HE MAY have mislaid his Australian Open runners-up shield while leaving Melbourne, but Britain’s Andy Murray believes he has relocated something more important at the first grand slam of 2015.
Murray’s team had to engage in a frantic late search operation for his consolation prize as he prepared to fly home to London following Sunday’s final defeat to world No1 Novak Djokovic.
The Scot eventually recovered the plate before heading to the airport with a renewed sense of momentum following an encouraging sequence of much-improved displays at the tournament.
“It has been a great couple of weeks compared with where I was a couple of months ago. It’s like night and day really,” said Murray, who has climbed back up to fourth in the world rankings.
“I’m playing way, way better in almost every part of my game: moving better; physically I feel better; more confident; more belief. I was a lot calmer before my matches.
“Mentally I felt much, much stronger than I did at the end of last year and during the majors really last year. So for me a lot of positives.”
Murray was blown away in the closing stages of his fourth Australian Open final defeat, losing the last nine games in succession, yet refused to let it taint his satisfaction at the whole fortnight.
“I wouldn’t want to come away feeling negative about the way that I played or reaching a slam final. Novak has won five times here now. There’s no disgrace in losing to him,” he added.
“It’s pleasing to be back playing close to my best, and I still feel like I can make improvements in my game. I still think I can get a few per cent better over the next couple of months.
“My job now is to try to maintain this sort of level and the way that I was trying to play throughout the event for the next few months and not have dips in form.”