Andy Murray may have tasted defeat at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome yesterday, but the world number four is confident his clay-court game is improving.
After receiving a first-round bye, Murray fell to qualifier Juan Monaco in the second round of the singles, 48 hours after he had lost in the doubles.
Murray raced into a one-set lead, but Monaco then raised his game to triumph 1-6 6-3 7-5.
“It came down to a few points here and there,” a philosophical Murray said. “I didn’t think I hit the ball as clean as I did in Monte Carlo.”
Yesterday’s defeat was Murray’s earliest exit at an event since the Beijing Olympics, but the Scot was keen to focus on the positives.
“I’ve had a great eight months,” Murray said. “I haven’t lost early for a long time. I knew it was going to happen some time and it has.”
He added: “I am playing much better on clay with respect to last year.”