AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014
Murray Going After Melbourne Milestone
by ATP Staff|
If Andy Murray wins in Melbourne next week, he’ll be the first man in the Open Era to do so after losing the final three times.
But for the 2013 runner-up, overcoming the odds is something he’s all too familiar with. Last year, he became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years, and if his back injury remains dormant, he is ready to taste more Grand Slam success in Melbourne.
“Being away from it, you feel a little bit fresher mentally with all of the travelling,” said Murray, who underwent back surgery in September, which brought the curtain down on his record-breaking 2013 campaign. “Like right now, I'm going to be away basically five months from home, but when I was away from that, when I wasn't able to do the travelling, you start to miss it.
“I'm looking forward to the year. Hopefully I can get myself back to 100 per cent soon.”
Being the fourth-ranked man in the Emirates ATP Rankings didn’t spare Murray in the draw. He faces an uphill battle with the possibility of John Isner, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and finally Novak Djokovic in his path; Djokovic beat him to the title twice in 2011 and 2013.
“Obviously I need to be pretty patient with myself and not expect too much,” Murray said. “But you never know. I've done a lot of training the past few months; it's just I haven't played many matches.
“If somehow I can work my way into the tournament, feel a little bit better every day, then I might start to raise those expectations.
“We'll see when the tournament starts. I'll have a better idea what I'm like playing five-set matches because that's also completely different to best-of-three, especially in the heat we're going to be playing in.”
But, Murray has perhaps unknowingly already created tennis history this year, his success with past champion Ivan Lendl since attaining him as coach in 2012 sparking the coaching trend in 2014.
“I don't think winning a major necessarily makes you a great technical coach, but I think it will definitely help tactically and mentally. If you get closer to the top of the game, the mental side becomes more and more important than the technical side.
“It doesn't matter how good the coach is, you can have a great coach, but if you don't put the work in, you're not going to get results.
“We'll have to see who puts the work in.”
After two years, Murray is comfortable with Lendl in the front row of his player box, but for the champion-coach debutants, he reveals Melbourne will be all about impressing.
“It's kind of like any relationship that you have. If it's with a woman, I would try to impress my girlfriend a lot more the first few months I was with her than I do now, I guess,” he smiled.
“That's a good thing. It shows that you care and want to impress him.”
Winning two majors in two years with Lendl, it seems Murray did a good job of it.