Lendl not to blame for slump, says Murray

Andy Murray (Getty)
Andy Murray (Getty)

Paris - World number one Andy Murray rejected suggestions that the absence of Ivan Lendl was behind his slump in form after reaching the French Open second round.

Former three-time Roland Garros champion Lendl was back in Murray's players' box for the first time since the Australian Open during Tuesday's victory over Andrey Kuznetsov.

Top seed Murray, who lost last year's final against Novak Djokovic, recovered from a second-set slip to beat his Russian opponent 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

"It was a decent start, considering obviously how I played in the buildup," said Murray, who suffered early clay-court exits in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome.

"It definitely got better as it went on. Started to move a bit better towards the end. Was hitting the ball better when I was defending. That's something the last few weeks I haven't done so well and didn't start off the match doing particularly well."

The Scot has struggled for consistency since supplanting Djokovic at the top of the rankings following his Paris Masters triumph last November.

Murray's fourth-round loss to Mischa Zverev at the Australian Open represented his earliest Grand Slam exit since the 2010 US Open.

He responded by lifting the trophy in Dubai, but since then has suffered a serious of premature defeats outside of his run to the Barcelona semi-finals.

"If things aren't going well, people will try and find the reason for why that is, you know, and blame Ivan or whatever it is, an injury or that I'm not motivated or whatever. That's what happens," said Murray.

"But for me, I don't think that it's anything to do with Ivan not being there.

"Last year after Wimbledon I saw Ivan at the US Open, which was -- I was there two weeks, really. But from Wimbledon through until the World Tour Finals, I only spent those two weeks with him.

"And I had the best, pretty much the best period of my career, and no one mentioned Ivan not being around."

After needing five sets to outlast Radek Stepanek in last year's opening round, Murray's progression was far more serene this time barring a second set in which he dropped serve three times.

Murray will face Martin Klizan for a place in the last 32 after the Slovak prevailed in a tense five-setter against French wild card Laurent Lokoli.

The latter refused a post-match hand shake with Klizan and accused his opponent of faking injury.

"He has a lot of talent. He can hit a big ball. He is quite unpredictable on the court," said Murray, who beat Klizan in three sets in their only previous meeting in Vienna last season.

"He plays a lot of dropshots and quite unorthodox sort of shot selection, so it can be difficult to prepare for that. Obviously I saw a few videos of his match today. It was obviously a pretty entertaining match."

French Open results on Tuesday, the third day of the 2017 tournament at Roland Garros (x denotes seeding):

Men

First round

Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0

Martin Klizan (SVK) bt Laurent Lokoli (FRA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 4-6, 0-6, 6-4

Nicolas Almagro (ESP) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1)

Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x29) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 6-2, 6-1, 6-4

John Isner (USA x21) bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3

Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-0, 6-2, 6-4

Karen Khachanov (RUS) bt Nicolas Jarry (CHI) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1

Tomas Berdych (CZE x13) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4

Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x9) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2

Hyeon Chung (KOR) bt Sam Querrey (USA x27) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

Denis Istomin (UZB) bt Ernesto Escobedo (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4

Jermy Chardy (FRA) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) bt Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

Stan Wawrinka (SUI x3) bt Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-2, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3

Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) bt Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4

Gael Monfils (FRA x15) bt Dustin Brown (GER) 6-4, 7-5, 6-0

Kyle Edmund (GBR) bt Gastao Elias (POR) 6-3, 6-2, 7-5

Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

Nick Kyrgios (AUS x18) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

Women

First round

Elina Svitolina (UKR x5) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-4, 6-3

Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) bt Mona Barthel (GER) 6-0, 6-4

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x17) bt Annika Beck (GER) 6-2, 6-4

Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) bt Risa Ozaki (JPN) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2

Petra Martic (CRO) bt Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 6-2, 7-5

Madison Keys (USA x12) bt Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 6-3, 6-2

Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Peng Shuai (CHN) 6-3, 6-1

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x21) bt Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-4, 6-2

Darya Kasatkina (RUS) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 7-5, 6-4

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Amandine Hesse (FRA) 6-1, 6-0

Tatjana Malek (GER) bt Duan Ying-Ying (CHN) 6-4, 6-1

Simona Halep (ROM x3) bt Jana Cepelova (SVK) 6-2, 6-3

Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x7) 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4

Taylor Townsend (USA) bt Miyu Kato (JPN) 6-4, 6-0

Chloe Paquet (FRA) bt Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-2

Caroline Garcia (FRA x28) bt Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-2, 6-2

Barbora Strycova (CZE x20) bt Alison Riske (USA) 6-3, 6-0

Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2

Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN) 6-3, 7-5

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x9) bt Fiona Ferro (FRA) 6-1, 6-1

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