Melbourne: Andy Murray believes he is mentally better prepared than ever to win his first grand-slam title after falling at the final hurdle twice before.
The Scot was runner-up to Roger Federer in Melbourne 12 months ago and after reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon, he suffered a shock defeat in the third round of the US Open before regaining his form in the closing months of the season.
Fifth-ranked Murray said the experience of an up-and-down year should help him in his quest for a first grand-slam title at the Australian Open over the next two weeks.
“I played quite a lot of big matches last year and I went through some very tough patches as well, especially after the Aussie Open,” Murray told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday.
“That was something I had to come back from and I learnt from so I think mentally I’m probably in a better place.”
Murray spent most of December in Miami for his customary winter training block and said he had put in all the hard work off the court to produce success on it.
“I did a lot of running on the track and running on the beach,” he said. “Just the usual weights, core stuff, movement work on the court.”
“In terms of my game, I work on things a lot in practice, things that are hopefully going to improve my game. Then you just need to go out there and try to put them into the matches when you get the chance to.”
Murray beat Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals last year on his way to the final and could have to play the world number one in the last four this time round.
The Spaniard is Murray’s favourite player to watch and Murray said should Nadal win here, holding all four grand slam titles at the same time would be just as good as the traditional grand slam of all four in a calendar year.
“I think it’s one of the greatest achievements in sport because of the depth in the game and because you have to win seven matches against always different players on a different day,” he said.
“If you turn up and play a bad match, because of the depth, you can lose.”
But Murray showed his admiration for Nadal only goes so far, adding: “I really hope he doesn’t do it.”