If four successive first round defeats don’t constitute a crisis then nothing does.
This is particularly true for Shaun Murphy, beaten 5-4 by Mike Dunn in Bahrain today, because he has been a model of consistency for the last couple of years.
Last season, he lost just one first round match.
He will go to the Maplin UK Championship next month winless since beating Dave Harold in the first round of the World Championship last April.
What went wrong?
Even the best players feel the pressure. Confidence is so important and you only need to lose a couple of matches to suddenly be under it.
The same thing happened to Mark Williams. He won his first match in 48 successive ranking events – easily a record – before finally losing to Fergal O’Brien in the 2003 UK Championship.
This one defeat precipitated a decline so rapid that it cost him his top 16 place.
There have been newspaper reports of difficulties in Shaun’s marriage.
That's entirely his business but it’s worth remembering that all players have lives away from the green baize and that they face the same problems and struggles as anyone else.
He’s too good a player not to pull himself out of this slump but these are worrying signs.
More worrying was his statement at the Grand Prix that he was happy with how he was hitting the ball.
The only way to solve a problem is to admit there is one to solve.