Andy Murray overpowered Ivan Ljubicic at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne yesterday and then declared himself fit and ready to challenge at the Australian Open.
Murray was given the chance to avenge his defeat by the Croat in the final of the Qatar Open last week and took it with a solid 6-4, 6-2 victory. The 19-year-old is competing against seven others - including Andy Roddick and Roger Federer - in the Kooyong exhibition, in which each competitor plays three matches before a final on Saturday.
Murray got off to a fine start and has now set his sights on performing at the Grand Slam.
"I think I've learnt to deal with things better, and I'm much stronger, not just physically but mentally as well," Murray said. "I don't let things get to me as much. And also with the work that I've been doing off court, I just feel like I'm much more balanced on the court. I'm not getting overpowered by guys that are much bigger than me.
"I think that I was still a kid last year, I was a bit immature on the court. Now I'm starting to grow up a little bit. So I feel much better than I did this time last year. I think with a few more days' practice and some matches in this heat, I'm going to be playing well going into the Australian Open."
The former world No 1 Venus Williams has pulled out of the Australian Open with a left wrist injury. She said: "I regret that I will not participate in the Australian Open, but I am very excited about competing in the upcoming year."
In Hobart, her sister, Serena, lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to Austria's Sybille Bammer in the quarter-finals of the Hobart International tournament, ending a winning run after a four-month injury layoff. The tournament was her first since the US Open in September. She has been out since then with knee and ankle injuries.Reuse content