Murray convinced early Australian arrival a wise strategy

Sunday, January 2, 2011

PERTH - Andy Murray, a finalist at the 2010 Australian Open, is convinced that his preparation is enhanced by playing the mixed teams Hopman Cup, where he and teenaged partner Laura Robson lost a title bid 12 months ago on their debut.

Murray took a chance in 2010 as he renounced the ATP start-of-year week in Doha, instead coming to Perth for the eight-nation Hopman Cup, now more that two decades old.

The round-robin men’s and women’s event has the attraction of giving players at least three guaranteed singles and the same number of mixed doubles matches. But Murray needed to take a deep breath when he gave up Doha after winning the event in 2008 and 2009 and reaching the final in his first appearance the year before.

The 23-year-old Scot arrived in western Australia at the weekend after several training weeks at his hot-weather base of Miami. But 25 degrees Celsius in Florida cannot compare to 40 degrees in Perth, despite the fact that the event is played indoors at the Burswood Dome.

“It helped my net game a lot last year playing here,” Murray said Sunday, a day before he and Robson open against Italy with Potito Starace and French Open winner Francesca Schiavone. “I played eight matches - four singles and four doubles.

“I played in Doha a few times and played well there, but then to come over and not be used to the conditions and not play that well at the Aussie Open - that’s why I came over again.

“It’s good to get you in shape at the beginning of the year and also the conditions here, on the off days to practise outdoors, make a huge difference going into the Australian Open.”

Murray called his 2010 Hopman start “the perfect preparation for the Aussie Open.”

He added: “I came over again early to get used to the conditions, so I hope I can play better in Australia. Last year the Open was one of the best events I’ve played in my life, I played some of my best tennis.

“But I’ll have to play even better if I want to win because Rafa and Roger are playing so well now. I think there are a lot of guys that can win it, but I think they’re obviously the two favourites.”

Filed under: Tennis

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