Defending champion Andy Murray continues his clay season today in Madrid where he’ll take on veteran Radek Stepanek. Murray won the title last year – his first and only Masters clay crown – stunning Rafael Nadal in the final. Then at the French Open he beat David Ferrer before losing to Novak Djokovic in five sets.
“It’s quite different conditions here obviously playing at altitude,” Murray said of Madrid. “There are no easy matches. I’m here to try and hopefully play at a high level. If I do that, I give myself a chance to win matches. But obviously I like the conditions here. Good for me. Hopefully I can play well.”
So this season, expectations are there for Murray maybe taking it a step further at the French.
“I think expectations for me have changed obviously because of last year,” Murray said Sunday. “Obviously winning is important. I obviously won on the clay last year which was good, but it was more the way I played. I played very well.
“That gives me belief, but also I then expect to play better than I maybe did in the past. I don’t see any reason why I can’t maintain that level and give myself a chance in the next few events, obviously with the French being the big one at the end of this stretch.”
Murray also said in preparation for Madrid the Scot went to Mallorca to practice with Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic.
“That was the best practice and preparation I could get, so that was why I decided to go there,” Murray said. “Worked out well. Yeah, good. Really good training. Nice weather.”
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