ATP Tour

Murray gearing up for defence

Andy Murray (AFP)
Andy Murray (AFP)

London - Andy Murray has warmed up for the start of his Wimbledon title defence with an emphatic victory over Spain's Tommy Robredo at the Hurlingham Club on Thursday.

Murray's preparations for the grasscourt Grand Slam had suffered a setback when he was surprisingly beaten in the third round at Queen's Club by Czech veteran Radek Stepanek last week, a defeat that ended his 19-match winning run on grass.

But the Scot looked back in the groove as he dispatched world number 22 Robredo 6-2, 7-6 (7/1) in the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic exhibition event.

It was another pre-Wimbledon boost for the 27-year-old, who heard earlier in the week that he will be seeded third in the Grand Slam due to his good record on grass, even though he is currently ranked fifth in the world.

Murray's Wimbledon campaign will get underway on Monday when he walks on to Centre Court as the first British male defending singles champion since Fred Perry.

It is certain to be a pressure-packed fortnight for Murray, especially as his partnership with new coach Amelie Mauresmo will be closely scrutinised.

Frenchwoman Mauresmo was Murray's shock choice to replace Ivan Lendl, initially on a trial basis until the end of the short grasscourt season.

With few other leading men coached by women, Murray's move has raised eyebrows in the tennis world, but the Scot is happy to be able to pick the brains of former Wimbledon winner Mauresmo about the experience of defending the title.

"I chatted to her about it last night when we had dinner," Murray said.

"It's important at the beginning, when you go out and walk onto the court, to try to enjoy that feeling, because it's something I've never experienced before, it will be a proud moment to come back as defending champion.

"It's important to try to enjoy experiences like that, because they don't happen often.

"I don't know how it will feel, I have no idea, I'm sure I'll be nervous and will feel some pressure, but I'll try to enjoy it, it's a new experience for me.

"It's not often that happens now, there aren't many situations I haven't been in, after nine or 10 years on the tour, so that will be nice.

"But then when you start playing the match, you need to treat it like any other tennis match, and get down to business and focus on the tactics and what you need to do to try to come through."

Murray, who also won the Olympic singles gold medal at Wimbledon in 2012, says he is relishing his time with Mauresmo after working without a coach since Lendl quit in March.

"I've really enjoyed working with Amelie so far, I've really enjoyed being on the court with her," he said.

"She understands the game well obviously, she's also been in the position before coming back as defending champion at Wimbledon.

"Queen's didn't really count as a tournament that we spent together because she arrived on Tuesday afternoon and I played my first match on Wednesday, and we practised for 30 minutes.

"From her side, she's just getting to know me, getting to know the guys that I work with, and how we operate.

"Then these last few days we've had time on the court, some peace and quiet to work on some things and to try to get ready for the start of the tournament.

"It's important to enjoy practising and having fun on the court with your coach, and that's been the case in the last four days."

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