Andy Murray comes in to the ATP World Tour Finals in London as one of the favourites along with Roger Federer. Ranked no. 3 in the world, the Scot won 17 consecutive matches after the US Open when he won 3 consecutive titles in Asia.
But Murray will also have to contend with the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd who will be hoping to see him win - a prelude to what they hope will be a Wimbledon championship for the Scot in 2012. Speaking to the media ahead of the ATP World Tour FInals in London, Murray said, "You have to play very good tennis from the first match to have a change of going through," Murray told reporters at The O2 on Saturday.
"That's why it is so challenging. You have to play your best from the start. It is just the mentality of having to be right on your game, switched on." Murray will play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer - his first opponent on Monday - and Tomas Berdych in Group A round-robin matches this week.
"There are no easy matches in any of the groups," said Murray. "Ferrer played well on hard courts in the past. If I don't play well it will be a tough one. Berdych has played well in Paris and Novak is Novak.
So a lot of long points and tough matches." "I lost in the semi-finals last year and I played a great match against Rafa," he recalled. "In some ways it was a help. Maybe it helped me that I lost, because it forced me to work harder and improve.
Hopefully I can finish the year playing good tennis. "I feel as if I can win against all of these guys, regardless of whether I do here or not. There is extra incentive to do well, because it is one of the biggest events on the tour.
It is one of the biggest achievements [for any player] to win this event." "You have to believe that," he said. "Last year, he was losing matches, struggling with his serve a lot and trying to make some changes.
People were asking if Djokovic was going to win another Grand Slam, is he was good enough to do it. "It just shows that everyone is good enough to do it. It's just whether you can play your best tennis at the right moments and gain confidence as he has done this year.
No one can improve that much at this stage of our careers, it's just a confidence thing because his game was always there." .