French Open 2014: Andy Murray can build on the clay foundations laid in Rome

The draw at Roland Garros has been reasonably kind to the Scot
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The Independent Online

The French Open, which begins in Paris on Sunday, is the only Grand Slam tournament in which Andy Murray has not reached the final, but the 27-year-old Scot is in good heart after his improved performances last week in Rome, where he ran Rafael Nadal close before losing in the quarter-finals.

"Rome was a good step forward," Murray said on his return to Roland Garros, having missed last year's tournament because of a back injury. "I need to build on that, take confidence from it. I need to try and keep that consistency for the next four or five months if I can."

The Paris draw was reasonably kind to Murray, who will face Andrey Golubev, the world No 55, in the first round. The 26-year-old from Kazakhstan has won only four matches in 15 Grand Slam tournaments and lost to Murray in their only previous meeting six years ago. However, he has climbed 123 places in the world rankings in the last year and last month beat Stanislas Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, in the Davis Cup.

"His form has been a bit inconsistent because of his game style," Murray said. "He's a very dangerous player. He has a big forehand and goes for his shots. He doesn't hold back. When he's on, he's a very tough guy to beat."

The winner will face Dustin Brown or Marinko Matosevic in the second round. If results go according to seedings, Murray would then meet Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round, Richard Gasquet in the fourth and Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, with Nadal a potential semi-final opponent.

Murray said he hoped he was "fairly close" to appointing a new coach following his split with Ivan Lendl two months ago but "wouldn't expect anything over the next few days". He added: "It's not about rushing into something. It's about getting it right."