Aussie Open yet to spring any big surprises

Murray, unburdened of expectation, now in a relaxed mode Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/murray-unburdened-of-expectation-now-in-a-relaxed-mode-20130113-2cnlf.html#ixzz2HtR2hnfJ

  • dgec
  • 13 January 2013
  • 09:01

Andy Murray will have an old friend for company at the Australian Open after world No.246 Jamie Baker qualified to reach the main draw. The pair have known each other since 1995, the year Murray's mother, Judy, organised an under-nines tournament for the most promising tennis tots in Scotland.

Ivan talks up Andy

Ivan Lendl is quietly confident about Andy Murray's chances of adding to his one Grand Slam title in 2013. The Scot ended his long wait for a major success at the US Open in September, beating defending champion Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller to become the first British male to win a Grand Slam in 76 years. The Flushing Meadows triumph came on the back of a successful campaign on grass, with Murray impressing at Wimbledon on his way to the championship final and Olympic gold. Murray also reached the Australian Open last four at the beginning of 2012, and is a two-time finalist at the event. He is one of the favourites to kick-off next year with a Grand Slam win, but his coach is keen to keep the British number one grounded. "The goal is to win in Melbourne. But tennis is difficult with Djokovic, (Roger) Federer, (Rafa) Nadal and Andy all very good at the moment. Yes, he has a chance but I can't make any predictions," Lendl was quoted as saying by several sport updates. Murray enjoyed an excellent first season under the tutelage of Lendl and will improve even more in 2013, according to the Czech-born coach. "I now have more of an understanding about what makes him tick and we can build successfully on that. There is a lot to look forward to next year," added Lendl. One area Murray could improve on is his clay-court game where he is always an outsider to the likes of Nadal in the odds betting. However, Lendl believes he has all the attributes to enjoy success on the surface. "No-one has won the French Open without having enjoyed a good clay-court season. But if he works on aspects of his game I want him to improve, then he can do it," he said.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">27 November 2012</li> <li class="time last">01:11</li> </ul></div>
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27 November 2012

Lendl eyeing Aussie glory for Murray

Ivan Lendl had won the US Open and French Open three times before he finally prevailed Down Under and got his hands on the Australian Open trophy. This time around he will be hoping Andy Murray follows a similar path to success on Aussie soil. The 52-year-old Czech-born coach got his Grand Slam breakthrough at Roland Garros in 1984 but had to wait until 1989 before winning in Melbourne. In the years building up to it he would win five more majors. Murray finally ended his wait to join the men's elite when winning at Queens in New York City. It was the culmination of a stand-out year which saw him reach the final, semi-final and quarter-final of Wimbledon, the Australian Open and French Open respectively, as well as winning Olympic gold and silver. The Scot must now kick on in 2013 if he is to prove his Flushing Meadows success was no fluke and Lendl suggested he was only at the "20 per cent" mark in their efforts to make him world number one. The British number one has some way to go to dethrone Novak Djokovic but can look back on three wins out of seven meetings between the two in 2012 - including the US Open. Lendl is well-placed to know that there are no guarantees in sport at the highest level and insisted it was not a formality that Murray could become the first male British singles Wimbledon winner since Fred Perry in 1936. Twice Murray has been denied in the final in Australia - in 2010 and 2011 - but he must surely feel this is his best chance to make it third time lucky. Dont forget to head over to Betfair for all the latest ATP tour betting as well as news, odds and expert opinion, including thoughts on the Betfair BNP Paribas
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">26 November 2012</li> <li class="time last">09:11</li> </ul></div>
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26 November 2012

Ground-breaking season finally over for Murray

Andy Murray can finally put his feet up and toast a job well done after his season came to a close on Sunday following semi-final defeat to Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Murray, contesting in the end-of-season tournament, could not stop the resurgent and inspired Federer, losing the match 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after a final gruelling week on the tour. The loss, which will no doubt frustrate a player who demands perfection from his own game, should not cast too much of a shadow on Murrays season as he reflects on a ground-breaking year. For the Scot can now boast of being up there with the big guns after claiming Olympic gold and the US Open crown this season. Punters who bet on tennis started the year hopeful that he would go better than being the nearly man and a semis defeat at the Australian Open was seen as relative failure. Indeed, Murrays frustration continued with a poor quarter-finals loss at the French, before an inspired performance at Wimbledon rocketed him back into tour contention. Although he lost the final to Federer on Centre Court, it was clear Murray had risen to new levels and he rightly took revenge at London 2012. Yet the rollercoaster nature of Murrays season continued and he dropped out of two US warm-up tournaments before taking his first Grand Slam title in New York something plenty of punters on Betfair.com had tipped him to do. Looking back, Murray will be happy with his season but there are still definite things to improve before Australia next year. He has not handled early-season dips well and it took until high summer before he found his form. The Grand Slams and Olympics took a lot out of him and just one further tour title in Brisbane means Murrays actual trophy haul was lower than in 2008. Next year he should be aiming for tour domination like Federer and Novak Djokovic: who have perfected the art of claiming Grand Slams with other tour titles to make a ground-breaking season the norm.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">13 November 2012</li> <li class="time last">09:11</li> </ul></div>
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13 November 2012

