And despite Russian world no8 Rublev cruising in the second set, Murray insists there were positive signs in a closer opener.
“I want to be playing at this level because I learn a lot from a match like this,” 2009 Rotterdam champion Murray said afterwards.
“The issues and the mistakes that you make get amplified more at this level.
“There were some good signs. Just when it mattered, I wasn’t good enough. I thought I moved well for the first hour or so.
“He is one of the bigger hitters and he wasn’t getting too many free points in the first set. He was having to work hard.”
Murray – still on the comeback trail after two hip surgeries that prolonged his career – missed the Australian Open last month after returning a positive test for Covid-19, before reaching the final of the Biella Challenger event in Italy, where he lost to Ukrainian Illya Marchenko.
Now ranked at 123rd in the world by the ATP, the three-time Grand Slam champion was also beaten in his first ATP Tour match in four months by Egor Gerasimov at the Open Sud de France, though will have taken heart from his win over the 33-ranked Haase this week.