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Andy Murray will be determined to build on his breakthrough year and add to his solitary Grand Slam victory in 2013.
Murray enjoyed an excellent 2012 under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, winning Olympic gold at the London Games before claiming his first major title at the US Open in September. He overcame another mental hurdle when he reached the Wimbledon final.
The British number one has subsequently hailed the impact of his Czech coach. He described the appointment of Lendl as “one of the best decisions” of his career. The admiration is mutual. Lendl has praised Murray’s work ethic and attitude, and expects the Scot to go on and become a multiple Grand Slam champion.
Murray and Lendl have been building towards the new season at a training camp in Miami, their first off-season together. They will be confident of hitting the ground running in 2013.
The world number three will step up his preparations for the new campaign when he features at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi just after Christmas. Should Murray get past Janko Tipsarevic, he will get an early look at the returning Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard is set to play for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in June. His last appearance came in a shock defeat by Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in a result that truly upset the Wimbledon tennis betting odds.
Nadal is the player Murray least enjoys facing. The 25-year-old has beaten Nadal only five times in 18 meetings. While wishing his rival well on his return, part of Murray will be hoping the 11-time Grand Slam champion has lost some of his power and punch.
Murray will, of course, also have to contend with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in 2013. Federer will be determined to prove he still has plenty to offer the sport, while Djokovic will be out to show he has no equal in the men’s game.
Murray has huge respect for both players but does not fear them in the same way he does Nadal. Murray is one of only two current players to have a positive head-to-head record against Federer. He has lost more than he has won against Djokovic but has had the better of the finals they have contested.
The intriguing battles between the top four will continue in 2013. If Murray can get the better of his three major rivals, he will enjoy a hugely successful year.