British No. 1 Andy Murray, the three-time finalist at the Australian Open, will take part in his first professional match of the season on Monday afternoon in the opening round of the Major tournament. With an undefeated record in non-ATP World Tour events this year, Murray will look to unleash that momentum over the fortnight, starting with Yuki Bhambri.
While Murray is yet to take part in a professional tournament this season, he did begin his year at the Mubadala Word Tennis Championships, where he ended up winning the title via walkover. He began his week with a surprisingly close three-set victory over Feliciano Lopez on Thursday afternoon in Abu Dhabi. He then went on to bludgeon top-ranked Spaniard Rafael Nadal in straight sets to reach the final of the exhibition tournament in the UAE.
The Scot, who barley made any mistakes during the match, saved nine break points to defeat the world No. 3 6-2, 6-0 in a little over an hour of competition. This set up a final against Novak Djokovic, who was sadly forced to retire from the tournament ahead of the final. Murray went on to compete at the Hopman Cup in Perth, where he compiled three consecutive victories to remain undefeated in 2015.
Although the sixth seed’s start to the season was highly encouraging, he has a tough route to the title at the Happy Slam, where he is a three-time finalist. However, his opening match is against qualifier Yuki Bhambri, which should be a relatively straightforward affair. Bhambri, the only Indian in the main draw this year, won the Australian Open junior title in 2009 but has suffered with a plague of injuries since then on the professional tour. However, he looked promising this week, as he defeated three higher-ranked players to reach the main draw.
This marks the first time that the three-time Aussie Open finalist Andy Murray and the junior champion Yuki Bhambri cross paths on the professional tour. Given Murray’s promising start, he will likely not need much time to work his way into the second round of the tournament.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Straight Sets