Former World No 1 Andy Murray was knocked out in the Round of 16 of the ATP Challenger event in Rennes, France by World No 158 Roman Safiullin on Wednesday.
The big-serving Russian defeated Murray 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
“One of the goals between now and the end of the year is to try and make a big improvement with my ranking, and to do that, I need to be competing often,” Murray had said earlier in the week.
“I still feel like I can play a very high level but if all of the time when I go to the big tournaments I play top players right at the beginning of the event, it’s not so easy.”
The Brit, who has won three Grand Slam titles including two at Wimbledon, has been struggling for form for the past few years. He has undergone a couple of hip surgeries and hasn’t been the same player since.
Murray had shown some spark last month as he stretched World No 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round at US Open.
Ranked 116 in the world, Murray had received a wild card for the Challenger event in Rennes. He had defeated Germany’s Yannick Maden 6-3, 6-1 in the first round on Monday in front of around 2000 fans.