Murray raring to go

Published: Saturday 17th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Britain’s Andy Murray is relishing being mentally and physically fresh as he looks to win a third grand slam title in the Australian Open.

Murray, who is seeded sixth in Melbourne, came into last year’s event having played just two competitive matches since the previous September after undergoing back surgery.

The 27-year-old admitted at the time his expectations were low and he eventually lost in the quarter-finals of a tournament in which he had reached the final in three of the previous four years.

Murray was also beaten in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and the US Open and ended the year by losing 6-0 6-1 to Roger Federer in the ATP World Tour Finals in London, a loss which prompted him to say he might need to make changes to his game.

That turned out to mean splitting from long-time assistant coach Dani Vallverdu and trainer Jez Green, but the former Wimbledon champion feels the changes have been for the better and is in a far more confident mood than 12 months ago.

“Obviously last year was tough because I prepared fairly well, but mentally it’s quite tough sort of going into your first slam and playing long five-set matches,” Murray said on Saturday.

“You don’t necessarily know how your body’s going to respond, so mentally you’re kind of worrying a bit and you’d be apprehensive. That’s not the case this year, which is good.

“And my preparation and training over in Miami and then in Dubai went very well. Practice this week’s been good so I am looking forward to getting started.”

Murray put in his usual intensive winter training block alongside British number two James Ward, but with more emphasis on speed than strength.

“I feel in good shape,” he added. “I trained well in December, changed some of the things I was doing in my training, which was fun. You know, it was fresh ideas. That was good. I worked hard in the off-season. My body feels good.”

Murray won all three of his singles matches in last week’s Hopman Cup in Perth and also beat Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-0 in an exhibition event earlier this month. He faces a qualifier in the opening round in Melbourne on Monday.

Published: Saturday 17th January 2015 by The News Editor

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