Even with the reassuring figure of Ivan Lendl back in his corner Andy Murray could not find a way past world number two Daniil Medvedev.
Yet there were already signs of his benefits for the twice Wimbleton champion in having his old mentor back on the scene.
Murray cut a much more calm and positive figure, even though he was outgunned 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the Miami Open by the outstanding hard court player, who we are meant to be forgetting is representing Russia.
Andy Murray struggled to get a foothold in his match against Daniil Medvedev on Saturday
There is no disgrace in losing to the US Open champion and Australian Open runner-up, and Murray challenged him hard in the first set before slightly falling away at the end. It was the sixth consecutive tournament in which Murray has lost in the second round, indicative of his current ranking of 85.
Lendl made the two-hour drive south from his base at Vero Beach, taking his place courtside for the first time since November 2017 and sitting alongside Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith.
There was little to discern from him under a large brimmed hat, but he seems to transmit a certain tranquillity to the player whom he helped marshal to all three of his Grand Slam titles.
Next week Murray will join up with the 62-year-old Czech in Florida for a training block, having elected to completely sit out the clay court season to make sure he is ready for the grass.
‚My level of tennis is obviously not ready to be to win matches like that,‘ he said. ‚ I think there were some good signs on the court, but the serve and return, I didn’t do either of them particularly well.‘
Medvedev was too good for Murray and has now moved into the next round of the tournament
Having worked with an assortment of coaches over the past six months, Murray is looking for a shake-up in the way he trains and practises.
Asked what he was looking for from Lendl, he said: ‚Clarity over the right way to play and the right way to practice. I don’t feel I have been practicing the right things probably for 18 months or so.
‚It’s difficult to sort of undo that in the space of a few weeks. Hence one of the reasons why I’m taking a big period of training to try and change some of those things and get my game into a place where it’s more competitive against the top players again.
‚In the past the way I’ve practiced as well has allowed me to play a little bit more offensive at times, put more pace on the ball.‘
The next time Murray hits a ball competitively is likely to be right at the end of May, when the grass court season starts.
Heather Watson’s mini revival came to an end when she was defeated in the women’s third round 6-4, 6-1 by the Olympic champion, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland. Watson will at least have boosted her ranking back up to 104, making her close to guaranteed acceptance into Grand Slam fields again.
With Ivan Lendl watching on from Murray’s box at the Hard Rock Stadium, there was plenty of support for the 34-year-old, who had been given a wildcard entry into a tournament he has won twice.
Heather Watson was also knocked out in Miami on Saturday by Belinda Bencic
Medvedev, though, continued to dominate on his own serve, not facing a break opportunity once.
Murray failed to hold in the fifth game and again in the seventh as Medvedev closed in on victory, which was secured on a first match-point chance as the Scot hit a backhand return into the net.
There was also disappointment for Britain’s Heather Watson in the WTA event as she was beaten in straight sets by Belinda Bencic.
Watson, who recently dropped out of the top 100, had defeated 20th-ranked Elina Svitolina in the last round.
However, the Swiss world No 28 proved too strong as Bencic progressed 6-4, 6-1.
Dan Evans went down to a disappointing 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 defeat to Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, leaving Cam Norrie as the last British singles player in the draw, playing Frenchman Hugo Gaston in the third round.