Murray to master art of peak performance

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The Independent Online

He will fulfil a commitment to play an exhibition in Aberdeen in three weeks' time, but for most of this month Andy Murray's rackets will stay firmly in their bag.

The 19-year-old Scot's season ended here on Thursday night when he was beaten 7-6, 6-0 by Dominik Hrbaty in the third round of the Paris Masters. When asked if he was looking forward to an eight-week spell away from competitive tennis - he begins his preparations for the Australian Open by playing in Doha at the turn of the year - Murray's eyes lit up. "I can't wait," he said.

Not that the British No 1 will while away the next two months sunning himself on a tropical beach. After playing in the Aberdeen Cup - and fitting in some driving lessons during the short spell back in his homeland - Murray will spend up to four weeks in the United States working on his game with Brad Gilbert, his coach, and on his fitness. In the meantime, he is thinking of taking his first holiday for six years, though the rackets are likely to accompany him on the plane.

"I'll see what Brad wants me to do," Murray said. "I obviously want to take a break. I prefer hitting for 30 minutes once every three days just to keep my eye in, even if I'm not really moving. I wouldn't mind taking a holiday somewhere, relaxing, getting in the sun, just having a bit of time to myself."

Murray admits he feels tired after 10 months of globetrotting and wants to plan his timetable more carefully in future. "I'm going to know how to schedule my tournaments better and when and how to peak for the important ones, which maybe I didn't know how to do this year," he said.

Murray is also looking for consistency. He has climbed to No 19 in the world from No 65 at the start of the year, won his first tournament, reached the last 16 at Wimbledon and the US Open and defeated Roger Federer - but he has also lost at the first hurdle in 10 of the 26 tournaments he has played.

"I feel like the shots are there, the game is there," he said. "I think I've shown that by the players I've beaten this year. It's just the consistency that needs to get a little better."

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