Murray ready for the season ahead

Updated: December 14, 2012

Andy Murray may have finally ended his grand slam hoodoo in 2012, but with the new year and an eagerly-anticipated return to Abu Dhabi on the horizon the Scot is refusing to rest on his laurels.

The 25-year-old is very much the man of the moment in men’s tennis having finally ended his long wait for a grand slam title – at the fifth time of asking – with victory at the US Open.

Murray’s thrilling five-set triumph over Djokovic, in what many consider to be the match of 2012, was preceded by his Olympic success where avenged his defeat to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. It proved to be a watershed moment.

“Since the Olympics I just feel a bit better about myself. I find it easier to walk around with my head up, whereas before I was always head down, not wanting anyone to see me or say anything,” Murray told The Daily Mail.

“Maybe I felt that having lost in Grand Slam finals I was letting whoever it was down. I know I had been reminded every day for the last six years that it’s this long since someone from our country won a Slam. So there was part of me probably that felt a little bit of responsibility. It’s nice not to have worry about that any more and see what else I can achieve.”

And now, as he prepares to make his return to the UAE capital later this month at the season-opening Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Murray is again putting in the hard yards as he looks to achieve even more in the game.

After his achievements of the past 12 months, many could have forgiven Murray for taking it easy in the close-season, allowing himself time to reflect and bask in the glory of his feats, including becoming the first British man to taste grand slam success in 76 years. But then that’s not Murray’s style.

As the old adage goes it’s harder staying on top that it is reaching the summit in the first place.

Murray has again returned to familiar surroundings of Miami, South Florida, which has become home for the Scot during the off-season for the past few years.

In the searing heat of Miami’s winter, Murray is putting his body through hell under the watchful gaze of his support team, including coach Ivan Lendl and trainer Jez Green, to ensure that he is ready for everything Novak Djokovic and Co. throw at him in the coming year – starting in Abu Dhabi.

Murray is one of six of the world’s top nine who have been enticed to the UAE capital to kick off the brand new season.

After honing his fitness in Miami, Murray will return home to spend Christmas before landing in the UAE on Boxing Day ahead of his first appearance at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship since winning the inaugural event in 2009.

Murray’s participation will be his only appearance in the Emirates this coming year after he recently revealed he will not be competing in February’s Dubai Duty Free.

No wonder then Murray has set his sights firmly on making it a winning return to the UAE capital after a three year absence, calling the tournament the “perfect preparation” ahead of the Australia Open in January.

“After a few weeks’ rest, I’m looking forward to getting the new season off to a winning start in Abu Dhabi,” said Murray.

“It’s a great atmosphere at Zayed Sport City and I’ll certainly be looking to leave Abu Dhabi with another win, having won here in 2009.”

Murray will open the three-day event at Zayed Sports City with a clash against Janko Tipsarevic on Thursday, December 27, with the returning Rafael Nadal awaiting the winner in the semi-final.