Murray on track for strong 2015

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Published: Monday 10th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Andy Murray remains confident he is on track to be back to his best in 2015 despite a disappointing start to his ATP World Tour Finals campaign.

After a season spent battling for form following back surgery last September, a run of three titles from six consecutive tournaments appeared to have restored Murray’s confidence and match toughness.

He headed to the O2 Arena with hopes high but his momentum came to a shuddering halt with a straight-sets loss to Kei Nishikori.

The result means his chances of reaching the semi-finals and getting back into the world’s top four have both been severely compromised, but Murray feels the bigger picture is bright.

He said: “I feel like I’ve played well for most of the events since the French Open really. But to beat the top players consistently, you need to be playing at your top level all the time or close to it.

“At the beginning of the year it was hard, because before I had my surgery, I was consistently there. When you come back and you aren’t quite there, that’s obviously frustrating.

“Over time you get used to that, and mentally you start to understand why that might happen. So I think it’s been a fairly normal process.

“It’s something that I’ve had to learn a lot this year, about what that’s like. I’m sure I’ll be good next year.”

Murray highlighted the difference in points won on second serve as the biggest factor in Sunday’s match, with the Scot coming out on top just 26 per cent of the time.

Second serve has been the weakest part of Murray’s game throughout his career.

It improved under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, acquiring more kick, but this season it has been generally poor.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, Greg Rusedski put the problems down to Murray having changed his ball toss since surgery.

But the Scot insisted he had not made any deliberate changes, saying: “The problems I was having with my back didn’t cause me any problems when I was serving. That was one of the shots that it really didn’t affect.

“I hope it hasn’t changed it too much. At the end of the year what I will do is actually have a look at some video of before my surgery and now to see if things have evolved or things have changed in my game.”

Murray’s immediate focus is to try to keep his hopes of reaching the last four in London alive by beating Milos Raonic on Tuesday evening.

The Canadian lost his opener to Roger Federer in straight sets but has beaten Murray in three of their previous four meetings, most recently in Indian Wells in March.

Raonic said: “It’s a completely different match.

“Things are going to be quite different than the first match. We both have more of an idea what we need to do different for the next round. It’s going to be about who adjusts better, who can play better come Tuesday night.”

The 23-year-old has qualified for the eight-man event for the first time and admitted adjusting to the round-robin format is a challenge.

“I get pretty angry when I lose, so I’m going to have to learn how to slap myself out of it,” he said.

Federer and Nishikori meet in the afternoon, with the Swiss bidding to improve of chances of finishing the year as world number one with another victory.

If he could overhaul Novak Djokovic, he would be the oldest year-end number one by a significant margin, but he knows the odds are not in his favour given the points differential.

Federer said: “The rankings came by surprise that all of a sudden I have a small shot at world number one after winning Shanghai.

“I’m happy it’s this way. But I think it’s highly unlikely it’s going to happen. If it does, obviously it’s great.

“But, for me personally, it doesn’t really matter if it happened at the end of the year or any other week during the year, as long as you could get back to world number one for one more time.

“I think that would be very special because I’ve been there and I know how much it would mean.”

Published: Monday 10th November 2014 by The News Editor

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