Murray aiming for back-to-back Slams in Australia
Andy Murray is hoping to build on a year of firsts as he targets back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open.
The 25-year-old Scot ended his long quest to win a major at last year’s US Open, shortly after claiming gold at the London Olympics. His achievements saw him finish the season at a career high third in the world rankings and he is looking to improve in 2013.
“Obviously last year was by far my best on the court,” he said. “I had my first Wimbledon final, the Olympics was a great experience and then my first Grand Slam title after that. I also finished with my highest ranking. So there were a lot of firsts for me last year, and that’s pretty important.
“I kept saying once you get to your mid-20s it’s important to try to find things to improve on and do things you’ve never done or things you haven’t achieved before.”
Murray, who opens his campaign on Tuesday against Dutchman Robin Haase, has reached two finals in Melbourne and was ousted at the last-four stage 12 months ago after a titanic tussle with eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic will again be the man to beat as he attempts to create history by becoming the first man in the Open era to win three successive titles Down Under. But the Serbian went out of his way to talk of the threat posed by Murray.
“He has become a Grand Slam and Olympic champion. It’s not something that many players in history have done,” the world No1 said. “I think something mentally switched in his head and he just started believing much more in his abilities, even though he was always a contender to win a major title.
“Now that he has done it he’s definitely right up there, one of the favourites for any tournament.”
As for his own chances, Djokovic denied they could be compromised by the prospect of a ‘three-peat’.
He added: “I feel this is a point where everybody starts from the same line, so I don’t really put myself in a position to have more pressure than the others.”
Roger Federer arrives having played no warm-up events but the 17-time Grand Slam champion denied it was a risky strategy.
The Swiss said: “I purposely didn’t play a lead-up tournament so that I’d be fresh for the beginning, hopefully going deep into the tournament. It’s nice sometimes doing it slightly differently than every year.”