'Relaxed' Murray plans less frenetic schedule

Not much can ease the disappointment of losing a Grand Slam final, but as Andy Murray reflected on his defeat to Roger Federer at the Australian Open the updated world ranking list provided hard evidence of his progress.

Murray is back up to No 3, just 510 ranking points behind Novak Djokovic, the new No 2, with Rafael Nadal out of the world's top three for the first time in five years and nursing another knee injury that will keep him out of action for at least four weeks.

Federer, of course, is on another planet, more than 3,000 points away, but on current form there is no one closer to the Swiss than Murray, who believes that with each passing year he is learning how better to manage his assault on the major honours. "You get to an age when you start to enjoy it more," Murray said. "I don't feel I have to play every week, so I can spend more time at home and pick my schedule a lot better. I'm more relaxed than I was 18 months or two years ago."

Murray is planning to play less this year. He is scheduled to compete in Marseilles and Dubai this month, will go to Indian Wells and Miami in March and will then give himself time to practise on clay.

"I want to make sure that I don't overplay too much at the start of the year because the clay-court season and into Wimbledon is very busy," he added. "Monte Carlo is not on the schedule for me if things go well in Miami. I want to make sure I have a couple of weeks getting ready before I play my first tournament on clay. Last year I had only four or five days and I need to learn a lot of things and go over to Barcelona and work with Miles [Maclagan] and Alex [Corretja] for a bit."

After his best Australian Open, Murray said that he would again come Down Under early next year. "I don't know what tournaments I'll play in the lead-up, but it does make a big difference coming here earlier, getting used to the conditions, getting over the jet lag. I felt a lot better going into the tournament this year.

"I only dropped one set going into the final and beat some really tough players on the way, so it's been great, I've enjoyed my time over here. It was just a shame the final didn't go my way."

Murray said there were areas of his game he would try to improve. "There is obviously stuff I need to work on and get better at, but I lost to the best player of all time so there's not too much that can get loads better in my game. I can improve on a few things. I'll keep working on my serve and physically I can still get better. I would have liked to have played better further up the court in the service box. I missed a few volleys I shouldn't have done."

As for his chances of winning his first Grand Slam title, Murray said he expected the challenge to be equally tough for a while yet. "At Wimbledon Roger is still going to be favourite for the next few years, while on the clay Rafa is still the best player when he's fit. On the hard courts Roger plays great, but there are guys who can win against him if they play their best.

"But if he is fit and motivated and his body holds up, which is the most important thing, then he can go on. Look at someone like Lleyton Hewitt, who has just had hip surgery. Roger has never had surgery. He's kept himself in good shape and there's no reason he can't play for another four or five years."

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.

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas