Andy Murray said losing to Rafael Nadal last year may prove to be an invaluable experience when he faces the No1 seed in the Wimbledon semi-final on Friday.
The Scot, who reached his third consecutive semi-final with a routine 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Feliciano López, said he would be better prepared for the Spaniard this time round."I believe I can win against him. I had chances last year," Murray said. "I just have to have a better gameplan. Sometimes it comes down to strategy, sometimes it comes down to more experience."
Nadal revealed he would need injections in his injured left foot beforehand in order to numb the pain.
Murray also appeared to suffer some discomfort in the third set of his victory over Lopez, following a sharp change of direction. He said the injury, to the top of his hip, was a "little bit sore" but he is "moving OK".
The Spanish No1 seed added that he did not feel any discomfort during his 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Mardy Fish because the foot had been "put to sleep". He added: "My foot is not fine. But we are in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon - it's an emergency. I have to play.
“So we decided to [put to] sleep a little bit the zone of the foot and play the rest of the tournament. It's the last tournament for a month and a half so I have to try my best."
Murray victory was as routine as any win in a Wimbledon quarter-final can be for a home player. He will go into his Friday semi-final on a wave of desperate hype in the hope that he can become the first British man to reach a Wimbledon singles final since Bunny Austin in 1938. The march has been almost low key and that has appeared to suit Murray. "I've obviously played Rafa at a lot of times at grand slams and I've beaten him before at grand slams. I haven't done it at Wimbledon. That's something I'd like to change on Friday. But it's an incredibly difficult, difficult task," he said.
Both will receive treatment for their injuries before the clash on Friday, but neither believe the niggles will hamper them. Nadal said the reason he had been "really scared" during his victory in the previous round over Juan Martín del Potro was because he feared he had suffered a stress fracture, an injury that had kept him out for three and a half months in 2004. But an MRI scan and ultrasound had shown that there was nothing seriously wrong.
The Spaniard also said that Murray's performances at this year's grand slam tournaments - the Scot was a finalist at the Australian Open in January and a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last month - show he is in a rich vein of form.
"Every match is completely different and every year is a different situation. The match will be very difficult for me," Nadal said. "He is playing at a very high level. The last few months for Andy were very good. I have to play aggressive."