Murray lauds clay-court king Nadal ahead of semi-final


World number two Andy Murray described Rafael Nadal as "the best clay-court player of all time" ahead of Saturday's semi-final clash in the ATP Madrid Open.

The Briton beat Tomas Berdych in straight sets 6-3 6-2 on Friday, while Nadal won through against Joao Sousa 6-0 4-6 6-3.

The last-four meeting is a repeat of last year's showpiece, in which Murray overcame Nadal 6-3 6-2 to provide further evidence of his improvement on clay.

And Murray says he is ready to face the four-time winner of the tournament after training with him before the competition.

"You prepare to play against the best clay-court player of all time and get yourself ready for that challenge mentally," he told BBC Sport.

"I practised with him in Mallorca for a few days, which was good. It's great practice, but you can see some things, as well."

The defending champion also commented on how he has changed his game, remodelling his second serve since the turn of the year.

"It is easy to say hit the second serve harder, but sometimes you need to make technical adjustments and have coaching on that," he said.

"I had to make some changes to my serve, and I did a lot of research on it myself.

"I feel much more comfortable going bigger on the second serve, as there is a lot more spin on it.

"I can control the serve better, which frees me up to go more on my first serve as well."