Murray returns to Melbourne monkey-free

Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:04am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Fighting Novak Djokovic to a standstill in a cliff-hanging Australian Open semi-final last year convinced Andy Murray he had what it took to win a grand slam title.

Struggling to swat away moths fluttering in front of his face, an exhausted Djokovic finally broke Murray's resistance in a pulsating 6-3 3-6 6-7 6-1 7-5 win taking almost five hours.

Despite the loss, Murray came away feeling he had got to within a whisker of a victory that would have sent him into his third Australian Open final.

That belief laid the foundation for a breakthrough 2012 season for the Briton.

"I learnt a lot from last year's semi-final," Murray told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday. It was a very important match for me in the context of my year.

"I felt like I played well. There was something I could really take away from it.

"I went about the match the right way. I was taking my chances. I wasn't waiting for him to miss. I was disappointed obviously, but it wasn't frustration.

"I got over that loss a lot quicker than I had some of my previous slam losses."   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain hits a return during a practice session at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar