Abu Dhabi holds the key for Andy Murray in 2013
Andy Murray says he’ll use the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi as a platform for Australian Open success.
The Scot, who finished his season with a semi-final loss to Roger Federer at the ATP Tour Finals in London this week, feels the late December event will help him sharpen up for a tilt at next year’s first Grand Slam.
“It’s a good way to start the year,” said Murray, who won the inaugural MWTC event in 2009 but has not returned since.
“You’re practising against the best players in the world. The guys that played there the last few years have gone on to be very successful in Australia as well.
“So I think before you start playing tournaments, it just gives you a little bit of extra sharpness because you’re playing against the best players. That’s why I’m doing it.”
Murray explained that having a longer off-season has also allowed him to rearrange his schedule and stop by the UAE capital on his way to Australia, where he will officially commence his season.
“The off-season this year is much longer, two weeks longer exactly,” added the world No3. “That means I can take a bit of time off now and then train and come home over the holiday period, over Christmas time, which I haven’t done the last three years. I’ve gone straight over to Australia just because of how tight the turnaround was.
“I am coming back for Christmas this year, so I can go over to Australia that way (through Abu Dhabi).”
Defeat to Federer on Sunday night at the O2 Arena has done little to take the shine off a year which has included winning the gold medal at the Olympics, his maiden Grand Slam at Flushing Meadow and reaching the Wimbledon final.
“It was an incredibly positive year,” explained Murray, who wrapped up his season with a 56-16 win-loss record. “I would have loved to finish the year on a win of course but that didn’t happen.
“For me it’s been the best year of my career by a mile. To look back on that negatively now would be silly. I have to look back on it positively. If I don’t, then that would be worrying.”
One person Murray credits part of his success to is coach Ivan Lendl, who joined forces with the Scot last January. “He’s obviously helped me a lot,” said Murray when asked whether hiring Lendl was the best decision of his career.
“Moving over to Spain when I was younger was a very hard decision to make and that would be up there with this one. Since I’ve been on the tour, I think it was a step that I needed to take and was very important to me and helped me get over that final hurdle.”
The Mubadala World Tennis Championships take place at Zayed Sports City from December 27-29 and features six of the world's top nine ranked players, including world No1 Novak Djokovic.
Aside from Murray, Rafael Nadal is also expected to make his long-awaited return from injury in the UAE capital alongside David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Janko Tipsarevic.