Japan Open: Andy Murray feels new sense of responsibility after grand slam win
Defending champion Andy Murray blew away the cobwebs with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Croatian Ivo Karlovic yesterday in his first match since winning last month’s US Open.
The Scottish Olympic gold medallist said winning his first grand-slam title in New York had forced him to change his objectives and become more “responsible.”
“I was so, I don’t want to say ‘obsessed’ with winning a grand slam, but it was so important to me,” world No 3 Murray said. “Sometimes during the year in certain matches I haven’t done myself justice. I felt after the US Open [I needed to] reset some goals. I was always focusing on the next grand slam rather than every tournament and every match I played.
“Now I feel like I can hopefully concentrate better, take more responsibility for my performances in every tournament throughout the year.”
The Scot said he felt no different having finally won his first grand slam after losing in four finals. “It didn’t feel a whole lot different [stepping on court as a grand slam winner],” said the 25-year-old. “Hopefully, with time, that will come. I think where I will feel it more will be if I’m getting to the latter stages of grand slams. Hopefully I will start feeling more confidence to go on to win.”
Murray had been scheduled to open his Japan Open defence against Gael Monfils but the Frenchman pulled out with a knee injury, to be replaced by lucky loser Karlovic.
The Scot got a workout from the 6ft 10in Karlovic and was forced into a tiebreak in the first set, which he took 9-7 with a superb running forehand pass down the line.
After a quick wardrobe change, Murray patiently waited for his opportunity as Karlovic, beaten in qualifying by Swiss Marco Chiudinelli, blasted 18 aces. Karlovic, facing three match points at 5-4 down, saved two with unplayable serves but Murray pounced on the third, closing out proceedings with a vicious backhand to the Croatian’s body. “It’s always hard the first match after a few weeks off,” said Murray, who had won all his four previous meetings against Karlovic. “I played well when I needed to.” Murray, who was on court for an hour and 38 minutes, will face Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in the second round.
Murray’s Olympics mixed doubles partner Laura Robson was knocked out of the China Open in the second round by Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino. The 18-year-old went into the match as the higher-ranked player, a rarity in her young career, but a late break in a tight first set proved crucial as her 31-year-old opponent triumphed 7-5, 6-3.
Meanwhile, Australian Open organisers have moved to stave off the threat of a strike by leading male players by offering a record prize pot for the opening grand slam event of the 2013 season. There were reports in August suggesting the tournament could be boycotted in a protest by players who believe they should be a given a higher percentage of tournament revenues.
The issue, which was addressed at a players’ meeting in Melbourne ahead of last year’s event, is centred around prize money for those who lose in the early rounds having incurred the costs of making the long journey Down Under.
The total pot in Melbourne in January will be Aus$30 million – £19.3m – which represents a rise of Aus$4m (£2.6m) on the 2012 tournament, making it the richest in tennis history. Prize money for this year’s Wimbledon amounted to £16.06m, while the US Open paid $24,054,000 (£14.9m). “We are proud to announce this major increase in prize money. We have led the world in prize money for these incredible athletes and we want to ensure that the Australian Open continues to make a major contribution to the financial wellbeing of professional tennis players,” Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood said.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west