Florida training pays off for Andy Murray

Andy Murray's Florida training proved invaluable as the British hope handled the heat to progress to the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Updated: January 17, 2012 17:10 IST
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Melbourne: Andy Murray's Florida training proved invaluable as the British hope handled the heat to progress to the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The world number four, with new coach Ivan Lendl in his corner, bounced back from losing the opening set to oust American Ryan Harrison in four sets in searing on-court temperatures.

Murray, 24, twice a beaten finalist in Melbourne, eliminated the 77th-ranked Harrison 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in 3hr 12min on Hisense Arena.

The Scot uses his Florida base to work on his fitness ahead of every new season and he adapted well to the sweltering conditions that have greeted the year's opening grand slam tournament this week.

"Obviously training in hot temperatures helps because you're used to it, but also for the last couple of weeks it's been very different (in Melbourne)," Murray said.

"Today was a bit of a shock to the system. It was good to get used to playing in that heat again because you might have to a bit further down the line."

Murray, bidding to become Britain's first male major winner since Fred Perry in 1936, safely negotiated the opening round obstacle where he faltered in his 2006 and 2008 visits.

"It's very different conditions to what we've been practising in," he said.

"The court plays different. It was incredibly hot today. Balls bouncing up very high, whereas it's been cool, and this court particularly reacts a lot with the temperature.

"It took me a little while to adjust to that."

Harrison broke Murray in the fifth game and claimed the opening set before the fourth seed recovered to only lose nine games in the closing three sets and set up a meeting with Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Murray emphasised the significant effect of having eight-time slam winner Lendl as his coach this season.

"He understands how you might be feeling at the start of a grand slam, what it's like to play against someone that you haven't played against, what it's like playing in different conditions, how you feel in really warm conditions," Murray said.

"It's just good to have someone there that understands all of those things."

Murray, who lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's Melbourne final, broke 19-year-old Harrison's serve five times and hit a total of 47 winners to the American's 39.

The Scot remains unbeaten in six matches this year after winning the Brisbane International earlier this month.

Murray added that, "it's not for me to be disappointed" by the British wipeout on Monday's opening day, when five players failed to win a single set.

It leaves just Murray to fly the flag for Britain, a nation desperate to end decades of failure in grand slams.

"I'm not the person to be disappointed about that," he said. "There are other people in charge that should be disappointed about it; not me.

"I'd rather there was more Brits winning, obviously, but it's not for me to be disappointed."

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