Wimbledon 2011: Andy Murray column

By Andy MurrayBritish number one

Wimbledon, s/f: Rafael Nadal beat Andy Murray 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-4

It hurts a lot to lose another Wimbledon semi-final but I can honestly say I still love the challenge of taking on some of the best tennis players ever.

You might think I'd never want to play Rafael Nadal again but I'm a better tennis player because I have to try to keep up with him and the other guys above me.

It obviously makes it harder to win the major titles but it's pushing me to play better tennis, although the margins are so small.

There certainly isn't a much tougher challenge than playing Rafa in a Grand Slam. It was the same again on Friday. We know each other's games very well and he didn't do anything especially different this time. I had chances, I just didn't take them.

When I've played Rafa at Slams in the past, there have been periods that I've struggled, or he's come back and gone breaks up and won sets against me.

Normally I've been better at playing a bit more patiently. That's been a big part of my game. This time I was a bit impatient once he started to come back.

When I made a few more mistakes, I needed to rein it in a little bit. I didn't do that. Rafa started playing better and made less mistakes as the match went on.

I don't really look at the stats too much afterwards because what is an unforced error or a mistake is open to question. Winners and aces are the only ones you can really look at seriously. The stats are quite inconsistent otherwise.

I was going for a lot of winners in the first set and was dictating most of the points for a lot of the match. I just started making more mistakes, while he got better and better.

He is an unbelievable player. If I'm going to compete with him and the top guys, I'm going to have to find that extra few per cent in all departments.

I know it's possible, just look at Novak Djokovic. I remember watching him lose in the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year against Tomas Berdych and then a tough match against Rafa in the US Open final. He's obviously improved a lot since then. That's something I need to look at and try to replicate.

I'm 24. Right now, this age is pretty much the time I'm going to be at my peak in terms of fitness and strength, so I need to sit down with my team and get the priorities sorted in terms of my game and my training.

I've been working recently with Darren Cahill from the Adidas player development programme but he wasn't around during Wimbledon because of other commitments. I haven't had that much time together with both him and Dani Vallverdu from my regular team.

I've got the Davis Cup tie against Luxembourg in Glasgow this week but then I'll have three or four weeks before the next tournament. I need to get ready for that with a good training block.

In the meantime, the Davis Cup is really important and a good way to get over the disappointment of Wimbledon.

I never really get the chance to play in Scotland, so it will be fun and good to see the other guys. I'll probably head up there in the next few days and start getting ready for it.

I always enjoy the grass-court season. It's been a good month and great playing in front of a home crowd. The support has been amazing. I just wish I could have ended it a bit better.

But it's up to me to come back stronger than ever - and I will.

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