Andy Murray has confident message for Australian Open rivals after superb start

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Andy Murray recorded his best Grand Slam win with a metal hip on Tuesday – and then claimed he has the chance to go on a “deep run” at the Australian Open. The former world No 1 beat world No 21 Nikoloz Basilashvili in five sets in his first victory in Melbourne since 2017.

No 8 seed Casper Ruud, who was in the Scot’s section of the draw, pulled out injured while nine-time champion Novak Djokovic is back in Serbia after being deported.

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And three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, who will now face Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in round two, is hoping to go deep into the Australian Open this month.

He said: “Today I was really nervous. I didn’t sleep great last night. I still come here with high expectations of myself.

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“I want that. I don’t want to show up at these tournaments and feel no pressure, or not feel as if I can do well and have a good run. I feel I’m playing well enough to make it tough for a lot of players in the draw.

MUST READ: Nick Kyrgios made Liam Broady feel ‘stupid’ in Brit’s Aus Open loss

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Andy Murray has confident message for Australian Open rivals after superb start
© GETTY Andy Murray has confident message for Australian Open rivals after superb start

“Who knows? With a couple of good wins, things could open up. I saw Casper Ruud withdrew. And with what happened with Novak.

“Those sorts of things can happen at these tournaments nowadays. The consistency of the top guys is not what it was.

“There are going to be opportunities there and hopefully I’ll be able to capitalise on one of them. I will hopefully keep improving. There are things in my game I can definitely do better.

“I would love to have a deep run here, if possible. It is something I have not had in one of the Slams since I came back from injury and it is something that is motivating me.

“I have played some of my best tennis here over the years. I feel comfortable here and I hope I can do it here this tournament.”

Andy Murray has confident message for Australian Open rivals after superb start
© GETTY Andy Murray has confident message for Australian Open rivals after superb start

It is Murray’s best win at Grand Slams in terms of ranking since he beat No 9 Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the 2017 French Open.

He suffered his hip injury losing the semi-final to Stan Wawrinka and had his hip resurfaced in January 2019 after his last appearance at the Australian Open.

Beating Basilashvili is Murray’s best win at Grand Slams in terms of ranking since he beat No 9 Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the 2017 French Open.

He suffered his hip injury losing the semi-final to Stan Wawrinka and had his hip resurfaced in January 2019 after his last appearance at the Australian Open.

Murray, who feared his career was over in 2019, also revealed he is inspired to compete by getting written off on his return.

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Andy Murray has confident message for Australian Open rivals after superb start
© EXPRESS SPORT Andy Murray has confident message for Australian Open rivals after superb start

“It was a very uncertain time and there were very few guarantees I was going to be able to play at a high level with a metal hip,” he added.

“In the past year, 18 months, there have been a number of people saying I wouldn’t be able to compete to win tournaments. Although the results have maybe not been how I wanted, I’ve beaten some bloody good players.

“I’m still out there beating guys who are in the 20s in the world in five sets in slams. I find that motivating.

“A lot of those people, they don’t see what it is you do on a daily basis, they don’t see how much you want to win and just make throwaway comments.

“I do find that motivating and always have. If someone suggests I won’t be able to do something, I use that as motivation.”

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