Former world number one Andy Murray is considering dropping down a level to help his singles comeback after a first-round defeat at the Winston-Salem Open.
The three-time grand slam champion lost 7-6 (8), 7-5 to the American Tennys Sandgren in his second singles match since career-saving hip surgery in January.
Murray has already confirmed he will not play in the US Open, which starts in New York next week, and will now ponder the possibility of playing games at Challenger level – one below the ATP Tour – to get as many matches as he can.
“I’m quite aware of where I’m at just now and what my level is,” he told the ATP Tour website. “It’s competitive at this level but it needs to be better. Maybe I need to play a level down to get some matches and build my game up a little bit before I start playing on the Tour again.”
Murray was much improved from his comeback defeat to Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati and felt no pain in his hip after a gruelling match against the world number 73.
“Some things were a bit better I think,” he said. “I was hitting the ball a bit cleaner than I did in Cincinnati. I feel like I moved fairly well to some drop shots, which maybe last week I wasn’t running to.
“So there’s some good things but also some stuff I would like to do better. Physically I feel OK considering, no pain, no discomfort. Just a little bit more tired than usual.”