Andy Murray in a 'good place' with rivals in his sights

Scot full of confidence as he faces the rest of the Big Four knowing he can live with them

Andy Murray returns to action this week for the first time since his defeat in the Australia Open final in January believing he is in a "good place".

The Scot has spent the month since losing to Novak Djokovic at his training base in Florida before flying to California, where he joins Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells – the first time the big four have all played in one tournament since Wimbledon last year. It marks the start of an intense period for Murray as it is followed by the Sony Open, near his Florida home, and then a return to Europe for the start of the clay-court season that leads to the French Open in May.

"Preparation and consistency are key for me this year and I'm going into every tournament I play with the aim of winning it," said Murray. "I'm in a good place right now."

If Murray can construct a run of form in the coming weeks, he can replace Federer as the world No 2 and continue a rise he traces back to last year's Australian Open – and another defeat at the hands of Djokovic – this time in the semi-final.

"I learned a lot in the Australian Open last year," said Murray. "I had a great match with Djokovic, it was 7-5 in the fifth set, that was five hours nearly. I lost but I had chances and it came down to the last few points. I gained a lot of belief from that. I knew that I could last physically with him and I also dictated long periods of the match. It was nice to come off the court in a big match not really having any regrets, and I think that changed a few things."

That first Grand Slam victory finally arrived at the US Open last year but not before Murray had to overcome off-the-court doubts that troubled him almost as much as the relentless Djokovic did on it.

"Before the US Open final was the most nervous I'd been before a big match in my career," said Murray, who had lost all four of his previous Grand Slam finals. "I was doubting myself a lot. You're asking a lot of questions about whether you're going to be able to do it, playing against the No 1 player in the world, someone that's been so great on the hard courts the last few years.

"I think it's only natural to have doubts and every time I've lost in a final it's been incredibly tough."

The growing influence of his coach, Ivan Lendl, over the course of last year was also vital towards hardening a mindset that the first Slam would come. "To have someone like Ivan come along, who's lost his first four Grand Slam finals, and I was in the same position as him – just having someone like him to talk to and discus those feelings," said Murray, who has been nominated for Breakthrough of the Year at next week's Laureus awards. "There's times when you doubt yourself and think that you're a failure for losing matches like that, but you know he went on to win eight Grand Slams and to have someone with that experience in your corner has definitely helped."

The US Open triumph over Djokovic, squeezed from five epic sets, followed Murray's Olympic gold at Wimbledon. New York may have brought a first Slam but the 25-year-old Scot – seven days Djokovic's senior – still puts that win at home as his own highlight.

"The Olympics was different to anything I had experienced. I might have to take that [before the US Open] after I lost in the Wimbledon final four weeks beforehand against Roger Federer. It was an incredibly tough moment for me that. And then to get the opportunity to play against him – four weeks to the day – on the same court and to win a gold medal for the country was something I'll never forget."

Andy Murray is one of the nominees for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award. The winners will be announced on 11 March at the Laureus Awards Ceremony in Rio. For more information please visit: www.laureus.com

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions