Beaten Murray needs new tricks

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the...

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Vincent Kessler)

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 2:06 PM ET

Andy Murray has done remarkably well to get anywhere near Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in recent grand slams but if the Briton is to turn the terrific trio into a quartet he needs to do something radical.

The fourth seed bowed out in the French Open semi-finals after a 6-4 7-5 6-4 defeat by five-times champion Nadal on Friday having also been overrun by Djokovic in January's Australian Open final.

Federer also trounced Murray in the 2008 U.S. Open and 2010 Melbourne Park finals, leaving the Scot pondering ways he can make the step up to challenge three of the best players tennis has seen.

"Rafa is a better claycourt player than me. That's a fact," Murray told a news conference.

"It was a close match. I don't think there was a lot in it," added the Scot who has yet to win a grand slam despite having beaten the top three in lesser tournaments.

The gap to the top trio may be small but closing it will take a monumental effort for Murray who does not have a permanent coach.

Djokovic, on a stunning 41-match winning streak since the start of the year, has proved the Nadal-Federer axis can be knocked off kilter but he has invested in a new gluten-free diet to help him make a leap forward.

QUEEN'S DOUBT

"I feel like the speed of the game has changed and you need to do things in your training and your practices to allow yourself to get up to that level and stay there," Murray said.

"I've done that well for the most part but I'm going to need to get even better if I want to get ahead in those games."

Murray heads into the grasscourt season with his confidence at least boosted by his best performance on his least favorite clay surface at Roland Garros.

However, an ankle injury suffered in Paris means his participation at Queen's Club in London next week is not definite as he sees how he reacts to coming off anti-inflammatory pills.

"I'm not 100 percent sure if I'll play there," added the 24-year-old who advanced past Nadal in the 2010 Australian Open last eight but only after the Spaniard retired injured.

"Coming into the claycourt season there was no chance anyone would have thought I'd be in this position. It gives me good confidence going into the claycourt stretch next year."

Wimbledon beckons this month and Murray is aiming high on home turf despite having the three maestros likely to be blocking his path.

"I definitely have a chance of winning if I play my best tennis," he said.


Videos

Photos