Madrid: Andy Murray said he is desperate to find form on the court at the Italian Open in Rome next week, where he hopes to leave a right elbow injury behind as he prepares for another assault on the French Open.
Murray's elbow problem forced him to play the semi-final in Monte Carlo recently against the mighty Rafael Nadal with a pain-killing injection.
And the world number four's inability to train fully on the court and in the gym seemed to tell as he succumbed to Thomaz Bellucci in the third round of the Madrid Masters Thursday, the Brazilian winning their first meeting 6-4, 6-2.
While Murray confesses there is still some healing to do, he believes he is on the right track ahead of the May 22 start of the second Grand Slam event of the season at Roland Garros.
"It's been tough, I've never had an injury like that before. I normally do a lot of upper body stuff and I haven't been able to do any the last two weeks - I've just been resting trying to get it better," he said.
"Also you're monitoring the stuff you do on the court. I wasn't hitting any slice backhands at all up until Sunday because that was the shot I was still feeling it on and that's why I'm positive that is has progressed.
"But I need to get the tennis back because I still could have played better."
Murray worked with adidas coach Darren Cahill on an ad hoc basis in Madird, though the Australian had to remain a discreet neutral when Murray faced fellow adidas player Bellucci.
Murray and Cahill were due more sessions in Rome and some work in the week prior to the start in Roland Garros.
Meanwhile, Murray is concentrating on getting his fitness right. "There's not a whole lot you can do whenever you have an elbow problem, you need to just work through it.
"You can't really do any weights... even stretching, I wasn't doing much stretching so you just need to be cautious and not do too much and take a step back.
"I've judged it pretty well but I need to get the tennis back because that's what's going to be the most important going into Rome and the French."
Murray's best showing in Rome from five appearances came last year when he reached the third round, losing to Spain's David Ferrer.
Nadal is bidding for a third consecutive title at the Foro Italico.