Andy Murray returns the ball to Italy's Fabio Fognini during their second-round match at the Italian Open
Andy Murray returns the ball to Italy's Fabio Fognini during their second-round match at the Italian Open ETTORE FERRARI

Andy Murray form slump continues in Italy

TENNIS: Brit Andy Murray went 78-9 in a career-defining 2016 season which saw him win nine title and climb to No.1 in the world.

So far in 2017, the 30-year-old has won one title in eight tournaments as a dismal 16-6 record.

As defending champion, Murray was eliminated by local favourite Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-4 in his opening match at the Italian Open.

It followed him being bundled out in the round of 16 at last week's Madrid Open, Monte Carlo Masters in April and the Australian Open in January.

He won in Dubai after his early exit in Melbourne, but then struck out in the first round at Indian Wells, with a semi-final loss to Dominic Thiem in Barcelona his next best result.

"The last couple of weeks has definitely been a struggle and a long way from where I would like to be," Murray said.

"I need to turn it around quick."

Earlier, four-time champion Novak Djokovic overcame a challenging first set to beat British qualifier Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in his opening match.

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