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Murray ready for Grand Slam glory

Andy Murray in Shanghai
Murray is looking to better his 2008 achievements in the coming year

Andy Murray says he feels closer to breaking his Grand Slam duck after a successful 2008 campaign.

The world number four has enjoyed his most rewarding season so far, winning five ATP championships and reaching the US Open final in September.

"I feel like I'm much closer to winning a Grand Slam now than I was," the 21-year-old Scot told BBC Sport.

"I always dreamt of winning one, but you don't believe it until you get very close, like I did in the US Open."

Murray was beaten by Roger Federer at Flushing Meadows in what was his first Grand Slam final.

His run to that New York showpiece was sandwiched between ATP Masters title victories in Cincinnati and Madrid that moved the Dunblane-born player through the rankings.

And, despite falling to an outstanding Federer performance in the Arthur Ashe stadium, the run to that final has given the British number one hope that he can go one better next time.

"That gave me the confidence to go on the run that I have," he said.

"It's made me much more motivated to work hard this off-season to give me the best chance of doing it next year.

"I think it's do-able, but it's going to be very hard - there's no getting away from that - but I think that I've got a chance of doing it.

"I'll be giving it my best shot."

As Murray looked back on his most productive year, he was keen to point out that the main reason for his success has been the change in coaching regime.

The Scot parted company with American coach Brad Gilbert last November, preferring a training team of fitness experts Jez Green, Matt Little and former Davis Cup player Miles MacLagan.

"The physical side has been the most important thing and, from that, my serve's been more consistent, my ground strokes have been a little bit harder and I've been able to last longer in matches," he said.

Andy Murray & Roger Federer
Murray was second best in New York to Federer

"I worked so hard on these aspects last December, and I'll work hard on it again this December.

"Because of that - mentally - I got a bit stronger and, with the pain I went through, it made playing a tennis match much easier."

Despite a fruitful 12 months, Murray's performance at this year's Olympic Games is a regret.

After his surprise first round exit at the hands of Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun, he admitted to being "unprofessional" in the build-up to his trip to Beijing.

But Murray has vowed to make up for it, starting with London in 2012.

"I wish I'd played much, much better at the Olympics," he accepted.

"I was very disappointed and everyone around me could see by the way that I was afterwards that I wanted to play better.

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"I was disappointed with myself, but I came straight from Cincinnati, whereas most of the other athletes had been in China for a few weeks and had time to get adjusted to the conditions.

"I wish I'd had that time - unfortunately I didn't - and I'll make sure I prepare for the Olympics better next time. I realise how big a deal it was."

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see also
Murray's magical year
16 Nov 08 |  Tennis


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