MELBOURNE:British hope Andy Murray is looking to a revamped coaching and training regime, spiced up with some hothouse yoga, to give him the impetus for a big showing in the Australian Open.
The 20-year-old Scot goes into the tournament ranked nine and is taking all steps to ensure he is well prepared for a crack at Roger Federer in the year's first Grand Slam.
Murray was beset by injuries last year with wrist and back complaints, forcing him to miss the French Open and Wimbledon after an impressive five-set defeat to world No.2 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of last year's Australian Open.
Nadal finished the stronger physically to see off Murray's courageous challenge and win a high-class four-hour match which showcased the Scot's outstanding potential.
The independent-minded Scot had a review of his year and last November ended his association with highly-paid American coach Brad Gilbert and replaced him with a collective.
Murray's view is that while he did well with Gilbert, reaching the world's top-10, he now has a squad of coaching and fitness consultants less likely to cause personality clashes.
"I don't want any egos involved," he said.
One of them is Louis Cayer, the French-Canadian coach who helped elder brother Jamie Murray win the Wimbledon mixed doubles title and who now also works for the (British) Lawn Tennis Association.
Cayer reckons that Andy's clever varieties of containment and counter-attack can take him to new heights, particularly if he mixes in his other tactical options.
"I trained for four weeks in Florida before going back home for Christmas so I've tried to get some training in the heat," he said, anticipating the searing temperatures of Australia's high summer.
"But I've been doing that Bikram yoga, which is in a 42-degree (107 F) room, so hopefully I'll be used to it."
The new regime gained early success when Murray claimed his fourth career title with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in the Qatar Open final in early January.
Wawrinka, who had won both their previous two matches, has seen a marked improvement in Murray's game.
"He has everything - drop shots, baseline, coming to the net, serve-volley - and he's changing all the time. You never know what to expect," Wawrinka said.
Murray saw his Doha win as an important result as it guaranteed him a place in the top 12 seedings at the Australian Open.
"If you're ranked between 13 and 16, you get drawn to play the top four seeds in the fourth round of the Australian Open," he said.
"That's obviously not the best place to play Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko or Andy Roddick.
"They're really tough players, so by winning my ranking will move up a bit and I'll have a slightly better draw in Melbourne.
"I feel good. Obviously, I played well in Doha last week so it has been nice with my new team around me.
"I worked really hard in the off-season, on my fitness and on my tennis.
"It's the hardest I've ever worked in my life so I'm happy it's paying off."