Andy Murray says gap is closing after loss to Novak Djokovic

Highlights - Djokovic defeats brave Murray

Andy Murray believes he is closing the gap on the world's top three despite losing an epic Australian Open semi-final to number one Novak Djokovic.

The Scot, 24, went down 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 in a thrilling encounter but believes Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are now in his sights.

"I think that gap, I feel tonight I closed it," said the world number four.

"My job over the next two or three months is to surpass him [Djokovic] and the guys in front of me."

The British number one lost last year's final in Melbourne to Djokovic but he thinks he is now nearer to the Serbian as well as world number two and three, Nadal and Federer.

"Everybody matures at different ages and different rates. I feel now like I'm ready mentally [to challenge the top three]," he said.

"Physically I can still get better, for sure. But in comparison to how I played last year, it was much, much better.

"Tonight's match was important for many reasons. Obviously I wanted to win first and foremost, but after last year, the year that Novak had, I think there's a very fine line between being number one in the world and being three or four."

Djokovic led 5-2 in the final set before Murray fought back to level at 5-5 before missing three break points in the 11th game.

And Murray's serve was broken in the next game as Djokovic secured victory after four hours 50 minutes.

"I had the chance at five-all, and I missed a backhand into the net," he admitted.

"But if you look at the stats from that game, it was probably like four or five deuces [and] he missed one first serve.

"Again, he served really well on those points, so he was able to dictate them. When I was getting myself into the rallies, I was dictating a lot of the points.

"It was tough at the end because you come back, then you get close to breaking.

"But [I am] a different player, [with] a different attitude to this time last year. I'm proud of the way I fought."

Djokovic now faces Nadal in Sunday's showpiece at 0830 GMT.

Djokovic saves crucial break points