Rome: World number four Andy Murray insisted that his narrow defeat to Novak Djokovic in a three-hour marathon at the Rome Masters proved he was out of the supposed crisis affecting him earlier this season.
The Scot, who turned 24 on Sunday, lost his way earlier this year after a straight sets loss to Djokovic in the Australian Open final.
However he has gradually rediscovered his form and he came as close as anyone has this season to beating the Serb, whose unbeaten run in 2011 now stands at 36 matches.
"The crisis I was in, supposedly, is over, I feel I'm playing great tennis again," said Murray, who had been within two points of victory on Saturday.
"I can compete with those guys, I need to play that well and better if I want to win the French Open, and I need to get fitter over the next days.
"This definitely gives me confidence. Your tennis never goes away, I've been in the top four players in the world for four or five years now.
"I was on a bad run, mentally I wasn't in the best place but my tennis is never going to go away.
"When I have intensity and the right attitude like I have had the last few weeks, I will definitely be at the top again.
"If I keep working hard and learning from the mistakes I made tonight and in previous matches this year then I feel I can go higher.
"I didn't feel at any stage in crisis, I just needed to snap out of the mental state I was in and I would come out stronger. Now I feel fresh going into the French Open."
There was a touch of bitterness, though, for his failure to close out a match in which he was just two points from victory on his own serve, on three different occasions.
"It was a good match, obviously a long one, there were a lot of good rallies," he said.
"It's always very physical against Novak because he moves well. I had chances to win and probably should have done. It was a combination of not being in that position much this year and playing very few matches.
"I think I'm one of the best closers is tennis and I very rarely, especially against the best players, lose matches when serving (for the match).
"But I have played a bad game, I made two double faults, I had a dead net cord and I also broke a string in the same game."
Having beaten Murray, Djokovic is now closing in on Rafael Nadal's world number one ranking, and his beaten foe believes it is only a matter of time.
"I'd be sure he will do it, if he doesn't get it he would have to have a poor French Open and Wimbledon because Rafa won both (last year) so I would expect him to get that," said Murray.
"It's obviously a great run he's on, I'm just disappointed with myself, I should have ended it.
"I had my chance, that's it. It will be tough for anyone to match a run like that but it's going to be very tough for him to get going (in the final)."