LONDON - Andy Murray set his sights on ending his barren run against Novak Djokovic after tennis' world No. 3 wrapped up his Wimbledon preparations with a sublime 6-3, 6-4 demolition of South African Kevin Anderson in the Queen's Club final on Sunday.
He clinched a record-equalling fourth Queen's title in just 64 minutes, as he delivered a grass-court masterclass that left world No. 17 Anderson utterly bewildered.
It has been a memorable year for the Scot, with an Australian Open final appearance followed by his wedding to Kim Sears in April. He also won his first clay-court titles in Munich and Madrid and reached the French Open semi-finals.
Physically I'm definitely in a better place... and I'm using my variety much better just now.
- Andy Murray, on his form
The usually taciturn 28-year-old was so enthused by his fine week's work in west London that he claimed he is playing even better than when he secured his historic Wimbledon triumph in 2013 - his last success against world No. 1 Djokovic before eight straight losses.
"You have to improve. If you don't people will take your spot," he said. "Physically I'm definitely in a better place than I was then and I'm using my variety much better just now.
"That's been good for me."
But there is still one big issue looming for him as he heads to Wimbledon's practice courts before the tournament gets under way next Monday.
For all his success over the last six months, he has failed to solve the problems posed by world No. 1 Djokovic.
Murray has lost only six of his 41 matches this year and four of those defeats have come against the Serb, in the Australian Open and Miami finals and the last four in Indian Wells and Roland Garros.
Yet, the world No. 3 draws strength from his performances in several of those matches, as well as his Wimbledon and US Open final wins over Djokovic, and insists he can close the gap if they meet again at the All England Club.
"It's obviously a shame I've lost to Novak, but I've been close in a lot of the matches," Murray said. "He's had a great year and there's no disgrace in losing to him. But if I want to win the major competitions I have to beat him."
Stan Wawrinka exposed a few chinks in Djokovic's armour when he unexpectedly won their French Open final and Murray believes the reigning Wimbledon champion will still be coming to terms with a loss that denied him a career Grand Slam.
"He was very close to achieving something that very few players have done that he probably needed some time away to rest and relax and get his head right before getting prepared for another Slam," Murray said.
The last time Murray won Queen's in 2013, he went on to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title for 77 years.