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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 05:20 GMT
Murray poised for Nadal challenge
Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal
Murray has never played Nadal before
Andy Murray is preparing to take on world number two Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.

Monday's night session in Melbourne begins at 0830 GMT with Maria Sharapova against Vera Zvonareva, and Murray will follow that, probably about 1000 GMT.

"I'm looking forward to challenging one of the best players in the world on a big stage and see how my game matches up against him," said Murray.

Nadal added: "It will be difficult. He is a good player, one of the best."

FOLLOW ANDY MURRAY'S MATCH LIVE ON BBC TWO FROM 1000 GMT. COVERAGE ON BBC INTERACTIVE AND ON THE BBC SPORT WEBSITE (UK users only) FROM 0830 GMT. COVERAGE ALSO ON BBC RADIO FIVE LIVE.

Murray's coach Brad Gilbert says the Briton's serve must be at its best if the 19-year-old is to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Gilbert told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek programme: "If Andy is having to do all the running, then it's going to be a tough night for him.

"The key is how well Andy serves, and how aggressively he can play."

Nadal is someone I look up to and I'd be disappointed if I went out there and played badly

Andy Murray

Murray has yet to lose a set in Melbourne this year, but Nadal represents his toughest test of the year so far.

Gilbert said: "Andy's never played him before, never even had a hit with him. So he's just got to go out there and feel his way around the other guy's game.

"Tennis is simplistic. You don't beat 127 other guys - all you do is beat one guy every other day.

"But he has an opportunity - and it's a good way to gauge how you're playing against the number two in the world."

While Nadal will head into the match as a marginal favourite, the Spaniard admits he is wary of his 19-year-old opponent.

606 DEBATE: How will Murray do?

"I have more chances to lose than to win... because he's a very good player," said the French Open champion.

"He has a chance to beat me and go to the final and win the tournament because he is a very good player."

Murray has made no secret of his long-held ambition for a showdown with Nadal, who at 20 is just one year his senior.

The Scot mixed with the Spaniard on the junior circuit but Nadal turned professional in 2001, four years before Murray.

Brad Gilbert
Gilbert knows Murray has to be aggressive against Nadal

"We've known each other for six years and he's a nice guy and a great competitor," said Murray.

"He's someone I looked up to and I hope I can play my best game against him - I'd be disappointed if I went out there and played badly.

"I've played Federer, Roddick, Ljubicic, Davydenko, but Nadal is the only one I haven't played. I just want to see what problems I can cause him."

Murray reached the fourth round with a straight-sets win over Juan Ignacio Chela, who had knocked him out in the first round of last year's tournament.

That win buoyed the British number one and he believes he and Gilbert have devised a good plan to challenge Nadal too.

"You need to play solidly against Nadal and take your chances against him," said Murray.

"Brad has been on the tour for such a long time that he pretty much knows all of the players' games and so when I go on court my gameplan is pretty much always spot on.

"I have a good gameplan and I hope it pays off."


SEE ALSO
Murray through with scrappy win
18 Jan 07 |  Tennis


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