Sam Groth is in desperate fight to make the US Open main draw after his grand slam troubles continued with a tough first-round loss at Wimbledon.
Groth will tumble to 130th in the world after falling 6-4 6-3 7-5 to Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori in another luckless major campaign following losses to Rafael Nadal in Paris and Andy Murray in Melbourne.
The Newcombe Medallist following his outstanding performances in 2015, Groth rued being unable to capitalise on a rib injury that Nishikori sought treatment for mid-match.
“It was always going to be a tough ask,” Groth said.
“If I had have been able to get that third set, I felt like I was starting to swing that momentum a little bit.
“It might have been a different match if I’d have been able to break at 2-1, love-40 in the first set as well.
“Especially knowing that he may have been under a little bit of an injury cloud, if I could have maybe built for 3-1 and held for 4-1, then maybe his rib gets a little bit sorer than it maybe was.”
“But it was not to be.”
Groth’s woes began when he suffered a season-ending foot injury last October.
Then long-time coach Ben Mathias, who also mentors Thanasi Kokkinakis, was no longer able to travel while Kokkinakis was rehabilitating in Melbourne from shoulder surgery.
“I just think I lost my direction with my game style a little bit,” he said.
“Just travelling by myself, I couldn’t work on the things I needed to work on.
“It’s hard to go out and say to a guy: ‘Mate, can you hit me 40 first volleys?'”
He hired Jordan Kerr last month but, as Groth said, the pair are still working on their coach-player relationship.
Ranked a career-high No.53 in the world last year, Groth is vowing to fight back.
“I’m not as bad as last time I slumped down. I’ve got to come back from 150, not from oblivion,” he said.
“I’m eight months now from where I was probably playing my best tennis last year, so I’ve got my work ahead of me.
“But I’ve got every belief that I can get back to where I believe I should be.”