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Pressure-Free Murray Primed For New Season

Andy Murray

Murray© AFP/Getty ImagesAndy Murray is looking to add to his US Open triumph with victory in Melbourne.

A pressure-free Andy Murray is hoping he can add to his US Open win with victory at the upcoming Australian Open, where he has twice before finished as runner-up. 

The Scot, who will begin his 2013 ATP World Tour season by seeking a successful title defence at the Brisbane International against a field featuring Milos Raonic, Gilles Simon and Alexandr Dolgopolov, became the first British male Grand Slam champion in 76 years when he defeated Novak Djokovic in New York this past September.

“In the past three, four or five years there has been significant pressure in my mind, and now I feel more relaxed and relieved after winning the US Open,” Murray said. “So, I think from my side, I hope to take the pressure off myself and be able to play a little bit more relaxed. And I hope to repeat my Grand Slam win.

“I don't know how I will feel going into the first round of the Australian Open, so it will be a new feeling for me and I just have to deal with it,” continued the Dunblane native. “I have some things to work on in the next few weeks, but I am looking forward to it. I enjoy Australia and have had played some of my best tennis there, so I hope that I can do the same this year.”

Murray, who lost to No. 9-ranked Janko Tipsarevic in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, spent the off-season training in Miami with coach Ivan Lendl, whom he credited with small but crucial improvements to his game in the past 12 months.

“He helped with a lot of small things; technical things, small, mental and psychological things and small physical things as well as tactical things,” explained Murray. “A lot of those small things add 5-10% to my game, and that was what I needed to find to make it past the last hurdle and win one of the major tournaments.”

The 25-year-old Murray reached the Wimbledon final this season (l. to Federer) and is hoping he can go one step further next year, while also putting the No. 1 ranking on his radar for 2013. “Every year when Wimbledon comes around I’m desperate to win and do well. It’s an incredibly tough event and a lot of pressure during that time of the year,” he said.

“The No. 1 ranking is what every player wants to get. I can improve my ranking just playing like I have done last season and the rest of the tour.”

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