Andy Murray believes that he is ready to exact Grand Slam revenge on Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open. The Scot fell to the World No. 13 in four sets at the US Open in September, but feels that his body and game are in better shape ahead of the first major of the season.
“Obviously [it is] a tough draw,” Murray said in his pre-tournament press conference on Saturday. “But I also feel I am in a much better place than I was during any of the Slams last year coming into it. I feel well prepared. I feel ready to play a top player early in the event. Whereas last year at times, my game didn’t feel that great and getting a difficult draw didn’t feel great. I feel I am in a better place this time to deal with that.
“I know how I am feeling today compared to when I went into the match at the US Open and I am playing better. I am in a better place physically. I feel well prepared for the event. Obviously the matches I have played against him [before], you would hope you would learn stuff from and take stuff away from it that will help you go into the next one.”
The Scot failed to advance past the third round at the three majors he played last season. However, the former World No. 1 is pleased with the work he has done in the offseason as he aims to earn his first win of the year in Melbourne.
“I have made some changes to my game,” Murray said. “A good period of practice gave me time to work on a few things and improve. I also got a lot of work done away from the court, in the gym.
“In the matches that I have played [this year], my movement was significantly better than what it would have been at this stage last year. When I move well, I tend to play well and it is really important for me. That is probably the thing I am happiest about since I got here. The conditions are playing pretty fast, so when the conditions are quick it is even more important to be light on your feet and move well. I think that has been the biggest improvement.”
Murray is a five-time finalist at the Australian Open, often producing his best at the hard-court major. Melbourne was also the setting for his emotional encounter against Roberto Bautista Agut in 2018. Struggling with a hip injury at the time, Murray’s career looked in danger, with the Scot fearing his match against the Spaniard would be his last.
Five years on and the 35-year-old is focused on the present, though.
“I don’t feel right now is a time for reflection for me,” Murray said. “I am looking to the future, however long I have left, to focus on how I can get the best out of my game and body and achieve the best results possible. I haven’t been doing much reflection on four or five years ago.”