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Tennis: Murray confident despite tough Australian Open draw

AFP , Saturday 17 Jan 2015
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Andy Murray faces a tough draw at the Australian Open, needing to overcome Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to make the final, but the British number one says he is feeling good about his game.

A three-time runner up at Melbourne Park, Murray has slipped to sixth in the world rankings and is on course to meet Federer in the quarter-finals in the bottom half of the draw with Nadal potentially awaiting him in the last four.

He could also face world number 11 Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

"Obviously a very tough draw, very difficult draw," said Murray, who is coached by Amelie Mauresmo.

"If you have to play all of those players, obviously it's going to be extremely difficult to come through that. I'm aware of that. That's fine.

"But often in these events, you know, there are upsets. And then you just have to wait and see who you're playing in each round because it doesn't always work out as simply as that.

"It will be interesting to see how it goes. But definitely with the names mentioned, it's very challenging."

Despite the ominous task ahead, the dual Grand Slam champion, who won the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in the UAE this month when Novak Djokovic forfeited the final, said he was in good shape and up for the challenge

"I trained well in December. Changed some of the things I was doing in my training, which was fun," he said, having adapted a new regime focused on improving his movement on court.

"It was fresh ideas. That was good. I worked hard in the off-season, my body feels good."

Murray likes the hardcourt and weather conditions in Australia, where he was runner-up in 2010, 2011 and 2013, although he exited last year in the quarter-finals to Federer in four sets.

Back then he was recovering from back surgery and admits he was apprehensive going into the tournament.

"Obviously last year was tough because I prepared fairly well, but mentally it's quite tough sort of going into your first slam (since surgery) and playing long five-set matches," he said.

"You don't necessarily know how your body's going to respond, so mentally you're kind of worrying a bit and you'd be apprehensive.

"That's not the case this year, which is good. And my preparation and training over in Miami and then in Dubai went very well.

"Practice this week's been good. So, yeah, looking forward to getting started."

Murray gets his tournament underway against Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri.

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