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Frustrated Murray Considers Future After AO Exit

Andy Murray's Melbourne return was both the best of times and worst of times.

A frustrated Murray was candid about his competitive future after suffering a straight-sets loss to 120th-ranked qualifier Taro Daniel. Murray wants to return for the 2023 AO, but says he won't if he can't lift his level from a dispiriting performance.

More: Daniel Downs Murray

"Yeah [I want to play in 2023). But not if I do what I did tonight too often this season," Murray told the media in Melbourne. "You know, this is a really important year for me for a number of reasons, and I want to perform well in the big events. For me, tonight is not good enough in that respect. You know, making second round of slams is not something I find particularly motivating. I want to be doing better than that.

"Yeah, depends on how I get on this year results-wise and how I perform in the big events."

Five-time finalist Murray showed fire and desire toppling 21st-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 for his first Australian Open match-win since 2017.

However, the high of that breakthrough gave way to a second-round low. Murray, who had won 12 of his prior 13 matches with qualifiers at majors, was denied his dream of a 50th career AO win.

The three-time Grand Slam champion had never lost a major match to a player ranked as low as the 120th-ranked Japanese. Now, Murray, who plans to play Doha and Dubai, said he must raise his ranking to give himself a better shot in majors and masters events.

"Obviously I'm not, you know, seeded and stuff just now," Murray said. "I'm far away from that, which makes things difficult, you know, in terms of like I've played Basilashvili a couple of times and Stefanos [Tsitsipas] at the US Open, and that makes things challenging, as well. You know, that's where I like the rankings.

"It's not something that, again, that's not what motivates me but moving up the rankings and getting seeded in tournaments helps, give you the opportunity maybe to build your way into a tournament a little bit and maybe not have to come out and start playing really well straightaway and find your game a bit."

Tennis Express

Learning from loss has helped the 113th-ranked Murray during his comeback from hip surgery, but he concedes there aren't many positive takeaways from his second-round exit.

"So it depends on, yeah, many things, the situations," Murray said. "But obviously, you know, a performance like tonight is not, like I said, is not something I find motivating at this stage. I'm not sure I've lost a match to someone ranked outside 100 before in a slam.

"I don't know. I don't think I have. So from that respect it's not a great loss for me."

Photo credit: Getty