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Murray Better Placed to Handle Pressure

Wimbledon, England

Murray© Getty ImagesMurray believes he is better placed to deal with pressure associated with the second week of a major

World No. 2 Andy Murray believes he is better placed to deal with the expectation of a nation, ahead of his eighth Wimbledon campaign.

The 26 year-old Murray told journalists at the All England Club on Saturday that his recent success, including a maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open last September and a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, allowed him to put less pressure on himself.

“When I played here [outside juniors] for the first time, I actually almost wasn't nervous, I was so excited to really play here.  There was no pressure, there was no expectation at all,” he said, acknowledging the changes that have occurred as his career evolved.

“Because of what's happened since [Wimbledon 2012], if I can manage to get myself into the latter stages of the tournament I'd be better equipped to deal with the pressures that go with that,” said the Dunblane-born Murray.  “The mindset is still similar in that I come in wanting to try and win the event, I've prepared as best as I could,” he added, noting that he uses pre-match nerves to his advantage.

“I get very nervous before matches here, but I often feel like that helps me play my best tennis.  It maybe helps me concentrate better,” revealed the right-hander. “Some people may feel like they make bad decisions on the court or they don't move as well or whatever … I just feel like it makes me focus my mind a bit better.”

The second seed will be hoping to avoid the heartbreak that followed his four-set loss to World No. 3 Roger Federer in the final, after which he shed tears. But unlike his previous three Grand Slam final losses, in which he didn’t claim a set, Murray said he recovered well from the defeat, knowing he’d lost the match on his own terms. “I felt I didn't just sort of sit back and wait…I didn't come off the court thinking ‘What if?’” he explained, adding that since then, he’s noticed a change in his mindset.

If Murray is to become the first player from Great Britain to hoist The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World trophy since Fred Perry in 1936, he must win seven matches.

First up is a clash against Germany’s Benjamin Becker, a re-match of their Aegon Championships quarterfinal in London last week in which the Scot triumphed 6-4, 7-6(3).  “He's got a very good attitude, he works very hard, he serves well. He hits the ball pretty flat, which works well on the grass courts,” said Murray, who has practised with Becker in Miami.  

In that match, and those that potentially follow, Murray said he recognised the role that support from his home crowd could play. “[Your opponent] can feel a bit intimidated, or if you get a lead on them, it can be hard to come back from that,” he said.

The Scot said he had no concerns about World No. 4 David Ferrer being seeded fourth. “The guy deserves to be seeded where he is, it's not like he's got there by fluke,” said Murray. “He's winning matches and improving every single year, his results in the slams are phenomenal, incredibly consistent.”

“I have no issue with the seeding.  I'd rather Rafa and Roger were on the other side of the draw, but they're not. Hopefully I'll be able to put myself in a position where that becomes relevant, because that would mean getting to the semi-finals, and I'd love to be there.”

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