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Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Murray sees room for improvement

MASTERS CUP, Shanghai:
Dates: 9-16 November Starts: 0600 GMT daily Coverage: Live on Sky Sports; live text commentaries on BBC Sport website; coverage on Radio 5 Live

Andy Murray
Murray ran out of steam against David Nalbandian in Paris

British number one Andy Murray insists he must improve away from hard courts to consistently challenge the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"If I want to compete with them for the whole year I need to improve on clay and grass," the Scot told BBC Sport.

"They're much better tennis players than me on those surfaces."

The frank admission from the 21-year-old comes towards the end of a season in which he has risen to number four in the world rankings.

Murray heads into the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai, which begins on Sunday, on the back of a quarter-final defeat at the Paris Masters by David Nalbandian, but his season on hard courts has seen unprecedented success.

He secured back-to-back Masters Series titles in Cincinnati and Madrid, and successfully defended his St Petersburg title.

And Murray beat world number one Nadal in the semi-finals of the US Open before world number two Federer defeated him in his first Grand Slam final.

He's now using his energy more positively and he doesn't allow the negative energy to get in the way as much

McEnroe on Murray

"The last few months for me have been great," he said.

"On hard courts I feel like my consistency has been very good and I've been able to play well in the best tournaments."

Murray will make his debut in next week's season-ending event for the world's top eight players and will have to get used to the opening round-robin format.

"I want to try and keep my form going - I've played really well of late.

"Whether or not I can win the whole thing is a different story but it will be a really good experience and maybe I can win the tournament, I don't know.

"Normally on the tour it's a straight knockout and you have to win three or four rounds before you play against the Federers, Nadals and Djokovics.

"Here, if you want to win it you've got to win at least four out of five matches against those guys and you have to be very switched on right from the start.

606: DEBATE
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"I'm not used to it - it's going to be a new experience for a lot of the guys and I have to play some of my best tennis to win some mtches."

Three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe believes Murray's improved physical fitness has been the key to his improvement.

"Conditioning has been a big thing for Andy," said the American, who is preparing for the BlackRock Masters, which begin at London's Royal Albert Hall on 2 December.

"He's in better shape and that allows him to believe in himself for longer.

"The second big change is that's he's now using his energy more positively and he doesn't allow the negative energy to get in the way as much.

"He keeps his focus more now and it's pretty obvious that if he can utilise those two things you get to see what he's capable of."

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