Andy Murray begins his hunt for a first Australian Open title on Monday when he takes on the Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko. It marks Murray’s first slam match as the World No. 1 after confirming it at last year’s World Tour Finals.
Murray warmed up for the event by playing in Doha, making the final where he lost to Novak Djokovic in three sets. Despite the loss, Murray was fairly pleased with his winter preparation between his training and the event in Qatar. “Doha went well. I played some good stuff, especially at the end of the event.”
With Roger Federer taking the night session on Day 1 for the men, Murray is left with the afternoon slot on Rod Laver Arena. It is far from ideal for him but it will provide extra incentive to quickly see off an opponent that he should expect to defeat quickly anyway.
While in terms of the draw the difference between No.1 and No.2 is minimal, there will be markedly more pressure on Murray to perform like the best player home and win his first Australian Open title. “I think I have a chance to win here. Obviously nothing’s guaranteed. But, yeah, why not? I’m playing well.” said Murray.
He has lost five finals in Melbourne already but Djokovic’s last 6 months has showed the Serbian’s vulnerability in a way that hasn’t been seen since he first hit the top spot.
Murray and Marchenko did meet once already in 2011 at this event. Murray won comfortably in three sets and will hope to find it as easy this time round as he did in the 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory that time round. The winner of the Yen Hsun Lu and Andrew Rublev first round match will have a show court outing to look forward to unless something disastrous happens.
Andy Murray to win in straight sets