Australian Open: 'Reaching the second round of grand slams doesn't motivate me' – Murray frustrated by early exit

By Sports Desk January 20, 2022

Taro Daniel delivered a fine display as he defeated former world number one Andy Murray in straight sets at the Australian Open.

Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 in his first-round match on Tuesday, yet the Scot was no match for Japan's Daniel two days later.

Perhaps fatigue played its part, with Murray struggling to find his rhythm against the qualifier, who is ranked 120th in the world.

Murray had never before lost to a player ranked as low as Daniel, who has reached the third round of a grand slam for the first time.

Daniel sealed a 6-4 6-4 6-4 success with a neat backhand volley, taking the match at the first time of asking.

Murray, who had been targetting a "deep run" in the tournament, walked off court in disgruntled fashion, offering a quick acknowledgement to the crowd after his first appearance in the season's opening major since 2019.

Asked in his post-match news conference if he planned to return to Melbourne next year, Murray told reporters: "Yes, but not if I do what I did tonight too often.

"I want to perform well on the big events and what I did tonight was not good enough. Reaching the second round of grand slams doesn't particularly motivate me."

While Murray was far from the level he displayed against Basilashvili, Daniel's performance was more than worthy of victory.

"Winning a big match like this is unbelievable," the 28-year-old said. "It was an amazing level from me, I was getting nervous in the third set.

"I tried not to make a big deal about this – everyone said I was playing Murray – but I tried to treat it like another match."

Murray, meanwhile, did not use fatigue as an excuse.

"I felt alright physically so I was pleased from that perspective," he said. "I just made way too many errors on the court."

The statistics back up Murray's claim. He won just two out of 11 break points and made 49 unforced errors, with Daniel only making 21.

Daniel struck 12 aces to Murray's seven, recording a first-serve win percentage of 79.

Murray's first-serve win percentage was down at 66, while he also made three double faults to Daniel's two.

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