Andy Murray reflects on Australian Open heartbreaks as he prepares to return Down Under

Andy Murray says he's in the 'bad books' after losing ring

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Andy Murray will finally return Down Under on Monday with a “clear mind” – and the nagging belief he should have already won the Australian Open title. The Scot, 34, was publicly retired after losing his first round match in 2019 before undergoing a second successful hip surgery.

Murray then missed the first Grand Slam of the season in 2020 with a pelvic injury and then missed out this year after contracting Covid-19.

But the double Wimbledon champion has been handed a wildcard to play at Melbourne Park next month after a year of working his way back to match fitness – and in recognition of his fine record Down Under.

He reached five Melbourne finals but lost first to Roger Federer and then four times to Novak Djokovic.

And before his scheduled departure to Australia, the world No.134 said: “I have always loved it there. Obviously I would have loved to have won one of my finals there. But I played four finals against Novak there and he has won nine. I also lost to him in the semi-finals which was a brutal match.

“I lost to Roger once in the quarter-finals and once to him in the final. There is no shame having lost to these guys, what they have gone on to achieve, the greatest players who have ever played the game in those matches.

“I feel I deserve maybe to have an Australian Open but I never got it done in the big matches there. I got close and was in good positions a couple of times but couldn’t convert it. That is something obviously I have to deal with. My memories about Australia and how I feel about the place, I love it there and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”

Murray, who turns 35 in May, won only 15 matches in 14 ATP events in 2021 – and never won three in a row.

But he beat Dan Evans and Rafa Nadal in a recent exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi – and then declared he was seeking one final “fairytale scenario” of a deep run in a Grand Slam.

“In Abu Dhabi, there were certain things I am doing as well as I was back in 2016,” Murray said. “There are a few things that weren’t as good. Some of the things I can improve and fix.

“My movements isn’t as quick as it was back then. I am not expecting it to be as it was in 2016. That is how I view it. I know what it takes in terms of the dedication and work to get there. That is not easy now. I have restrictions in certain things I can do training-wise. Also mixing the family life is hard at times. But I know what it takes to get up there.

“In some of the matches I played at the end of the year, like in Stockholm for example, I made a lot of good decisions in the match against Sinner there. I didn’t do that in the months before that. Now I am a lot clearer in my mind about the way I want to play and the way I will go about my matches in the next year.

“Decision-making comes from having a clear mind and clarity about the way you want to play. Right now I am quite sure on that. 

“I believe that will help in the important moments. I believe that that is something I was strong at in my career, making good decisions in important moments, I played well in big points, raised my game in those moments.

“Providing I am clear on how I want to play, I will be able to do that again.”

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