ANDY MURRAY promised to return to Wimbledon better and stronger next year after being outclassed in his quarter-final against Rafael Nadal.
The 21-year-old Scot lost in straight sets, 6-3 6-2 6-4, to disappoint a Centre Court crowd who were hoping for an action replay of his heroics against Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the fourth round.
But Murray, whose best showing in a grand slam tournament will see him back in the top 10 of the world rankings at the start of next week, remained upbeat.
He said: “I can improve on so many things in my game. It’s up to me to make sure I go and do that.
“I have to look at my game, work even harder and try to get up to that level, which I do think is possible. It’s just going to take a lot of hard work.
“But it has been the least stressful Wimbledon and the most enjoyable one I’ve had. I got awesome support in all my matches.
“The older you get the better you learn to cope with everything. This was definitely the best Wimbledon I’ve had so far. I’m sure next year I’ll be able to do even better.”
Murray believes Nadal, who plays the winner of today’s resumed quarter-final match between Arnaud Clement and Rainer Schuettler in the semi-final, can win his first grand slam on grass after being a losing finalist for the last two years.
He said: “If he plays that well and returns like that he’s very close to being the favourite to win the tournament. After his first match he’s played some great tennis.
“I think he’s got a very, very good chance of winning. He was close last year and he’s playing better than he was last year.
“He’s improved his game a lot on grass in the last couple of years. Definitely he’s the second best grass court player behind Roger Federer. He’s definitely closer to him this year than he was.”
Murray was on the end of a lot of punishing forehands from Nadal and feels taking the initiative more will help him compete with the very best.
The British No1 said: “I need to make sure that when I’m playing against the top guys I dictate more of the rallies right at the start.
“When I make a big first serve, be aggressive from the first ball rather than waiting a couple of shots.
“The top guys make you do a lot of running if you’re a bit passive at the start of the rallies. There are so many things I can improve. Pretty much every part of my game.”