The 36-year-old questioned why he was so “flat” in the 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss and said the nature of his performance left him considering how long is left in his career.
Murray was unusually subdued against the big-serving Argentine Etcheverry and could not repeat his heroics of last season with another comeback at the Australian Open.
And the five-time runner-up in Melbourne said there was “definitely a possibility” that it was his last appearance at the Australian Open after looking emotional when he waved goodbye to the crowd at the end of the match.
“I’m disappointed,” Murray said. “Not much went right from the beginning. I had maybe a small chance in the middle of the first set. It was a poor performance. It was very, very flat. It was an amazing crowd out there. I felt like they were trying to pick me up, support and get behind me. Usually I would always engage the crowd and get them going and bring some energy into the match.
“It was really just a flat performance. I don’t know exactly why that was the case because I’ve been feeling good going in. Played pretty well in Brisbane. Practiced really well the last 10 days or so. Don’t know.
“It’s definitely a possibility that’s the last time I play here. Probably because of how the match went. Whilst you’re playing the match, you’re obviously trying to control your emotions, focus on the points and everything. When you’re one point away from the end, you’re like, I can’t believe this is over so quickly, and like this.
“In comparison to the matches that I played here last year, it’s the complete opposite feeling walking off the court. I wish I involved the crowd more. It’s a tough, tough way to finish.”
Murray said he won’t achieve the results he wants in tennis with a repeat of his performance against Etcheverry.
“I won’t win many matches playing that way,” he said. “Practice is not the same thing. I’m totally aware of that. I know what good tennis is. I’ve played well before. I know in the last week, 10 days, how well I was playing against the best players in the world. That’s why it’s so frustrating that on the match court, it’s not there.
“I mean, I’ve been telling myself that at some stage it will. But obviously when you have performances like today, or a batch of results over a period of time like I have done, it’s tough to keep believing in that.”
Murray said he has an “idea” over when he would like to finish playing and admitted that performances like the one against Etcheverry “narrows the timeframe” on how long he has left.
“I have an idea of what I would probably like to finish playing. So much of that depends on how you’re playing,” he said. “The time frame for that narrows when you play and have results like today.
“I know that Tomas is a really, really good player. I’m aware of that. Even if I play well today, I can still lose the match. It’s just the nature of the performance that makes you question things.
“I haven’t gained in belief from today’s match that at some stage I’m going to start playing really well again or winning tournaments or getting to the latter stages of major events.
“Last year was a slightly different story. Physically I held up well against two really good players. It’s a very different situation sitting here. So the time frame narrows a little bit for me to get to a level that I want to be at.”