Murray insists becoming world No 1 can wait

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The Independent Online

Winning a grand slam is top of Andy Murray's priority list this year, being number one in the world can wait.

Murray has yet to win one of tennis' major championships. The closest he has come is runner-up to Roger Federer in last year's US Open.



But the 21-year-old Scot has entered the Australian Open with high hopes of breaking his duck, and giving British tennis fans something to talk about other than Fred Perry's last successes in 1936.



Murray has been in hot form in the build-up to the first grand slam of the year in Melbourne, defeating Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer (twice) and Andy Roddick as he secured wins in Abu Dhabi and Doha.



Add in the five ATP titles he won last year and there is little surprise people are starting to talk about grand slams and number one rankings.



"I'd obviously love to be number one. I'm sure all players would at some point in their career," the world number four said as he prepared for his second-round clash with Marcel Granollers tomorrow (beginning at 9:30am GMT).



"But I'd want to try and win a slam first. I think that's the next step for me."



It will take some doing to oust Nadal from the top spot. Having waited 237 weeks for Federer to falter, it is not a position the Majorcan is going to give up lightly.



But Murray acknowledges it is not beyond the realms of possibility.



"If I play well the first six months of this year, I don't have a whole lot of points to defend, so there's a chance that I'd do it.



"I'm going to have to play (the first half of the year) like I did for the second part of the year last year and try and be very consistent." Interest in the Scot has been high in Melbourne after he was handed the favourite's tag alongside Federer prior to the tournament beginning.



That came as a surprise to Federer and Australian Lleyton Hewitt, while defending champion Novak Djokovic seems also to be unimpressed.



"All the respect to Andy, I like him as a person and as a player. He's done a lot in the last couple months, and he's a very talented player and we can expect him to win some grand slams in the future.



"But you cannot put him as the favourite next to Roger and Rafa and myself here at the Australian Open."



The attention surrounding Murray is something he is used to dealing with each time Wimbledon rolls around, but it is a new experience on the other side of the world.



"Obviously the support I get at Wimbledon is awesome but this is the first time I've been to a grand slam outside of Wimbledon where I've had a lot of media attention."



It doesn't appear to have affected the 21-year-old so far either.



"I doesn't really make a huge difference once you start the tournament," he said.



"I don't think it's a terrible thing (being centre of attention). With people talking about you there comes an extra bit of pressure but sometimes it's good.



"The other players are expecting you to do well, so they maybe go on the court with a bit more respect for you.



"Maybe if they come close to winning sets or matches against you they can get a bit nervous. So I think it works in a few ways."



Murray has seen little action so far in the tournament after his opponent Andrei Pavel retired hurt in their first-round match on Tuesday.



Because he only had a 45-minute work-out on Rod Laver Arena then, Murray planned an extended practice prior to his second-round date with Spaniard Granollers.



The pair have met once before on the ATP Tour, in 2006 where Murray won 4-6 6-4 6-2 on the clay of Barcelona.



Granollers, ranked 51 in the world, comes into this match having taken over three hours in sweltering conditions to beat Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-0, which may work to Murray's advantage.



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