His season might have ended on a sour note but Andy Murray insists it was simply a relief to be back in the mix following his injury nightmare.
Murray brought the curtain down on his season with a disappointing 6-0 6-1 loss to Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
It was the 27-year-old’s heaviest defeat since he lost 6-1 6-0 to Novak Djokovic in Miami seven years ago, while it meant Murray was 0-9 in 2014 against Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
After going under the knife in September 2013, Murray opened his season up at the Qatar Open before he went on to relinquish both his Miami and Queen’s Club titles – the latter ending a 19-match winning streak on grass.
Soon after Murray failed to become the first British man to defend a Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936 as he lost to Gregor Dimitrov in straight sets in their quarter-final clash.
Despite reaching at least the quarter-finals at the four Grand Slams in 2014 – making the semi-finals of the French Open – Murray couldn’t make a showpiece but he did win three titles in five weeks in the latter part of the season at Shenzhen, Vienna and Valencia to earn a place at the ATP World Tour Finals.
Murray ended 2014 ranked sixth in the world and he admits he has learned a lot in a rollercoaster of a year.
“This year has been testing and I've learned a lot along the way, it's just a shame to finish it with another very harsh lesson,” he said. “I'm sure it will be a tough one to look back in the future.
“Maybe I can use it as motivation, although that's never really been an issue for me. I just have to remember that this time last year I was at home doing my rehab after back surgery and watching bits and pieces of the matches on TV. It wasn't easy.
“Over the last few months I'd really started to enjoy my tennis again after struggling earlier in the year.
“My back had still been giving me some trouble when I thought that doing the rehab meant it would be fine. That wasn't the case, and I was completely wrong to expect it to be like that.”
Murray has also started turning his thoughts immediately to next season, admitting that changes will have to be made if he is to get back to the top.
“I clearly wasn't at the top level by the end of the year and I'm going to need to put in a lot of work to get back there, which might mean changing my plans for the off-season,” he added.
“I had planned to head to Miami in the first week of December, but if I want to make changes to my game it will take a lot longer than ten days of practice.
“There won't be drastic alterations to my game but that [the defeat to Federer] was not good enough, and even against the best players I should be giving myself opportunities to win games, sets and matches.
“The good thing is I now have time to think about a few things and then go and work on them. A week is a long time in tennis, things can change quickly, and I know I can do what is necessary to sustain a higher level consistently.
“My goals remain as high as ever and the next target is already clear - to try and win the Australian Open.”
© Sportsbeat 2014