Andy Murray
Andy Murray's struggles continue on the court as he is yet to win a match in 2024. Edgar Su/Reuters

The start to 2024 for Andy Murray continues to be difficult as he suffered a 7-5 6-4 defeat to Czech Republic's Tomas Machac in the opening round of the Open 13 in Marseille on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old's latest exit comes just over a week after he was knocked out in the opening round of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier by Benoit Paire.

His defeat to Machac takes his losing streak in singles matches to six, with his last win coming against Yannick Hanfmann at the Swiss Indoors in Basel last October.

Murray has now failed to get out of the opening round in the last five tournaments he has entered. This includes an early exit at the year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

Murray's latest form has seen many be of the opinion that he should consider retiring, but the three-time Grand Slam winner shot that possibility down last week when responding to a BBC article questioning whether his still playing tennis was affecting his legacy.

On his official X (formerly Twitter) account, Murray wrote: "Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour. Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I'm not most people and my mind works differently."

Against Machac, errors crept into Murray's performance early on as he was broken in his second service game in the first set to go down 2-1. The Brit managed to break back later to level the set 3-3, before he suffered another break in the 10th game due to a short backhand shot to put Machac 6-5 up.

The Czech was able to hold in his following service game and subsequently secured the opening set after Murray was unable to return a forceful serve when his opponent had a second set point.

In the second set, both players held on in their opening service games, before Murray was broken as he played a backhand shot into the net to go 2-1 down. From here Murray was unable to muster any sort of comeback as Machac held his serve and eventually won the set and match after playing an impressive forehand down the near side of the court.

Following his defeat in Marseille, Murray touched on how he could return to form, simply telling the French press: "The only way is to find solutions to win matches. You have to perform in competition, that's the only thing that counts."

Murray even suggested he could drop down a level in competition to find joy as he wants to continue playing tennis.

He said: "Maybe I will have to play in Challengers. The easiest thing for me would have been to leave my career. But I continue because I love the game, I love to train."

The ATP Challenger Tour is the second-ranked tier of tennis competition. Murray triumphed in three Challenger tournaments in 2023, with wins coming at the Open Aix Provence, Surbiton Trophy and Nottingham Open.

Murray acknowledges that the state his career is in now is a first for him, stating: "At the moment, without a doubt, it is not easy to compete. When you can't win you also lose confidence. I've never experienced that in my career."

The 36-year-old will next be in action at the Qatar Open, which begins on 19th February in Doha. Murray reached the final of last year's tournament, where he fell to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.

Medvedev is among the entrants for this year's tournament, as is Rafael Nadal, who will be returning to the court in Doha after missing the Australian Open last month due to a hip problem.

Elsewhere, there was some success for Brits on Tuesday as Heather Watson advanced from the round of 32 at the Abu Dhabi Open by defeating Russian ninth seed, Veronika Kudermetova, 6-3 7-5. She will next take on Spain's Cristina Bucsa in the round of 16 on Thursday.