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Murray left with much to celebrate

Last updated on: September 09, 2008 11:11 IST

Andy Murray had plenty to smile about after his rousing run at the US Open came to a shuddering halt with a 6-2 7-5 6-2 loss to Roger Federer in Monday's final.

The sixth-seeded Briton had shocked Spanish world number one Rafael Nadal in four sets in the previous round to reach his first Grand Slam final at the age of 21.

"I'm disappointed right now and I wish I could have done a few things better and given myself a few more opportunities," Murray told reporters.

"But tomorrow or after a few days, whenever it sort of sinks in, it's obviously been a very good couple of weeks. I'll try my best to work on my game, work harder and hopefully come back and do better next time."

Murray, who had been bidding to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry won the US title in 1936, was especially pleased with his fitness levels during the tournament.

"That was the most important thing for me over the whole two weeks," said the Scot, who increased the intensity of his training at the end of last season to improve his all-round strength and agility.

"Physically I was good, even against Nadal. I had a long match with (Juan Martin) Del Potro (in the quarter-finals) as well and I also had a lot of tough matches.

"Physically for seven matches I was pretty good. I can still get better but that's something that in the past might not necessarily have been the case. For me, it's a nice feeling to know that you can last."

Murray had one day less than second seed Federer to prepare for the championship match since his semi-final against Nadal was spread over more than 24 hours after being interrupted by the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna.

NO EXCUSES

However, the Scot refused to make any excuses for his relatively flat performance against the Swiss maestro on Monday, especially in the opening set.

"Ideally I would have preferred to be in his position but I don't think that was really the reason why he won the match," said Murray, who had beaten Federer in their previous two encounters.

"If he played like that and I was absolutely fresh, I'm sure it still would have been a very tough one for me to win.

"He made very few mistakes today. The times I played him before, he had given me a few free points. I also served pretty poorly today," added the Briton, who won only 51 percent of points on his first serve.

"The time I played him before, he didn't have any break points the whole match against me. Today I missed a lot of first serves and he was able to dictate the points on my second serve."

Overall, Murray has been delighted with his 2008 campaign. He has won three ATP titles, all of them on hardcourt surfaces, with a win-loss record of 41-14.

"I've been getting consistently better this year," said Murray, the third British male to reach a Grand Slam final since tennis turned profession in 1968, after John Lloyd at the 1977 Australian Open and Greg Rusedski at the 1997 US Open.

"Each month I've been making improvements and my results have got better. My rankings been moving up steadily and obviously this is my first big Grand Slam. And I won Cincinnati, which was my first very big tournament.

"A lot of things have gotten much better but these are the tournaments that I think all tennis players really, really want to win. I didn't do it tonight and I'm going to have to work very hard to do it some day."

Murray, winner of the US Open junior title in 2004, will rise to a career-high fourth when the world rankings are issued later this week.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Mark Lamport-Stokes
Source:
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