Will the real Andy Murray please stand up.

Seven months after his stunning ascent to world number one, the 30-year-old continues to scratch around for something resembling the form he showed last year.

Just when Murray seemed to have restored his equilibrium by reaching the semi-finals of the French Open, he slid down another snake with a loss to Jordan Thompson in the first round at Queen’s Club.

Now Wimbledon is little over a week away and Murray’s hopes of successfully defending the title he won so handsomely last year are looking decidedly shaky.

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Anything less than a third SW19 crown, meanwhile, would leave his world number one ranking vulnerable to Rafael Nadal.

The figures make stark reading.

This time last year, Murray had won 33 matches and lost six, reaching the finals of two grand slams and winning a Masters series title in Rome.

This year his record stands at 21 wins and nine losses, while the French Open is the only tournament at grand slam or Masters level where he has reached the quarter-finals.

(Reuters)

In 2016, Murray beat seven top-10 players before Wimbledon, this year Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori are his only scalps and he has lost matches to players ranked 129 and 90.

Stan Wawrinka is in a good position to assess the difference in Murray having played him in the semi-finals of the French Open both this year and last year.

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​Wawrinka was surprised by Murray’s aggression in 2016 as the defence of his title ended but this year the Swiss came from two sets to one down to triumph.

Speaking in Paris, Wawrinka said: «Last year he was stronger. He was very aggressive, and he never really let me install my game.

«Today I think he’s less confident. He played a bit less fast. He was a little more hesitant, and that gave me a bit more time. When you start hesitating, you don’t necessarily make the right picks.»

The most obvious differences in Murray’s game are his serve and forehand. He is not hitting his serve as confidently or placing it as well and that is costing him.

Andy Murray at 30: His career in numbers

Last year he won 76 per cent of first-serve points and 54 per cent on his second serve. This year those figures are 72 and 52, and he is winning only 78 per cent of his service games compared to 85 per cent in 2016.

Murray’s lower confidence levels are also evident in the percentage of break points he is saving — down from 66 to 53.

The Scot’s forehand, meanwhile, has both lacked penetration and been far more unreliable than during the past three or four years, when it improved markedly.

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Andy Murray adamant Queen’s exit won’t affect Wimbledon chances

Murray knew the French Open was a step in the right direction rather than a cure-all, saying: «I was still quite far from where I needed to be. One tournament doesn’t change all of what had gone on just beforehand.»

Those deficiencies were laid bare again on the grass of Queen’s Club, where he has won the title a record five times.

Cue more hand-wringing about Murray’s Wimbledon hopes, leading former British number one Greg Rusedski to say: «Everyone is blowing it out of all proportion.»

It is certainly not a disaster. The last time Murray lost in the opening round at Queen’s five years ago he reached the Wimbledon final then won Olympic gold and his first grand slam at the US Open.

(Reuters)

The early matches on slick grass — playing even faster than normal because of the hot weather — are notoriously difficult to negotiate and both Wawrinka and Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic also made early exits.

The best-of-five sets format in the grand slams, meanwhile, gives the top players more breathing space and Murray cited that as a key reason for his improved results in Paris.

«It has happened in the past where guys haven’t done well (before) and gone on to do well at Wimbledon,» said Murray.

«There is no guarantee that I won’t do well at Wimbledon, but it certainly would have helped to have had more matches.

«I do think that a lot can change in a short period of time. Everything was a lot better in practice. Hopefully I get enough time on the court these next couple of weeks and work on some things, because I’m going to need to.»

This will be Murray’s first Wimbledon since turning 30 and, although that no longer appears the barrier it once was, the Scot is well aware he is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

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What is most encouraging is that Murray does not appear at all weary of the tennis life and has the desire to get back to his best.

«I hope I stay at the top of the game for five, six, seven years, but I think just because Roger (Federer) has done it doesn’t mean that that’s going to happen to everyone,» he said.

«So, realistically, I want to make the most of the last few years of my career. If that’s two years or four years or six years, doesn’t matter. I still enjoy the training, I enjoy the travelling, I love what I do.»

He will love it just that little bit more if he can silence the doubters once again.

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