Andrea Vavassori stunned Murray in the opening round of the Madrid Open

Andy Murray was knocked out of the Madrid Open after suffering a shocking 6-2, 7-6(7) defeat to qualifier Andrea Vavassori in the first round on Thursday. Vavassori ranked no.164 in the ATP rankings eliminated the three-time Grand Slam champion Briton in straight sets in the Spanish capital. Former world no.1 Murray also crashed out in the first round at the Monte Carlo Masters a fortnight ago. For the first time, two-time title winner Murray has fallen at the first hurdle in Madrid in 12 appearances.

Vavassori broke the world no.52 Briton twice to take a 4-0 lead in the first set before serving out, with his opponent unable to force a single break point. The Italian broke again for 2-1 in the second set but fired into the net to allow his opponent back in to level at 4-4, with Murray celebrating furiously.

The 27-year-old Italian committed a double fault at match point in the tie-break and then hit the net with another shot before Murray saved a third match point on serve. The most experienced Murray saved a fourth too, but the Italian clinched victory at the fifth time of asking when Murray erred badly at the net.

Murray said he hopes to play the 2023 French Open for the first time since 2020 next month. The 35-year-old Briton has played at Roland Garros only once since reaching the 2017 semi-finals. Three years ago, he bowed out to Swiss player Stan Wawrinka in the first round. But Murray admitted that he could make a strong return to the Parisian clay.

I would like to play, just purely because I do not know if I will get another opportunity to play again, the 2016 runner-up said on returning to the French Open. Whilst I feel fit and healthy, I would like to give it a go, he added. I also have ambitions of competing for Wimbledon titles and that sort of stuff, and I know that sitting here today that probably does not sound realistic, but I do believe that that’s a possibility.

I obviously want to do the right thing there, Murray said. It is impossible to say what the right thing to do is, but obviously, it’s a Grand Slam and I would like the opportunity to play, he concluded.

Earlier in the day, Austria’s Dominic Thiem defeated Kyle Edmund in straight sets 6-4, 6-1 to set up a second-round clash with Barcelona Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.