Murray has taste for success

US Open champion Andy Murray is determined to take his game to the next level as he targets more Grand Slam titles and the world number one spot. Murray beat defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in Monday's thrilling final to break his own personal duck and become the first British male to win a major in 76 years. Many punters who bet on sports expect the 25-year-old to go from strength to strength following his maiden Grand Slam triumph, something Murray is keen to do. "You want to try to win those big matches and big tournaments and I'll keep working hard," he told the gathered sport news reporters at Flushing Meadows. "I want to keep improving. I know how it feels to win a Grand Slam and winning the Olympics. "A little bit more confidence and experience of taking my chances in big matches will help me." The Flushing Meadows success capped off an excellent year for the Scot under new coach Ivan Lendl. The British number one reached the last four of the Australian Open and the French Open quarter-finals, before reaching the Wimbledon final, where he lost in four sets to Roger Federer. Murray went on to exact revenge on the Swiss at the Olympics, claiming gold for Team GB. Following his win in New York, Murray will now turn his attention to the ATP World Tour Finals in London in November and topping the world rankings next year. "All players, once you get near to the top of the game, one of the goals is to try to get to world number one," Murray added. "I'm definitely going to try. It's something I'd love to do, to get to number one. It's a very tough thing to do."
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">17 September 2012</li> <li class="time last">01:09</li> </ul></div>
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17 September 2012

Magic Murray shows his metal

Some experts in the game said it was only a matter of time, some thought the Scot simply wasn’t good enough; in either case Andy Murray can now call himself a Grand Slam winner having claimed the US Open title on Monday. The 25-year-old must have gone through some tough days questioning his own ability, having failed to claim a Grand Slam in the four finals he had played in before his five-set win over Novak Djokovic in New York. However there was a change in the tide earlier in the summer when Murray managed to beat world number one Roger Federer to claim the biggest win of his career at the Olympic Games in London to secure gold. Betfair Tennis Tips pre-match had tipped the Scot to use that win to break his Grand Slam duck. The Scotsman produced some superb tennis to beat the Swiss star he had lost to in the final of his home Grand Slam at Wimbledon just a matter of weeks before. That winning momentum has been building and now, with the help of his latest coach Ivan Lendl, Murray has finally got that monkey off his back by claiming that elusive major title. He told Sky Sports: "Right now, it's a lot of relief. "That would have been a tough one to lose, so I'm so, so happy I managed to pull through in the end. The body is hurting a bit, but it's worth it.” Now Murray can look forward to his next Grand Slam at the Australian Open early next year, knowing he has the ability to win one of these big pressure tournaments. Having proved his supporters in the game right, as well as his doubters wrong , it’s surely just a matter of time until he claims his second Grand Slam title and more.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">14 September 2012</li> <li class="time last">10:09</li> </ul></div>
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14 September 2012

Murray Should be Upbeat for US Open

It is probably what his coach, family, and team are telling him. It is certainly what Betfair pundits, fellow players, and the man on the street are saying: Andy, you played a great tournament, and have much to be proud of. The man himself will struggle to see it that way, however, evidently heartbroken by his Wimbledon final defeat by Roger Federer, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism. Murray must also be told that he should be full of confidence for the final Major of 2012, the US Open. A lot can happen between now and the start of proceedings at Flushing Meadows but, whatever Murray does at the Olympics, Toronto, and Cincinnati, recalling his efforts at SW19 over the last fortnight will give him great strength. Murray played at a consistently higher level than anyone; Federer included. He overcame tricky opponents and situations that might have previously tripped him up, in the manner that Rafael Nadal was ousted. He used an ideal game plan to attack Federer and, for all of the Swiss genius brilliance, the final was decided by a few close points here and there. Federer is, of course, a master at winning these crucial points, but Murray can be consoled by the fact that the champion has played in the zone he found against Murray and Novak Djokovic at SW19 less often than he used to. If Murray plays as he did against the seven-time Wimbledon champion in New York, he could well go all the way. Crucially, conditions will suit him better, with the slower hard court surface enabling him to dictate points against his main rivals more easily. No matches will be played under a roof, a feature of the Wimbledon final that favoured Federer. Murray might not yet be upbeat, but he soon will be. The US Open 2012 betting pages have Murray pegged at 67/10 to win the final Major of the year.
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13 July 2012

Aussie Open yet to spring any big surprises

Although the Australian Open has so far whetted the appetite of tennis fans the world over, the fact of the matter is that the Grand Slam curtain raiser has to date failed to produce any real shocks of the sort that encourage tennis fans in the UK to stay up late in order to enjoy the action on TV. Punters meanwhile have yet to see the pre-tournament tennis betting offers  on potential shocks bear fruit, though there is still plenty of tennis still to be played. With Andy Murray (hopefully!) ready to take the tournament by storm after what can fairly be termed a slow start, the pressure is now on the Scot to start fulfilling his potential, in the process raising hopes in the UK that the first Grand Slam winner to come from Britain in a long time is about to be crowned. Although some neutrals may deem this to be unlikely given Murray's average performances so far this season, the likes of Federer, Nadal, and even to a lesser extent Djokovic, are not exactly setting the tournament on fire at the moment, which might just allow Murray the chance to set the tone for the rest of the season by securing a positive start and just the boost he needs to take his career up a level. Alongside the uncertainty of the men’s draw, the women’s draw is also very open, which would be a positive for watching fans if the games hadn't been so uninspiring and uncompetitive, with numerous double bagel games being broadcast. We may still be in the early stages of the competition, in the first live tennis Grand Slam of the year, but it is vital for the future of the tournament in Australia that the women’s draw starts to come alive as soon as possible, or else the viewing public may keep their focus solely on the men’s game in years to come.
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24 January 2012

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