Andy Murray feels his game is finally returning to the level he wants it to be with the French Open just one week away.
The 27-year-old Scot is still finding his feet on the court after undergoing back surgery last September, but took world number one Rafael Nadal to three sets on Friday in an epic quarter-final at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Murray blew the Spaniard away in the opening set and was 4-2 up in the third but eventually succumbed to a 1-6 6-3 7-5 defeat after two hours and 40 minutes.
Yet despite the disappointment of missing out on the semis, Murray believes he is beginning to regain the kind of form which saw him win four titles last year, including Wimbledon, and equal his highest career ranking of second.
"I would have liked to have won because I had the opportunities and I started the match better than him," said the current world number eight on the ATP Tour website.
"I felt going into the French I would be playing good tennis.
"I don't feel like people have respected the severity of having back surgery, it takes time and I feel I am getting closer to where I want to be. [This] was the best I hit the ball and best I felt physically since the surgery.
"I was expecting to start playing well around this time, so that's pleasing. I was disappointed with the game I played at 4-2 in the third, though. Against him you don't get a load of chances and he finished the game incredibly well.
"Physically he was stronger than me at the end, but it was a good match."