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.


Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'