Andy Murray is taking a different approach in his build-up to the season-opening grand slam as he bids to finally better five runner-up finishes at the Australian Open.
The world No 1 is preparing for the tournament at Melbourne Park, which gets underway on January 16, by competing in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi rather than the mixed team round robin format of the Hopman Cup in Perth which he has favoured for the last two years.
Murray, who plays his first match at the Abu Dhabi event yesterday, said he would be going into the Australian Open with confidence after a strong finish to last season.
“I’ve played really well there in the past and it hasn’t happened for me so I’ll need to do something a little bit different this year,” Murray said.
“I love the conditions there and I enjoy the tournament a lot, and I’ll be going in hopefully playing well and with a lot of confidence because of the way I finished 2016, so I’ll give it a good go this year.”
The 29-year-old won nine titles in 2016, including Wimbledon and his second Olympic gold medal in Rio. He also overcame Novak Djokovic, who has beaten him in four Australian Open finals, in the ATP World Tour Finals to take top spot in the rankings.
However, the Scot admitted that the 24-match winning run that helped him land his last five tournaments of the season took its toll.
“Getting to No 1, it took me basically the whole year, right down to the last tournament, the last match of the year to finish No 1, so that was really, really hard and it took a lot out of me physically and mentally,” Murray said.
“I was really, really tired, more tired than I’ve been at the end of any season that I’d finished before.”