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Murray Turns Focus To Grass

Paris, France

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray bids farewell to Roland Garros after a second semi-final showing.

Not one normally to erase matches from his memory, Andy Murray is keen to put his Roland Garros semi-final defeat to Rafael Nadal firmly behind him as he goes into his biggest four weeks of the season. 

The Scot is the defending champion at the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club and at Wimbledon, where he became the first British male winner of The Championships in 77 years with victory over Novak Djokovic in last year’s final. 

He suffered one of his harshest Grand Slam defeats on Friday at the hands of an inspired Nadal, but is taking the positives from his second semi-final run at Roland Garros, which marked his best performance since returning from back surgery at the start of the season.

“I never want to say forget about matches like this, but obviously the grass-court season starts in a couple of days and I need to switch my mind to that,” said Murray. “It’s definitely the most time I have spent on court in a two-week span in the last six months since I came back. So in some ways that's obviously a good thing; that I managed to get through some long matches.  

“But there is still a lot of work for me to do on this surface in particular if I ever want to have a chance at winning this tournament. That's obvious. 

“I'm glad I'm back playing to a level that was able to get me through to the last stage of slams,” continued the Scot, who missed the last three months of the 2013 season following surgery. “I just need that extra few per cent so that I can give myself a chance to try and win them again. 

“But the grass will obviously help me. It's a surface I have always enjoyed playing on. I think it's been my most successful surface over my career. I'm really looking forward to Wimbledon especially. It's only two and a half weeks away, so I don't have too long to wait.”

Murray dropped to a 5-15 mark against Nadal in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, having gone into their 20th meeting encouraged by his performance against the Spaniard three weeks ago in the Rome quarter-finals. He has never beaten Nadal on clay and had nothing but praise for the Mallorcan, who is aiming for a ninth Roland Garros crown in Sunday’s final against Novak Djokovic.

“It was a bad, bad day,” reflected Murray. “You can go out there with all the tactics in the world, but when he's hitting the ball like that, it’s very difficult to hit the ball where you want to.

“He was hitting extremely hard, extremely heavy, returning well, and was hitting it well on the run. That's the toughest match I have played against him. I'll need to bounce back quickly from it, because I'm not particularly happy with the way I played today.

“Today I was mishitting a lot of balls. It was incredibly frustrating. I wanted to play better and better as the match went on. In some ways you start trying too hard, and it doesn't always appear that way. But you want to do stuff too badly, and you end up making more mistakes and things get worse.”

The 27-year-old Murray has a 73-14 grass-court record, winning the Aegon Championships three times to add to his crowning achievement at Wimbledon. Ahead of his return to the All England Club, Murray is not feeling unduly nervous as the defending champion. The Dunblane native will open The Championships on Centre Court at 1pm on Monday 23 June.

“I expect to play well there,” said Murray. “I'm really looking forward to going back. I think it will give me a lot of positive energy.”

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