Andy Murray believes he needs to improve by “10 or 15 per-cent” in order to turn defeats like his first-round loss to Lucas Pouille in Cincinnati into victories.
The 31-year-old Scot was playing in just his fourth event after nearly a year out with a hip injury as he lost 6-1 1-6 6-4 to the 24-year-old Pouille.
The three-time Grand Slam champion was rusty during the opening set, posting six double faults on his way to being broken three times in a one-sided affair.
While Murray battled back to level the match, it was Pouille that prevailed in the deciding set to secure his first professional victory over Murray in five meetings.
With his opponent currently ranked 17th in the world, Murray wasn’t about to beat himself up over the defeat.
“He’s a top-20 player,” Murray said of the Frenchman. ”
I only lost four more points in the match than him. It was tight. If I can improve by 10 or 15 per-cent, you turn a lot of those matches around.”
Murray is continuing the process of getting back into tournament play, with his target firmly trained on New York and the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
A fortnight ago the 31-year-old pulled out of a Washington Open quarter-final after completing his last-16 win at 03:02 local time earlier the same day.
He also withdrew from last week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto to continue his recovery off-court. Champion at Flushing Meadows in 2012, Murray is 13.00 to win this year’s US Open.