Murray ready for Grand Slam assault

Andy Murray believes skipping his title defence in Doha this week will better prepare him as he aims to claim his first grand slam title at the Australian Open.

Murray is the two-time defending champion at the Qatari season-opener, however, he has opted to miss the event and fly to Australia early to acclimatise to the conditions Down Under.

The 22-year-old Scot will instead compete at this week's Hopman Cup in Perth - a mixed team event that will see him play alongside rising teenage talent Laura Robson.

The round-robin format of the tournament ensures players will play at least three singles matches, although Murray believes competing in the hot and humid conditions on Australia's west coast will be of most benefit with the first grand slam of the new year just three weeks away.

Temperatures in Perth have risen above the 40 degrees Celsius mark in the past week and Murray, who will arrive in Australia straight from his warm-weather training base in Miami later this week, believes the change in preparation will benefit him.

"I am looking forward to getting to Australia early and making sure I'm over the jet lag and fully ready," Murray told the official tournament programme after he opted to miss Christmas in Scotland for the first time to maintain his preparation.

"What I did before, going to Doha in the first week of the year, you play every match at night and it is cold.

"(In the past) I was coming back from Miami and going to Scotland for a few days over Christmas, so I was spending three or four weeks training in the heat, coming back to Scotland where it's cold, going to Doha where's it's cold and then go to Australia and have five days to get used to the heat again.

"I think this way will work much better."

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, who will partner Sam Stosur as the top-ranked team in Perth, echoed Murray's thoughts that a change of plan could help the Scot's chances breaking his grand slam duck.

"He always plays well in Doha, but I suppose this way he gets used to the conditions here a bit earlier," Hewitt told Press Association Sport.

"It could work for him, Doha's a great tournament to play, but I can understand his thoughts behind it."

The former world number one was, however, less forthcoming about Murray's immediate hopes of lifting the Hopman Cup alongside the 15-year-old Robson.

"In terms of singles Andy Murray is such a quality player," he added.

"But he's playing with a young girl so how they fare in this kind of competition is going to be a little bit up in the air."

Murray and Robson are the third seeds in the eight-team tournament with the winners of the two groups going through to the final on January 9.

Great Britain play bottom seeds Kazakhstan in their first tie at the Burswood Dome on Monday before matches against Germany and Russia.