Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Murray: I'm a Complete Player Now

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Murray: I'm a Complete Player Now

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Stainforth

Andy Murray believes a stronger first service, improved fitness and greater experience, make him much better equipped for Australian Open success than he was last year.

The British number one handled the searing Melbourne heat and Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to secure a 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 6-4 win and set up a third-round meeting with Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela tomorrow.

And the 19-year-old Scot, who has yet to lose a set, insists he has made great strides since bowing out in the opening round of last year's tournament.

"I wasn't very good a year ago," said Murray. "I was ranked 65 and didn't have a lot of experience."

Murray, who is the 15th seed in Melbourne, believes he now has the strength and nerve to get him through difficult conditions and tight situations.

"Last year maybe I wouldn't have broken him when he served for the first set," he mused. "When I went 15-40 down at 6-5, when I was serving for the second set I might not have come back from those situations. This year I think my experience is obviously much, much greater."

Murray is aware that much greater challenges lie ahead, starting with Chela ( who knocked him out of the Australian Open last year ( but is generally pleased with his form.

Murray beat Chela, who overcame number 178 seed Jarkko Nieminen 3-6 6-2 4-6 4-6 yesterday ( during their last meeting but believes it will be much tougher this time, especially given the Argentinian's showing in Melbourne last year.

"I'm looking forward to it," insisted Murray. "It's going to be a tough match. He plays really well on these courts. It's going to be really difficult, but I feel like I'm much better than I was last year. I'm in better shape than I was. As I said, I've got more experience."

Rafael Nadal advanced in four sets and James Blake maintained his sizzling to start to the year in yesterday's correct other second round matches. …

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