His anger at how the match transpired was evident on the court as he twice threw his racquet to the court in anger.
Having failed to calm down he simply tweeted the word ‘f**k’ two and a half hours after leaving the court, still furious at the manner of the defeat.
Murray was world No 1 in 2016 but will now find himself outside the top 170 when rankings update on Monday.
Since an ATP Challenger Tour event back in February where he was beaten in the final, Murray has not made it beyond the last-eight of any tournament he has been in and he is increasingly concerned about his ability to compete to win.
Andy Murray was less-than-impressed at his beatdown at the hands of Alexander Zverev
The former world No 1 tweeted ‘f**k’ as he looked to sum up his round three Indian Wells exit
Heading into the match Murray confirmed what many around the tennis circuit assumed in that he and world No 4 Zverev are not ‘best friends’.
Murray recently welcomed an ATP Tour investigation into domestic abuse allegations levelled against Zverev by his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova, something the German Olympic champion has strenuously denied.
In recent years, Murray has spoken out in defense on feminist causes and to promote the rights of female tennis players and, while he has not commented specifically on Zverev’s case, the animosity between them has felt palpable.
On the court what transpired was a straight sets 6-4, 7-6 defeat, the first time Zverev has beaten Murray in his career, leaving the former British No 1 to accept that things are not working and ‘something needs to change’ if he is to keep competing at the highest level.
Murray said: ‘I’m not saying he played great either, but I don’t think I played well today. There were a lot of mistakes.
‘There was some good stuff in there, but it was mixed in with bad. There was no consistency I don’t think. My average level was just not really there today. It was either good or bad. Yeah, I wouldn’t put that down as playing really well.
Murray continues to push himself since getting a metal hip but he is struggling in early rounds
Zverev is world No 4 and Olympic champion but Murray wants to still compete with the best
‘I’m disappointed because, I mean, I obviously want to be winning these matches. I haven’t in the last few months. Yeah, something needs to change.’
Murray, 34, rallied with Zverev for long spells – he was up a break in both sets – before his resistance broke and there was no way back.
His win-loss record in his injury-hit 2021 season now stands at 11-10 but for Murray, a three-time Grand Slam winner, he wants to be competing in the final stages of tournaments, not being swept aside in the early rounds.
‘It’s pretty hard playing top-level professional sport with a metal hip,’ Murray added.
‘There’s obviously lots of compensation happening around that area, like the pelvis and the lumbar spine. I would imagine my body is taking some time to get used to that.
‘On top of that I’m not young either. I’ve played a lot of years on the tour, as well, so there’s some wear and tear in other parts of my body, too.
‘I felt good physically again at the end of 2019. Obviously I don’t know exactly what happened there, but this is physically the best I’ve felt for a while.
The Scot conceded that ‘something needs to change’ after a frustrating 2021 season for him
ANDY MURRAY’S RECORD IN 2021
February 14: Reached the final in Biella in a Challenger Tour event. He was beaten by world No 212 Illya Marchenko in the final
February 23: In his first ATP Tour event in four months, Murray was beaten in the first round by world No 83 Egor Gerasimov
March 3: Second round exit in straight sets at the hands of world No 8 Andrey Rublev
June 17: Swept aside by eventual Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-3, in the second round at Queen’s
July 2: Reaches the third round of Wimbledon but runs into Canadian hotshot Denis Shapovalov and loses in straight sets
August 16: Loses 7-6, 6-3, in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters to rising star Hubert Hurkacz
August 23: Drops down to an ATP 250 event at Winston-Salem, only to lose in round two to Frances Tiafoe
August 30: First round exit at the US Open to Stefanos Tsitsipas is overshadowed by the Greek’s extended toilet break
September 13: Back on Challenger Tour and this time he is stopped in the second round by Roman Safiullin
September 20: Returns to an ATP 250 event in Metz and makes a run to the quarter-finals but again runs into Hurkacz – who wins 7-6, 6-3
September 27: Keen to keep playing he takes a spot at an ATP 250 in San Diego – loses 7-6, 6-4 to Norway’s Casper Ruud in the second round
October 13: Follows up an impressive win over Spain’s Carlos Alcarez with a defeat to Alexander Zverev which pushed Murray to focus on ‘change’
‘I’m battling my game a little bit. Yeah, the consistency isn’t there. The decision making is not great in the important moments still.
‘There are moments that I was always – I think for the most part – very strong in, and I haven’t been this year. So disappointed with that.’
Murray left the court so downbeat that he conceded he is not playing well enough to merit selection for Great Britain’s Davis Cup team.
GB won the David Cup for the first time in 79 years in 2015 with Murray winning 11 of 12 points to guide his team to victory.
But asked by BBC Sport after defeat to Zverev if he would be involved in Leon Smith’s upcoming squad to play France and the Czech Republic in Innsbruck in the group stages on November 27 and 28, Murray offered up a frank assessment.
‘I’ve given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically,’ he told BBC Sport.
‘The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.
‘I also don’t feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to Leon, but I’m not sure I deserve to play in that team.’
Asked if he will battle on for Davis Cup, Murray questioned if he is playing well enough to get in
Zverev was much more complimentary of Murray after easing into the fourth round, insisting that both players hit an ‘extremely high level’ during the tie-break second set.
‘He’s the only one of the Big Four that I hadn’t beaten yet, so I’m happy that I’ve done it today,’ Zverev said.
‘I always stayed in the match, even though I was down a break in both sets. I always knew I had a chance. Especially the second set I think was an extremely high level from both of us. It could have gone both ways.
‘Obviously it was a fantastic match. I thought Andy played extremely well, maybe as well as he’s played since the (hip) surgery. I hope he continues playing the same way, because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it’s good to have him back.’