Agassi backs Murray for Grand Slam success

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The Independent Online

Andre Agassi is in no doubt Andy Murray will win grand slam titles - and believes his "tortured spirit" will help him achieve his dream.

The British number one won his sixth title of the season in Valencia yesterday with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny.

Statistically, 2009 has been the best year of Murray's career but it is his failure to win one of the big four that has increasingly grabbed the attention.

The Scot was one of the favourites to triumph at the Australian and US Opens but fell in the fourth round of both, while Juan Martin Del Potro's victory in New York means Murray is the only one of the world's top five not to have won a grand slam.

Agassi, though, believes his attitude will see him break his duck.

"I think he'll win multiple grand slams," said the former world number one, who was Murray's childhood idol. "It's been my prediction for a while.

"This year was disappointing for him. I know he was on the verge in a couple of grand slams with the hopes of doing it (winning). I think once he does one, the floodgates will open. He just needs to stay with it.

"He's proved that he's a strong person. My advice? To keep getting better. Every day's an opportunity to get one day better.

"He shouldn't get hung up on results. Results are a bi-product of your commitment and work ethic and not cutting a corner.

"He has a self-inflicting tortured spirit about him when he's on the court and I think the last year and a half he's really learned how to use it."

Murray completed the perfect comeback following six weeks out with a wrist injury as he eased to victory in Valencia yesterday.

The 22-year-old had been pushed hard a couple of times in the tournament, notably by Fernando Verdasco in the semi-finals, but was always in control against Youzhny.

He now moves on to this week's Paris Masters and believes he has played himself back into good form with the prestigious Barclays ATP Tour Finals to come at the O2 in London at the end of the month.

"It was a very, very good week," Murray said. "It is very rare for someone to win a tournament after a long break. I am happy I have come back from the injury well and played better with every match.

"I didn't have high expectations this week but with every round and match you get more confident. I felt good with the way I was hitting the ball."

Murray has a bye in the Paris first round and will meet James Blake in the second after the American beat Fabrice Santoro in the charismatic Frenchman's final professional singles match.

The 36-year-old, nicknamed 'The Magician' by Pete Sampras because of his fondness for spins and slices, announced earlier this year he would not carry on into 2010 and his 6-4 6-3 defeat preceded emotional scenes in Bercy.

Murray and Blake have met twice before, notably in the final of the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club in June when the British number one triumphed in straight sets.

Murray, who has been drawn in the same half as top seed Roger Federer and US Open champion Del Potro, has never been beyond the quarter-finals at the event.