Andy Murray is confident he will return a better player for the 2022 season, after ending his 2021 campaign with a three-set defeat to Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals of the Stockholm Open.
The former world number one dropped a sluggish opening set before levelling the match - but the American was too strong in the decider to come through 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Murray has been in his best physical shape in almost three years, stringing together back-to-back tournaments since the US Open in August. There have been signs that the three-time Grand Slam champion is on his way back to something resembling his best form - and he believes putting more hard work in over the next few months will pay off.
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“My game will improve, I think, over the off season – I’m pretty clear on the things that I need to work on,” he said
“I need to make sure we get a good plan in place, that come the beginning of January those improvements have been made.”
Murray’s ATP Tour season has come to an end but it has not been 100% confirmed that his 2021 campaign is fully over. He left the door open for a late call-up to Great Britain’s Davis Cup team, which still has one spot free.
Murray says he did not feel “frustrated” by his performance against Paul, but believes he was on the “back foot” in most of the rallies.
"I think I did well to get myself into a position to maybe turn the match around and I was pleased with that but in the third set I didn't serve well or return well, it was always going to be difficult to win the final set that way,” Murray said.
"I was just battling, I didn't play so well. But that's the first time since February where I've played three consecutive days of matches. My body felt pretty good, so that was positive.
"That's one of the things that I probably haven't done enough of this year - played back-to-back-to-back matches - and that's my fault for not winning!"
Shapovalov makes Stockholm final after sweeping Auger-Aliassime aside
Murray’s run in Stockholm ended by Paul in last eight