• Australian Open

Murray optimistic after 'best two days' of training

ESPN staff
January 8, 2014
Murray trains under the watchful eye of the coach Ivan Lendl © Getty Images

Andy Murray has not ruled out winning the Australian Open, saying "stranger things have happened".

Just days ago, Murray seemingly dismissed his chances of victory in Melbourne at a competition in which he has reached the final in three of the last four years.

But speaking at his training camp for the opening grand slam of the season, the Wimbledon champion - six months on from that famous victory at SW19 - says he is feeling back to his best following back surgery which ruled him out of the final four months of 2013.

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Hutchins will ditch the suit of Queen's Club for the real action at the Australian Open © Getty Images
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"The last two days have been the best since the surgery by far," he told The Times. "The best practice sessions, best sets, best I've felt on the court, best I've hit the ball.

"Six days before a slam, I'm used to feeling like if I've a couple of bad practices I'm going to be fine because I've played a lot of matches and prepared well.

"Now this week is very important if I want to have a chance of winning here. Stranger things have happened. I'm playing well now and moving properly, which is a really good sign.

"I'm playing a match on Friday [against Lleyton Hewitt, who beat Roger Federer to the Brisbane title on Sunday] in an exhibition and two or three more good practices on top of that will make a big difference."

Murray also revealed that the career-saving surgery has left him with a calmer outlook on his time as one of the game's elite - and particularly since becoming the first British male to lift the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936.

"I know now that, if I finish playing tomorrow, I'd be content," he added. "I wouldn't be concerned about what I'd achieved or things I could have done or been able to do, whether my tennis wasn't good enough or mentally I wasn't good enough or whatever.

"Having the surgery and some months away from the travelling, the sport, everyone, that also helped. It feels easier to get up and go on the practice court.

"I used to find the training aspect easy but this time around, I wanted to get on to the tennis court, I wanted to play points, I wanted to be competitive again."

Murray will find out who he faces at the Australian Open when the draw is made on Friday.

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