Andy Murray’s quest for a third Sony Open Tennis title fell short on Wednesday when the defending champion lost to rival Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
Even in defeat, the World No. 6 expressed satisfaction for his level of play. The 26 year old is regaining his form after undergoing back surgery in September 2013 to remove a bone spur.
“I have been able to play for the first three months of the year without too many problems and too many setbacks,” said Murray. “So if someone had told me after the surgery this is where I would be going into April, it wouldn't be too far from where I would have liked to have been.”
Since his return in January, the reigning Wimbledon champion is 14-5 on the season, reaching the semi-finals in Acapulco (l. to Dimitrov) and the quarter-finals in Melbourne (l. to Federer) and Rotterdam (l. to Cilic).
“I think my game is just about there,” said Murray. “I had many opportunities today [against Djokovic] - like 30 All and Love 30 games on his serve - and I didn't serve so well when I went ahead in the second set.
“But I was hitting the ball better from the back of the court. I was playing aggressive. I was taking the ball early.
“My game is not far from where I want it to be.”
The Scot now switches his focus to the European clay court season. He will get his first test on the surface next week when he joins countrymen Daniel Evans, James Ward and Colin Fleming on the team representing Great Britain in Davis Cup. They face host nation Italy in the World Group quarter-finals.
“I think it's probably likely I will stay here [in Miami] for a couple of days, take a couple of days' rest, and then I will probably go straight to Italy.”
“I need to get back on the practice court after having a break and see how my game translates onto the clay,” said Murray. “I'm getting there."
Murray will also keep his eyes on the Emirates ATP Rankings. His will drop to No. 8 when the numbers are released on Monday.
“'I'm playing Top 10 tennis, but not maybe Top 5, Top 4 tennis. That's obviously where I want to be by the time the French Open comes around, so hopefully in the next couple of months I will improve a bit on that.”