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Tennis: Murray happy to scrap Australian Open final for baby dash

AFP , Saturday 16 Jan 2016
Britain
Britain's Andy Murray looks at a ball during a practice session, ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 (AP)
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Andy Murray made it crystal clear on Saturday that he wouldn't hesitate to pull out of the Australian Open if his wife goes into labour -- even if it meant robbing the event of its men's final.

Murray said he had no problem missing the chance of a third Grand Slam title, or ending the men's tournament early, if he has to dash home for the birth of his first child.

"For me, my child is more important to me, and my wife is more important to me, than a tennis match," he told reporters in Melbourne.

Two-time Grand Slam-winner Murray has reached four of the last six finals at Melbourne Park, although he is yet to lift the trophy.

If the Scot were to pull out of the final, the title would go to his opponent and the Australian Open would miss its showpiece moment usually watched by millions of viewers around the world.

Murray, 28, said he was growing increasingly excited about the prospect of fatherhood, with his wife Kim Sears due to give birth in the coming weeks.

"Most days I think about that. Just now it's a big change coming. It's very, very exciting," he said. "I'm sure everyone that's had their first child would have thought the same thing with just a few weeks to go.

"Again, I've never been in this position, so it's something new for me to deal with and handle, which is good. New experiences are always good, something to learn from.

"When I'm on the practice court and stuff, I'm very focused there. When I've been training, not distracted on that side of things. Just obviously after your practices and when you're away from the court, it's a bit different."

- Tall order -

Baby issues have been foremost for some time for Murray, who has only just been reunited with his coach, Amelie Mauresmo, after she took maternity leave last year.

The 28-year-old has also had an abbreviated off-season after leading Britain to Davis Cup glory in late November, and has skipped his usual training camp in Miami in favour of Dubai.

"We have a good relationship," he said of Mauresmo. "Obviously when you do spend like four, five months away from anyone that you're working with, it takes a little bit of time to get back into things.

"It's good that we got to spend quite a lot of time together, close to a month of practising, preparation. So, yeah, I'm happy she's back with me."

His first opponent is Germany's Alexander Zverev, who stands 6ft 6in (1.98 meters) at just 18 but who, at a world ranking of 83, may be hoping that Murray's baby comes early.

"He's a big guy obviously for his age. Of the young guys coming through, by far the tallest of them, which has obviously benefits," Murray said of Zverev.

"At the age he's at just now can cause a few issues, as well, until you kind of fill out into your physique.

"But he's got a very good game. He serves well. For a big guy, moves pretty well, too. He's improving all the time... it will be a tough match."

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