Andy Murray says slump is over despite Djokovic defeat
Andy Murray declared his slump officially over despite losing to Novak Djokovic in the Rome Masters last four.
Murray was beaten in straight sets by Djokovic in the Australian Open final and then suffered three first-round defeats in succession.
But he returned to form in Monte Carlo in April and on Saturday was two points away from beating the in-form Serb.
"The crisis I was in, supposedly, is over. I feel I'm playing great tennis again," said Murray, 24 on Sunday.
The world number four, who took a set off world number one Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, did the same against second-ranked Djokovic, eventually losing 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-2).
Murray came as close as anyone has this season to beating Djokovic, whose unbeaten run in 2011 now stands at 36 matches, and the Scot has no doubt he belongs at tennis's top table.
"I can compete with those guys, I need to play that well and better if I want to win the French Open, and I need to get fitter over the next days," said Murray.
"This definitely gives me confidence. Your tennis never goes away, I've been in the top four players in the world for four or five years now.
"I was on a bad run, mentally I wasn't in the best place, but my tennis is never going to go away.
"When I have intensity and the right attitude like I have had the last few weeks, I will definitely be at the top again.
"I didn't feel at any stage in crisis, I just needed to snap out of the mental state I was in and I would come out stronger. Now I feel fresh going into the French Open."
Murray admitted he was frustrated not to have closed out victory on Saturday, having three times come within two points of victory on his own serve.
"I had chances to win and probably should have done. It was a combination of not being in that position much this year and playing very few matches," he explained.
"I think I'm one of the best closers in tennis and I very rarely, especially against the best players, lose matches when serving [for the match].
"But I have played a bad game, I made two double faults, I had a dead net cord and I also broke a string in the same game."
Having beaten Murray, Djokovic is now closing in on the world number one ranking of Nadal, who he meets in Sunday's final in Rome, and the Scot believes it is only a matter of time before the Spaniard is dethroned.
"I'd be sure he will do it, if he doesn't get it he would have to have a poor French Open and Wimbledon because Rafa won both [last year] so I would expect him to get that," said Murray.
"It's obviously a great run he's on, I'm just disappointed with myself, I should have ended it.
"I had my chance, that's it. It will be tough for anyone to match a run like that but it's going to be very tough for him to get going [in the final]."