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Andy Murray says that he is ‘close’ to hitting full fitness following back surgery but admitted that Rafael Nadal was in better shape as he dropped out of the Italian Open in the quarter-finals.
Murray made the ‘King of Clay’ work hard in Rome and looked to be on course for an upset having blitzed the opening set before holding a 4-2 lead in the decider, although the world number one fought back to win 1-6 6-3 7-5.
Murray said: “That was my chance there and I played a poor game so I’m disappointed with that.
“I maybe rushed a little bit, because I was being very patient for the majority of the match.
“Physically, he was a little bit stronger at the end.”
The Scot is still working his way back after undergoing minor back surgery but he believes he is not too far away as he heads to Paris for the French Open, which gets under way on May 25.
He continued: “I’m getting close to getting back to where I want to be, and that’s pleasing with a couple of big months ahead.
“Tonight was probably the best I’ve hit the ball for a while, and the best I’ve felt physically since the surgery.”
Nadal, who is priced at 2.05 to claim the title in Rome, will now go on to face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in Saturday’s semi-final as the seven-time champion looks to further enhance his reputation on clay and build up his preparation for his French Open title defence.