recently becoming a father.
The 28-year-old returned to action in March after the birth of his daughter but made an early exit from Indian Wells and looked out of sorts in Florida, smashing his racket into his bag with frustration during the 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 defeat. “There were a lot of unforced errors – 55 for him, which is a lot for Andy,” Croft told Sky Sports News HQ. “There was a lot of emotion, a lot of back-chat to the box. He admitted himself that wasn’t great and he needs to find focus. I think generally he looked exhausted.”
Leon Smith has seen Murray at his best over the past 12 months but the Great Britain Davis Cup captain agrees that Murray looks off the pace. “There’s so much going on his life, but also a snowball effect,” he told Sky Sports News.
“If you think back to the end of last year, with the Davis Cup final then only a few days off, then he went straight to Dubai for pre-season. He had a great run in Australia, reaching the final again, then suddenly a life-changing moment as Sophia arrives.
“It’s a brilliant episode and chapter in his life but it’s a lot to take in. Then we have a Davis Cup tie against Japan which was extremely stressful – the match against Kei Nishikori took a lot out of him. To then travel a big distance out to Indian Wells and start this again – there’s not been many breaks. You certainly can’t count having a child as a break! There’s a lot of changes and it will take time to adjust.”
Murray, meanwhile, has rubbished talk of a rift with his coach, Amélie Mauresmo, who. Mauresmo watched Murray lose to Dimitrov from a different part of the stadium to the box where the rest of his family.
“If I’d had a falling out then Amélie wouldn’t be here at the tournament,” he said. “We had dinner with all our families last night, so we certainly haven’t fallen out. It’s one of those things that when I win no one says anything about it, and then when I lose that’s an excuse. I don’t think that is the reason for me hitting 50 unforced errors in this match.”