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Andy Murray column

ATP World Tour Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 21-28 November
Coverage: One match each day live on BBC TV, streamed online & available through iPlayer; text commentary online and on mobiles for every singles match via BBC Sport website; every singles match live on 5live sports extra.

Andy Murray
Murray took just 80 minutes to win his opening match at the O2

By Andy Murray
World number five and British number one

ATP World Tour Finals Group B:
Andy Murray beat Robin Soderling 6-2 6-4

This is a huge tournament and I was surprised that I didn't actually feel that nervous for my opening match, but everyone could see that I was really excited at the end - it was a big win against a top player.

Normally I prefer to feel nervous before a match - it means you're really pumped up - but I felt calm this time and I think that showed on the court.

I wasn't really getting down at all and I was thinking clearly the whole match. I knew I had to play smart tennis and I did that.

The game plan worked, but I've got Roger Federer next so I know it will be another tough one

Coming on court at the O2 is more like the start of a concert than a tennis match and it was so loud, but I was able to focus, which I needed to do because Robin's ranked higher than me and a great player.

The game plan worked, but I've got Roger Federer next so I know it will be another tough one.

It's obviously great any time you get to play in front of home support, it makes such a big difference, and it's nice getting the chance to stay in central London for a change. I used to live in Wandsworth, so I spent a bit more time here back then, but now it's just for the odd dinner or meeting.

This week I'm in the hotel with the other players so I'll go out for some sushi tonight - there's only me, my hitting partner Dani and coach Alex staying in the hotel because my physio and my fitness trainer are coming in from home every day.

You'd think some of the other players might ask me for a few recommendations but they haven't yet, although to be honest they all stay close to the centre of London during Wimbledon and Queen's and find restaurants that they like, so they'll just keep going there.

On Monday, I'll try and keep things as light as possible and have a bit of a lie-in before hitting at 2pm.

The news that the ATP have agreed a seven-week off-season from 2012 is great

I hit with Andy Roddick the other day and the top guys tend to practise together quite often during the year, because it's easier to get a full court if you sign up with one of the higher-ranked players.

At some of the tournaments there aren't a lot of practice courts so I hit with Rafa Nadal quite a lot, and Novak Djokovic at most tournaments.

I'm definitely very lucky to have such a big tournament on home ground - it's a lot nicer being around friends and family.

When it was in China, before London, it was obviously still a huge event, but it's a long way to go at the end of a tough season.

The news that the ATP have agreed a seven-week off-season from 2012 is great. I'm sure all the players will be happy with it.

We've been trying for quite a few years to make it clear that it's too short an off-season. I'm hoping this will make a difference.

Sometimes if you need surgery or to rest an injury, right now you end up playing through it because there's no time to take off before you start training again, whereas with seven weeks you can take a break at the end of the year and that should help the longevity of everyone's careers.

As things stand now, after I finish here it will be a week, maybe 10 days, and then I'm straight back into training again and off to Australia for the new year.

You need to make sure you take breaks during the year now and prioritise your tournaments, otherwise you're going to be exhausted after six or seven months.

Fortunately, I'm feeling good right now and not thinking beyond Tuesday and, hopefully, another win.

Andy Murray was talking to Piers Newbery and will be contributing regular columns throughout the ATP World Tour Finals

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see also
Murray downs Soderling in opener
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
ATP World Tour Finals photos
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray v Soderling - as it happened
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray focused on winning start
19 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Andy Murray column
04 Sep 10 |  Tennis

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