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Andy Murray is aiming to reach a first French Open final was the tournament begins at Rolland Garros today - but knows he is a long way away from doing so.
The Scot is in a confident mood after beating Novak Djokovic in last week's Rome Masters while he also beat former clay court king Rafa Nadal in the Madrid Open semi-finals.
With Nadal in decline, world number one Djokovic is the favourite to triumph at Rolland Garros but having never won the French Open - a title the Serb needs to complete the career Grand Slam - the weight of expectation could weigh heavily on him.
2009 champion Roger Federer will miss the tournament due to a back injury and Murray is confident that there is a pathway to the final for him - if he plays to his highest level.
“To be honest, I think it was quite normal [Djokovic struggling with the heat and conditions in the Rome final]," he said. "He was probably going into the match a bit tired, as well, so he was quite frustrated from early on. But, from my side, I did a good job. I stayed solid the whole way through. Any time there was danger, I handled those situations well. I was pretty calm, made good decisions under pressure and that’s what you need to do on clay.
“I didn’t rush any of those points, I was nice and patient. My serve was huge for me – not just last week but through Madrid as well [where he lost to Djokovic in the final]. I need to serve well to beat the best players, but I’ve made big improvements on that side of things and hopefully it keeps going that way.
It would be great to reach the [French Open] final, but I’m a long way from doing that. That is what has been nice for me the last couple of years in the clay season. I have been doing stuff I’d never done before on this surface. It was nice at this stage in my career to achieve things that I’d never done and maybe thought that I wouldn’t. Like the Davis Cup, for example. That was something I never thought we’d do and that made it more special.
“Winning in Rome – I’d had some terrible times there over the years with injuries, with my back, so to win there was amazing, one of my nicest wins. I really enjoyed that.
“This is the only slam [where] I haven’t played the final. So if I could do that, I would have played in the final of pretty much all the major events bar Monte Carlo, I think. It would be nice... but I’m not here to just reach the final.”