Andy Murray lost his bid for a first grass title since winning Wimbledon in 2016 as the Scot went down 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, in the Sunday final at the ATP Stuttgart event to Matteo Berrettini.
The Italian champion remains a perfect 9-0 at the Weissenhof Club, where he lifted the 2019 trophy in his debut week here.
Murray was bothered in the closing stages by the hip and groin problems which have plagued him for the last five years and have required a pair of operations.
He was seen on court by the trainer after taking the match into a third set but losing his serve to love in the opening game.
Berrettini won his first title since Queen’s last year; he then went on to play the Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.
The Italian was playing his first event since pausing last March to undergo a hand operation.
“This is so unbelievable,” the No. 10 said. “This was the last thing I could have imagined when I came back to the court.
“I thought for a second I might not be able to play this event, now that I’m here holding the trophy it does not seem real.
“My goal was to do well after the first surgery of my life. I didn’t play my best tennis at the start of the week, but I got better with each match.”
Berrettini praised Murray as an influence on him since childhood.
.”Andy has shown many times how he can fight back. This (Murray late injury treatment) is not the way we would have wanted to finish the match.
“I’m sorry for him, he’s a great champion.
Murray will now travel home to compete next week at Queen’s Club – with Berrettini also in the field defending his 2021 trophy.
“It’s been an incredible week for my first time here,” the 35-year-old Scot said. “I congratulate Matteo. It’s never easy coming back from surgery.
“He played extremely well today and deserved to win.
“I couldn’t get over the line today but I’ve made a lot of progress in the past few weeks.
“I’m feeling a lot better about my game. I hope my body can hold up a little bit longer so I can keep playing matches like this.”
Main photo:- Matteo Berrettini winning today’s Boss Open in Stuttgart – by Paul Zimmer/ATPTour.com