Murray can handle Melbourne heat

Click to follow
The Independent Online

If Andy Murray is to lift the coveted Norman Brookes Challenge Cup he is going to have more than just the world's best players to overcome.

Aside from obvious dangers perennial grand slam favourite Roger Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal - who is in Murray's half of the draw - present, the Scotsman is also going to have to contend with Melbourne's notorious fickle weather at the Australian Open.

One day it can be pushing 40 degrees, the next it can be in the 20s. Some days the wind blows, some days it does not.

The opening day saw temperatures reach mid 30 degrees Celsius and quite often the elements can play a significant part in the outcome of a match, something Murray is acutely aware of.

"You have to be prepared for the different changes in conditions," the 21-year-old said.

"Some days it can be very windy, some days it can be very hot and the next day can be pretty cool.

"It changes the speed of the court as well so you need to adapt your game a little as well depending on the weather.

"But that's something with experience I think you get better at."

Murray has been in Melbourne since the middle of January in order to get himself acclimatised to the weather and the speed of the courts.

"When it's hot the ball does come up very, very high. The last couple of days when I've been practising (last week) it's been a bit lower and the balls get much fluffier and heavier and it slows the court down a little bit as well," he explained.

Murray arrived in Australia with a good off-season preparation behind him.

During his time in Miami not only was there the obligatory strength and conditioning work but also track work and an eating frenzy that saw him consuming 6,000 calories a day in an effort to bulk up his frame.

The preparations so far have borne fruit with victories in Abu Dhabi and Doha already under his belt - and a couple of notable scalps in the form Nadal and Federer.

It has led to the British number one being tipped as a favourite, alongside Federer, for the Australian Open title.

Murray is of the firm belief only those who have forgone the usual Christmas over-indulgence will stand a chance.

He said: "You need to come in having a good off-season and being physically prepared.

"If you've taken too much time off and maybe not trained in a warm climate in December it's tough to play the five-set matches very well."

He also believes his stop-off in Doha, rather than playing at one of the Australian warm-up tournaments, could pay dividends.

"It's obviously a very long way to come over here (from Britain).

"I spent the whole of December in Miami and then went back home.

"Playing in Doha breaks that up a little bit. The jet-lag has not been too bad to get over because of that.

"I'll also have been here (in Melbourne) a week. My first match is on Tuesday and I arrived last Tuesday morning so I'm hoping that is going to be enough time to acclimatise."