Andy Murray believes he still has a lot of improving to do on clay, despite pushing Rafael Nadal all the way in the semi-final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

23136 - I can learn from Nadal loss - Andy Murray

Murray tested the world No. 1 Spaniard - a renowned expert on clay - at a number of points during his eventual three-set defeat on Saturday, but is under no illusions that he will have to raise his game even further if he is to continue to test Nadal - or even beat him - during the rest of the clay court season.

Encouragingly, the Scot is confident he has the ability to do so.

"I thought it was a good match. I would have liked to have done better," Murray said. "I think I can play better. Obviously it's good to know you're able to play at a similar level to what he does on the clay. To win against him, you need to be able to do that for three and a half hours, four hours. He's the best player in the world for a reason.

"It's good to be close to him, but I want to try to play better than that. I'll need to, if I want to beat him, because he's going to improve the next few weeks for sure the more he plays on clay."

Nadal was pleased with his performance, although he too believes he will have to improve in a number of areas if he is going to avoid similar draining tests on the surface over the coming months - starting with the forthcoming final against compatriot David Ferrer.

"I think I did better [at] the end of the match," said Nadal. "Especially the last game, 5-1, I played like I would love to play, because I changed directions, I played well with the forehand, longer, closer to the lines. That's what I have to do if I want to have chances tomorrow and during the rest of the clay-court season.

"If not, for sure I am competitive, I can win, but I will have a lot of very tough matches."