Andy Murray insisted he is not suffering from a serve-and-volley phobia after his second shock defeat of the year.
The world No.1 was broken four times in a row as he lost to aggressive world No.129 Vasek Pospisil in his first match in the Indian Wells Masters.
The Wimbledon winner was also beaten in the fourth round of the Australian Open by world No.50 Mischa Zverev who charged the net 118 times.
Murray had won his four previous meetings with Canadian Pospisil but went down 6-4 7-6 in another sluggish display.
But the Scot blamed his poor serving rather than the qualifier’s tactics for the result.
“He’s always played that way, maybe he was doing it better this evening,” Murray said.
“I have never really practised playing against serve-and-volleyers in my career. But when I have come up against them, it’s normally been a game style I have enjoyed playing against.
“Today it wasn’t so much the serve/volley that was the problem. It was my own serve, not getting enough opportunities when he was serving. I think that was more the problem.
“It was obviously a disappointing one as I had opportunities in the first set but I didn’t serve well enough.
“I served a few double faults, especially in the first set at important moments, which didn’t help things.”
Murray won his maiden title in Dubai last weekend but has never won in the Californian desert. He lost in the third round last year and his best result was reaching the final in 2009.
“I don’t know exactly why that is,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the conditions. I really don’t know why I haven’t played my best here over the years.”
World No.2 Novak Djokovic now has the chance to narrow the gap at the top of the rankings by winning the Indian Wells title for a fourth consecutive year. The Scot will next play the Miami Open starting on March 24.