Andy Murray delighted by breakthrough year, but Scot says he’s still learning

Andy Murray has enjoyed his best year to date. Picture: Gett
Andy Murray has enjoyed his best year to date. Picture: Gett
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Positivity was the watchword for Andy Murray as he reflected on a year that has changed his life forever.

Whatever the 25-year-old goes on to achieve in his career, the big question that has dogged him since his teens of whether he would win a grand slam title has been answered in the affirmative thanks to his unforgettable fives-set US Open final victory over Novak Djokovic.

And there was also the not inconsiderable bonus of an Olympic gold medal won in emphatic style on Wimbledon’s Centre Court against Roger Federer.

There will be no final flourish to the season for Murray after he was beaten 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 by Federer in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London on Sunday night, but the match left the Scot happy with the progress he has made in his game.

He said: “I was going for my shots. In the second set, I didn’t hit the ball great, but I was still trying to make things happen, still trying to go for my shots rather than letting him dictate every single point, which sometimes in the past I had done. I think that’s what I have to be most pleased with because when I had opportunities in big matches this year, I did try and take them. I went for it.

“I still need to learn sometimes when that’s off and I’m not hitting it as well to rein it in a little bit. That’s something that will come with time.

“But that would be the thing I’m most pleased with, that I’ve been trying to go out there and win matches rather than waiting for my opponent to lose them.”

Since that momentous Monday in New York it has been a case of nearly but not quite for Murray, who has not won a regular ATP Tour title since the first week of the season in Brisbane.

The closest he came to adding to that was at the Shanghai Masters last month, when he held five match points in the final against Novak Djokovic but could not take them.

He also had match points in his Tokyo semi-final against Milos Raonic and at the Paris Masters against Jerzy Janowicz only to lose both matches, while yesterday he started very well but tailed off in the second set.

Murray said: “It could have been a little bit different if a few points had gone the other way. I lost with match points in Tokyo. Then the match with Novak was an incredibly close match. I had a few match points there.

“Then also in Paris and here, against Novak (in the group stages), again it was a very tight match, just a couple of points.

“So I don’t think the results have been that bad or that I played poorly or not responded well to winning the US Open. I feel like I played some decent tennis. I’ve just not quite finished a couple of matches when I had chances.

“I obviously would have liked to have won those and had one or two other wins over Novak. But if you told me last year I’d be sitting in this position with the results I had last year, I would have agreed and signed up for that straight away. I’m happy with the year and I’ll work really hard in December to get better.”

With the season finishing two weeks earlier than in previous years, Murray has the chance for a proper holiday before beginning pre-season training in Miami in December.

He usually spends Christmas in Florida but will come home this year before beginning his 2013 season at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, which is also scheduled to stage the return of Rafael Nadal after six months out injured.

In the United States, Murray will meet up again with coach Ivan Lendl, who has been such a central figure in his progress this year, and the Scot has no doubt hiring the eight-time grand slam champion is one of the best decisions he has made in his career.

Murray said: “There have been a lot of decisions made, off-the-court decisions that are very important to your career, also decisions when you’re out there playing matches as well.

“Moving over to Spain when I was younger was a very hard decision to make, and that would be up there with this one.

“But, since I’ve been on the tour, I think it was a step that I needed to take and was very important to me and helped me get over that final hurdle.”