Andy Murray’s preparations for French Open end in defeat at Geneva Open

Andy Murray -
Andy Murray's match with Yannick Hanfmann was held over from Monday after showers of white pollen were blown across the court in Switzerland - AP/Salvatore Di Nolfi

Andy Murray’s shaky build-up to the French Open continued on Tuesday, as world No 85 Yannick Hanfmann closed out the straight-sets win that he had been denied on Monday evening.

Rain and gusty winds had ended play early at the Geneva Open on Monday, with Hanfmann holding a dominant 7-5, 4-1 lead. On Tuesday, only three more games were required to confirm Hanfmann’s victory, via a 6-2 scoreline in the second set.

Those of a nostalgic persuasion might feel disappointed that Murray missed out on a second-round meeting with Novak Djokovic, the top seed and world No 1 who had received a first-round bye. That privilege will now go to Hanfmann instead.

Yet Murray did not look ready to take on a player of such high calibre, even after the recent form issues (and possible concussion concerns, after the unfortunate incident with a metal water bottle in Rome) that have afflicted Djokovic’s season.

Returning from a seven-week lay-off caused by ruptured ankle ligaments, Murray lost early at the Bordeaux Challenger last week and was no more convincing here. His movement is laborious and the switch to a new racket appears to have created as many issues as it has solved.

Yes, the Yonex Ezone 100 might have more pop than the traditional Head frame that Murray has been using for the last decade or more. But he did not seem confident about where the ball was going, and delivered a woefully low first-serve percentage, with only four out of 10 attempts landing on target.

Murray will now move on to Paris to prepare for the French Open, which starts on Sunday. On current evidence, however, this seems likely to be a brief stay before he switches to his favourite surface: English grass.

He has said that 2024 will be his final tilt at the Wimbledon title he won in 2013 and 2016. “I am looking forward to the end now,” Murray said after he turned his ankle in Miami in late March. “Give my best the next few months and get to be at home with my family.”