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
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.

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor