Murray (and new team) breeze into next round

Scot celebrates return to top four with quick victory while Baltacha also wins

There have been times when Andy Murray's courtside entourage would have done justice to an American football team. When he grew tired of spending day after day in the company of the garrulous Brad Gilbert, the Scot replaced his coach with a private army of assistants, ranging from physical trainers to friends who doubled up as hitting partners.

There were still seven people in Murray's box here yesterday during his 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 victory over South Africa's Kevin Anderson on the opening day of the Australian Open, but they included his mother and her partner and two representatives of his management company. Team Murray was down to Miles Maclagan, his coach, Jez Green, one of his trainers, and Andy Ireland, his physiotherapist.

While people like Alex Corretja, who has played an increasingly important role as a coach, and Matt Little, another member of his fitness staff, will remain part of Murray's entourage, the 22-year-old Scot plans to travel lighter this year.

"I like having everyone around and get on great with all of them, but I have to make sure everyone who is here has a job to do," Murray said. "When we go out for dinner it's not tables for 10, it's tables for five or six. It's just a little calmer and maybe we're not spending as much time together."

On this evidence they will not be spending as much time on the court either. Murray, playing his first competitive match of the year, celebrated his return to No 4 in the world rankings with victory in just 97 minutes.

Having played indoors at the Hopman Cup a fortnight ago, he has still to play outdoors in 2010, the roof over Rod Laver Arena having been shut on a day of blustery showers and uncharacteristically cool temperatures. Among the matches held over was the meeting of Simone Bolelli and Marc Gicquel to decide Murray's next opponent.

The stadium was barely half full and the atmosphere no better than subdued, which was probably because the match was so one-sided. Anderson, the world No 147, was outclassed in almost every department, although Murray would have liked to have put more first serves in court, just 23 out of 65 finding their target.

At 6ft 8in, Anderson has a potent serve, but Murray returned beautifully and the 23-year-old South African was peppered by passing shots on his regular forays to the net. Murray, in contrast, looked confident coming forward, which he did frequently. "Last year I may have played a little more conservatively," he said.

Two years ago, when Murray lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round, there were no Britons left in the singles before dawn had broken back home on the opening day. By breakfast yesterday two were already through to the second round, Elena Baltacha having shown Murray the way with a battling 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over France's Pauline Parmentier.

Britain's other No 1 had to dig deep. Baltacha has worked hard on her fitness but was suffering with cramp from the end of the second set and was grateful for a rain break at 3-3 in the decider. The world No 83 admitted afterwards that she had been feeling under pressure, knowing that defeat would result in losing her hard-won place in the world's top 100.

Parmentier's game was a curious mixture of powerful serving, clean ball-striking when in her comfort zone and woeful mishits when she was stretched. The Frenchwoman appeared to have taken a decisive lead at 2-0 in the third set, but Baltacha showed great resilience. "There was no way I was going to go down without a fight," Baltacha said.

Baltacha will now play the No 30 seed, Kateryna Bondarenko, who will no doubt consult her older sister, Alona, who lost to the Briton at Wimbledon last summer. Katie O'Brien, Britain's other singles player in the main draw, was due to meet Austria's Patricia Mayr early today after their match was rained off yesterday.

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

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.

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone