Andy Murray insists the signs are promising that he is getting back to his very best, despite seeing the chance of a maiden Australian Open title slip through his fingers against world number one Novak Djokovic.
Murray was appearing in his first Grand Slam final in 18 months on Sunday but Serbian Djokovic proved too strong for him in an entertaining final, eventually winning 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0.
The Scot had failed to seriously trouble the world’s top tennis players last year as he struggled to regain form and fitness following back surgery in late 2013.
But he appeared to have put that slump behind him in Melbourne during the last fortnight, reaching his fourth Australian Open final with a series of impressive performances.
A close opening two sets saw the pair go toe-to-toe with Murray levelling after another tie-break in the second.
But the 2013 Wimbledon champion could not keep pace with his opponent after that with Djokovic wrapping up his fifth Australian Open win in three hours and 39 minutes.
Despite the loss, Murray will return to fourth in the world rankings on Monday and the 27-year-old was quick to praise his team for helping him regain a level of consistency that had previously gone missing.
“I would like to congratulate Novak on his fifth Australian Open, he has an incredible record and he thoroughly deserves it,” said the London 2012 Olympic singles champion.
“It’s been probably my most consistent Grand Slam throughout my career and I just haven’t been able to win it but the support I’ve had here has been amazing.
“I’d like to thank my team. We’ve put in a lot of hard work to try and get back into this position after what was a difficult year last year and unfortunately couldn’t quite do it tonight, but I’m a little bit closer than I was a few months ago and I’ll keep working hard to get there.
“I’ll try and comeback and next year and hopefully have a slightly difficult outcome in the final.”
© Sportsbeat 2015