Murray shrugs off Federer defeat at end of year with plenty to cheer

After breakthrough season, British No 1 will skip awards parties to attend boot camp in preparation for 2013

It was not how he had wanted to finish the greatest season of his career, but there were plenty of consolations for Andy Murray as he looked to the past and the future following his defeat at the O2 by Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Not the least of them is that he can finally put his rackets away after 11 months of toil and take his first holiday for two years. Such is Murray's dedication, nevertheless, that he is already thinking ahead to his preparations for next year.

While many leading sportsmen and women will be living it up during next month's awards season, Murray will be in Miami, subjecting himself to the hardships of his annual "boot camp", where he puts in all the work that will help him deal with the physical rigours of the year ahead. If that means missing jollies like the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year awards – where he will be one of the favourites to be honoured – then so be it.

"That period of the year for me is so, so important," Murray said. "For all of the players it's the same because we don't have breaks in the year like other sports do for two or three months at a time. Now I will have a week off to rest and go on holiday and then we need to start training again.

"The first tournaments of the year are in one of the hottest places you can play in the middle of the Australian summer. If I were to get tired in the fifth set of the final of the Australian Open and struggle physically for the last 10 or 15 minutes, missing those three days of training [to attend the awards] could make that little bit of difference. That's the reason why I probably won't be going."

Although Murray has not won a tournament since the US Open and was particularly disappointed to fall at the penultimate hurdle of the season-ending championships, which had been his main goal in the last two months, his autumn campaign has been similar to those of all the recent New York champions.

The last five US Open winners – Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Murray – have won just two comparatively minor tournaments between them (Federer won Basle in 2008 and Nadal won Tokyo in 2010) in the remaining weeks of the season after their Flushing Meadows triumphs. Murray, indeed, came as close as any to lifting one of the bigger trophies but failed to convert any of his five match points against Djokovic in last month's Shanghai Masters final.

Get Adobe Flash player

Murray knows where he needs to improve next year. "I think consistency – the first tournament of the year through until the last – is the next thing," he said. "My clay-court game needs to get better. I need to make some changes to the way I prepare for that part of the season.

"When I've played good tennis this season, I've had very good results. There have just been a few too many times, especially at the beginning of the year, where my intensity was not where it needed to be – and my focus in a couple of tournaments. I think because I had never won a Grand Slam, every time I lost in a Slam I was almost looking straight away to the next one and not focusing on everything going on in between."

That will no doubt be a subject of discussion when Murray links up again next month with his coach, Ivan Lendl, whose presence this year has been a major factor in his success. "He's obviously helped me a lot," Murray said. "I think it was a step that I needed to take. It was very important to me and helped me get over that final hurdle."

In terms of his on-court game, Murray believes his more aggressive style has been crucial this year, even if it did not come off against Federer on Sunday. "I was going for my shots," Murray said. "In the second set I didn't hit the ball great, but I was still trying to make things happen, still trying to go for my shots rather than letting him dictate every single point, which sometimes in the past I had done.

"I think that's what I have to be most pleased with because when I had opportunities in big matches this year, I did try and take them. I went for it. I still need to learn sometimes a little bit when that's off and I'm not hitting it as well, to rein it in a little bit. That's something that will come with time."

A year to remember: Andy Murray's 2012

January Wins first tournament of year in Brisbane after hiring Ivan Lendl as coach. Loses five-setter to eventual winner Novak Djokovic in Australian Open semi-finals.

February First player in 2012 to beat Djokovic before losing in Dubai final to Roger Federer.

March Loses to Djokovic in Miami Masters final.

June Loses in last eight of French Open to David Ferrer.

July First British man for 74 years to reach Wimbledon singles final but loses in four sets to Federer.

August Beats Djokovic and Federer to claim Britain's first Olympic gold medal in tennis for 104 years. Also claims mixed doubles silver with Laura Robson.

September Ends Britain's 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam singles champion at US Open against Djokovic. Climbs to No 3 in world rankings.

October Loses to Djokovic in Shanghai Masters.

November Loses to Federer in semi-finals at ATP World Tour Finals.

Suggested Topics
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
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.

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits