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.
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“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.”
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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.
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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.