Andy Murray on his Australian Open heartache and his hopes for a successful return

Andy Murray leaves the court

Andy Murray admits he laments his near misses at the Australian Open have left a lasting mark on him, as he admits he is not expecting to be at his best as he prepares to return to Melbourne for the first time since 2019.

Murray has lost five Australian Open finals over the course of his career and appeared to wave farewell to the sport after his most recent appearance at the Australian Open three years ago, as his hip problem looked set to bring down the curtain on his career.

Now he is preparing to play at the tournament again and he has reflected on his close calls in Melbourne reflecting on what might have been after losing four finals against Novak Djokovic and another against Roger Federer.

“I have always loved it there,” he said of the Australian Open. “Obviously I would have loved to have won one of my finals there. But I played four finals against Novak there and he has won nine. I also lost to him in the semi-finals which was a brutal match.

“I lost to Roger once in the quarter-finals and once to him in the final. There is no shame having lost to these guys, what they have gone on to achieve, the greatest players who have ever played the game in those matches.

“I feel I deserve may be to have an Australian Open title, but I never got it done in the big matches there. I got close and was in good positions a couple of times but couldn’t convert it.

“That is something obviously I have to deal with. My memories about Australia and how I feel about the place, I love it there and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”

Murray is looking to rise up the rankings in 2022 after getting a wild card to play in the Australian Open and he was encouraged by his performances in the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, where he beat Dan Evans and Rafael Nadal.

“In Abu Dhabi, there were certain things I am doing as well as I was back in 2016,” added Murray. “There are a few things that weren’t as good. Some of the things I can improve and fix.

“My movements isn’t as quick as it was back then. I am not expecting it to be as it was in 2016. That is how I view it. I know what it takes in terms of the dedication and work to get there. That is not easy now. I have restrictions in certain things I can do training-wise. Also mixing the family life is hard at times, but I know what it takes to get up there.

Andy Murray

“In some of the matches I played at the end of the year, like in Stockholm for example, I made a lot of good decisions in the match against Sinner there. I didn’t do that in the months before that. Now I am a lot clearer in my mind about the way I want to play and the way I will go about my matches in the next year.

“Decision-making comes from having a clear mind and clarity about the way you want to play. Right now I am quite sure on that.

“I believe that will help in the important moments. I believe that that is something I was strong at in my career, making good decisions in important moments, I played well in big points, raised my game in those moments.

“Providing I am clear on how I want to play, I will be able to do that again.”