Andy Murray will experience a new sensation when he starts play at next monthâ€™s Australian Open â€“ feeling like a Grand Slam champion.
The third-ranked Brit broke through at the U.S. Open in 2012, adding to his gold medal at the London Olympics.
â€˜â€™In the last three, four or five years there has been significant pressure in my mind, and now I feel more relaxed and relieved after winning the U.S. Open,â€™â€™ Murray said Wednesday. â€˜â€™So, I think from my side, I hope to take the pressure off myself and be able to play a little bit more relaxed â€“ and I hope to repeat my Grand Slam win.â€™â€™
Murray was promoting a winner-takes-all $250,000 exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi that serves as a warmup for the Australian Open, which runs Jan. 14-27.
Murray hired Ivan Lendl as coach on last New Yearâ€™s Eve and is full of praise for the changes the eight-time Grand Slam champion made in his game.
â€œHe helped with a lot of small things; you know, technical things, small mental and psychological things and small physical things as well as tactical things,â€™â€™ Murray said. â€˜â€™A lot of those small things add up to 5 to 10 percent to my game, and that was what I needed to find to make it past the last hurdle and win one of the major tournaments.â€™â€™
After losing in the final at Wimbledon this year, Murrayâ€™s next goals include going one step farther at his home major tournament and becoming the top-ranked player in the world â€“ but he doesnâ€™t plan on playing more events to achieve the second of those.
â€œEvery year when Wimbledon comes around Iâ€™m desperate to win and do well. Itâ€™s an incredibly tough event and a lot of pressure during that time of the year,â€ Murray said.