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Murray Moving In The Right Direction

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray is preparing to play his first clay-court tournament of the year.

World No. 2 Andy Murray feels his movement is better than ever on clay as he prepares to play his first tournament of the year on the dirt as the No. 2 seed at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters this week.

The Scot, who has never reached a tour-level clay-court final, was practising on clay in Miami before flying into the Monaco principality on Wednesday night to prepare for his campaign at the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament of the year.

“I feel good,” said Murray. “I practised well in Miami and it’s quite different conditions here to what I practised in. It feels quicker here and also the courts here are better quality. The movement has been the thing that I needed to improve on clay and I feel like I’m moving better this year.

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“It has always taken me a little while to get used to the clay. I expect to give 110 per cent, to work hard in practice. If I do that, hopefully the results will be there at the end of the week, or by the French Open I’ll be playing good enough tennis to win matches.”

While focussed this week on bettering two semi-final appearances at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, Murray has also in his sights Roland Garros, which will be the culmination of the European spring clay-court season in May. Murray’s best showing in Paris was reaching the semi-finals in 2011 (l. to Nadal).

“When I’ve been practising on the hard courts, a lot of things I’ve been working on have been hopefully to help at the French Open,” said Murray. “But right now, I’ve got three big tournaments. You want to go into the slams with momentum. It helps, even more so on this surface than the others. I need to focus for each of the weeks and also the practice time for me is key as well on clay.” 

The 25-year-old Murray returned to World No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with his recent victory at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami, and could rise to No. 1 for the first time with good results between now and Wimbledon, where he is defending runner-up points. 

“No. 1 is not something I think about on a daily basis,” said the Scot. “The tournaments are what I prepare for. Obviously, I would love to do it. Every single player in the world would. But it’s not my No. 1 goal.”

After a first-round bye, Murray will open his Monte-Carlo campaign against either Dutch Robin Haase or a qualifier. He could face Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round and is on a semi-final collision course with eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal.

“It’s a tough draw,” confirmed Murray. “It always is here. At the Masters 1000s, where you have the smaller draws, there’s not many easy matches.”

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