ANDY MURRAY last night immediately set his sights on Wimbledon, after losing in the semi-finals of the French Open.
The world No.4 was beaten in straight sets by Rafael Nadal, the world No.1 coming through 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in a tightly contested match.
Nadal, who celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday, has now reached his sixth final at Roland Garros and will meet Roger Federer, who ended Novak Djokovic’s winning streak at 41, just one short of John McEnroe’s record set in 1984.
Federer, who won 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, now faces his fourth final with Nadal at Roland Garros.
Murray, meanwhile, has targeted winning Wimbledon on July 3. “I have to prepare now for the next two weeks like I’m going to be the Wimbledon champion. That’s the only way to get there,” said the 24-year-old Scot, after losing to Nadal in a match lasting three hours 17 minutes.
“I have to treat myself like I am going to win Wimbledon. I need to do all the right things, practise the right way and the way that I need to play to win Wimbledon,” he added.
Asked how a Wimbledon victory would rank after losing in three grand slam finals, the Dunblane player said: “It would be an unbelievable feeling. I’ve always enjoyed playing there. I’ve always had good results there, and I hope in a couple of weeks that I can play my best tennis. I’ve definitely got a chance of winning if I play my best.”
Murray was not too disappointed to finish second best to the King of Clay. He said: “Three or four weeks ago, coming to the clay court season, there’s no chance anyone was thinking I’d be in this position. I’m happy that I managed to put myself in that position today. And, yeah, Rafa is a better clay court player than me. That’s a fact. But I feel like I’ve closed the gap. I think I’m a lot better on clay than I was last year. But I still have a ways to go to be as good as him, and so does pretty much every player on the tour.”
Murray, who injured his ankle in a fall on court last week, may not play at Queen’s Club next week in the build-up to Wimbledon. “I’ll have to see how I feel the next couple of days when I get off the painkillers,” he said.
Nadal backed Murray to come back stronger, saying: “Andy is a fantastic player and I think he’ll win a grand slam title soon.” The key to the match was Murray’s conversion of only three break points from 18 and the Spaniard conceded: “I played well in important moments. I said before to win these kind of matches it is always the small things that matter, and the player who plays better in these kind of points or who has a little bit more luck in these kind of points has better chances to win. Today I did. For that reason, I am in the final.”
Nadal, though, had words of consolation for his friend. “I feel sad for him because he deserves to win a grand slam for sure. In my opinion, he is going to do it.”
french open Scot conquered by King of Clay as Federer ends Djokovic streak