Federer Doesnt Scare Me Now, Roars Red-Hot Murray; Eyes on the Prize: Andy Murray, after Losing Last Years US Open Final to Roger Federer, Could Soon Be a Grand Slam Champion Himself

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Byline: Marco Giacomelli

Andy Murray insisted today he is no longer fright-ened of playing Roger Federer and is relishing being favourite for the Australian Open Murray could not have sounded more ice cool after practising in 37 degree heat in Melbourne, where he begins his bid for a first grand slam title next week And while Federer is surprised book-makers rate the 21-year-old above world No1 Rafael Nadal and reigning champion Novak Djokovic, Murray is not daunted by the expectation.

Im going to enjoy being one of the favourites and give it my best, said the British No1. It doesnt make any difference whether people expect you to win or not. It doesnt change my mentality.

You get used to being expected to win matches when you play at Wimbledon. The pressure that comes with that gets you used to these situations.

The older you get, the more matches you play, you realise what the bookies are saying doesnt make any difference once you get on court, whether they are saying good things or bad things. You just get on with your job.

Murray has done that spectacularly so far this year, having won all of his eight matches, including beating Nadal once and Federer twice.

In fact, he has beaten Federer five times in their seven career meetings, his only defeats coming in their first meeting at Bangkok in 2005 and in the US Open Final last year.

Murray, two places behind the world No2 in the rankings, said: The more you play against Roger the less fearful you are, youre not scared to win the match. If youre young and you play against the top guys, once you get close to winning you get nervous. Now when I play him I dont get nervous and if I play my best tennis I can beat him.

Retaining his Qatar Open title last week was the perfect preparation for Murray as he bids to become the first British man to win a grand slam singles title since Fred Perry back in 1936. …