Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Success not just slams: Murray

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Andy Murray believes even if he fails to win a grand slam he could still be considered a success at the end of his career.

The 22-year-old world number four is only in the early stages of a blossoming career which has already seen him reach the final of the 2008 US Open, when he lost to record grand slam winner Roger Federer.

Murray, who has arrived in Perth to begin his preparations for the Australian Open later this month, has warned the presence of greats such as Federer and Rafael Nadal may prevent him from ever realising his ambition of claiming a major success.

“This is one of, if not the toughest era in tennis,” he said.

“You can play great and not win right now because of how good the other players are.

“I'll try my best to win a grand slam, that's my goal, but I still think you can be successful in tennis even if you don't win one.

“Having said that, I would be disappointed if I didn't.”

The Scot indicated the fierce competition in men's tennis at present was also a key reason for his decision to skip Great Britain's Davis Cup tie in Lithuania in March.

Murray defended his decision by pointing out his rivals have all opted to skip the competition in the past and denied he had turned his back on the British team after their slump into the Europe-Africa Zone Group Two.

“It would be a bit unfair to single me out,” he said.

“Federer has missed Davis Cup matches, Rafa Nadal has missed Davis Cup matches as has Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

“A lot better players than me have missed Davis Cup matches. I don't think it's a case of me abandoning Great Britain.

“You've got to do what is right for your tennis. That period of the year just before Indian Wells and Miami is very important for me. I've got a lot of rankings points to defend.

“I think it's the right decision.”

Murray has been outspoken about the need for young British players to develop on the international stage and believes his decision will offer them that opportunity.

“I think now is a good time for the younger guys to get a chance of playing Davis Cup matches and winning them,” he said.

“We are in quite a low group now. When I do play and we lose, I don't feel like it really benefits the other players.

“I think it's been 10 years or something since a British player outside myself, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski won a live Davis Cup rubber.

“It's time for the guys to get used to winning in the Davis Cup rather than having so much pressure on them every time they play.”

Murray is ironically preparing to represent Great Britain at the Hopman Cup in Perth, where he will team up with ex-junior Wimbledon champion Laura Robson.

The round-robin format ensures Murray will play at least three singles games while also allowing him a chance to acclimatise to the Australian conditions and courts.

“The bonus of a tournament like this is I get three games and I can train as well,” he said.

“We get a day off between matches where I can train and get used to the heat and the courts so it is a perfect preparation.”

Britain's first tie is against Kazakhstan when Murray will play the world number 133 Andrey Golubev before matches against Russia's Igor Andreev and German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Meanwhile, Nadal won the Capitala World Tennis Championships with a 7-6 7-5 victory over Sweden's Robin Soderling in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Nadal took revenge for his loss to Soderling in the French Open last year in a hard-fought final.

The Spaniard won the first set in a tie-break and Soderling continued to put up a tough fight in the second as he came from 4-2 down to tie it at 4-4.

Soderling held serve to survive a first time, but not the second as Nadal wore down his resistance to begin 2010 with a title.

Earlier, Roger Federer bounced back from the disappointment of losing to Soderling to dispatch David Ferrer 6-1 7-5 and claim third place in the tournament.

Federer looked inspired in the first set and although Ferrer rallied in the second, he still could not match the Swiss.

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