MADRID, Oct 19 (Reuters) British number one Andy Murray pointed to a lack of big-point experience for his 7-6 6-4 defeat by world number two Rafael Nadal in a thrilling third round match in the Madrid Masters.
But the 20-year-old Scot said he was delighted with his improvement in form following a three month lay-off with a wrist injury earlier in the season and is confident he will return to the top 10 next season.
''It was an unbelievably close match,'' Murray said.
''He's a little bit more experienced than me and played the big points better. But I thought I played pretty good. It was a really long match and there were a lot of tough points and it could have gone either way.
''Both of us had our chances and he took his. I'm obviously disappointed to lose but I thought it was a very good match and I'll learn a lot from it.
''To play a game like that after being injured for so long this year was great. I'm happy to be playing back at this level and giving the number two guy in the world in a good match.'' Murray got the better of Nadal for long periods during a pulsating game at the Madrid Arena, but failed to take five break opportunities in the first set and then surrendered a 4-2 lead in the second.
But Murray, who was ranked eighth in the world in June, was in optimistic mood about next season yesterday.
''I realised a few things that I need to work on for next year, but I'll definitely improve those in the off season and come back a better player.
''Whether it be in the next two, three or six months I want to get myself back into the top 10 and if I improve a lot I feel I can challenge the best players.'' RETUERS BJR BD1431