PARIS — Andy Murray would have loved to have reached the final of the French Open. But when the dust settles, when he takes the time to appreciate what he has done over the past two weeks. He will realize just how far his game has come in a short space of time.
As he often does after defeats, Murray fulfilled his media duties almost immediately and walked into the interview room for his news conference before anyone who watched his marathon semifinal against Stan Wawrinka had really had a chance to digest it. Murray, always an excellent analyst in defeat, said that his relative lack of matches coming in may have been a factor, and that Wawrinka’s level in the decider was just too hot to handle.
But as Murray heads home, he does so with a big lead at the top of the world rankings and, more crucially, with his confidence restored after six matches here. The miles in his legs from all the running he’s done on the toughest surface of all can only bode well for his switch to grass, in particular the defense of his Wimbledon title.
A quick check during the match showed British bookmakers have already installed Murray as the favorite for Wimbledon, where last summer he won the title for the second time. He will prepare, as always, in the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, where he has won the title five times, and with his health restored, his fitness strong, he will go into Wimbledon feeling much better about life.
“I put myself in a position to reach a Slam final, so I’m obviously playing pretty good,” Murray said. “Hopefully it gives me a good base to go into the grass-court season. Often when I have done well on the clay, I feel like that’s helped me a little bit on the grass. Certainly the matches are not as physical, so going through matches like I did today is a good step for me.
“I do feel like having an event like this can give me a boost and hopefully have a strong grass-court season and try to understand what worked well this event and what worked well in the sort of 10 days in the buildup and the practices. And make sure I continue to do that throughout the year, not make any mistakes with my preparation or my training, and hopefully I finish the year strong.
“I’m proud of the tournament I had. I did well considering. I was one tiebreak away from getting to the final when I came in really struggling. So I have to be proud of that.
“But I turned my form around really, really well and ended up having a good tournament, all things considered.”
If he goes on to defend his Wimbledon title next month, Murray will remember the work he has done here.