US Open 2013: Andy Murray the celebrity in need of star performance

Draw relatively kind for Scot but he must handle the pressures of being defending champion

New York

Andy Murray has always looked more comfortable with a racket rather than a microphone in his hand, but the 26-year-old Briton has been given regular reminders of his celebrity status since arriving here last week to prepare for the defence of his US Open title.

While Murray has always been popular with American crowds, his profile rose significantly when he won his maiden title here last year then moved up another notch with his Wimbledon triumph last month. When the draw was made for next week's tournament, which begins on Monday, Murray was given pride of place on stage alongside Serena Williams, the defending women's champion, and took everything in his stride, even when asked whether he was bigger news back home than Prince George. "I think the future king is slightly bigger," Murray said with a smile.

One reason for Murray to have looked happy would have been his draw. Although the latter stages promise to be tough if he lives up to his seeding, the world No 3 does not appear to have any banana skins in his path until the quarter-finals.

After a first-round meeting with Michael Llodra, whom he beat here in 2008, Murray is likely to face Victor Hanescu, Juan Monaco and Nicolas Almagro before a last-eight showdown with Tomas Berdych, whose big-hitting game has given him trouble.

Thereafter Murray would probably have to beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the world's top-two ranked players, if he is to claim his third Grand Slam title. Djokovic, nevertheless, has a tricky draw – he could face Grigor Dimitrov in the third round and Juan Martin del Potro in the last eight – while Nadal might have to beat Roger Federer, who is now down to world No 7, in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard and the Swiss certainly appear to be in the easier half of the draw, though the recent experience at a shock-laden Wimbledon showed how dangerous it can be to take too much for granted.

Murray was not in the best of form in his two tournaments following Wimbledon, but his results were no worse than in the equivalent events last year. Besides, he has been having to cope with his new status as Wimbledon champion. "The first week or so after [I won Wimbledon] it didn't quite feel real," Murray said. "It was something I'd been working towards for a long time. There had been a lot of pressure on me to do that – not just on me but on generations beforehand with Tim Henman as well.

"I've enjoyed my tennis the last few weeks, but now it's time for business. This is a huge tournament for me. I came here the first time when I was 15, I played my first Grand Slam final here, my first Grand Slam win was here and I won the juniors here when I was 17. So I love this tournament and I'll try and have a good run."

Murray, who will be defending a Grand Slam title for the first time next week, agreed the build-up to next week's tournament had been different to previous years.

"It's a new experience for me," he said. "I've never had to deal with that before. This week's been a little bit busier and there have been a few more demands on my time, but I'm looking forward to it.

"I just want the tournament to get started now. I've been here since Friday night so I've been practising the last few days and I'm looking forward to getting back on court.'

He added: "I came to the US Open last year never having won a Grand Slam. I didn't know if I was ever going to win one because people would say to me and the players would say in the press: 'He's good enough to win a Grand Slam. He's going to win one'.

"But the more finals you lose in, the more you start to doubt yourself and think: 'Is it ever going to happen?' So getting that weight off my shoulders at the US Open was huge. Winning Olympic gold at a home Olympics was a very proud moment for me – not many people get the opportunity to do that – and then Wimbledon was obviously very, very special for a number of reasons."

Murray's march: Route to final

First round

Michael Llodra (Fr, aged 33, world No 49). Murray has won all three of their meetings.

Second round

Victor Hanescu (Rom, 32, No 54). Rarely troubles top players. Murray has won both their meetings.

Third round

Juan Monaco (Arg, 29, No 31). Two wins apiece, but has slipped in rankings.

Fourth round

Nicolas Almagro (Sp, 28, No 16). Rarely goes far on the biggest stages. Murray has won their last three meetings.

Quarter-finals

Tomas Berdych (Cz, 27, No 5). Murray has won six of 10 meetings, including last week.

Semi-finals

Novak Djokovic (Serbia, 26, No 1). Met Murray in three of the last four Grand Slam finals, winning one, losing two.

Final

Rafael Nadal (Sp, 27, No 2). Has continued remarkable comeback from knee trouble by winning in Montreal and Cincinnati in build-up to New York.

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick