Andy Murray primed for Slams, Olympics and fatherhood in 2016

Murray ended 2015 as number two in the world rankings behind Novak Djokovic
Murray ended 2015 as number two in the world rankings behind Novak Djokovic

This will be a landmark year for Andy Murray - I have no hesitation in predicting that whatsoever.

The world number two is due to become a father and will, I'm sure, cherish that above anything he could ever achieve on a tennis court.

But I don't think this new year will be notable in the Murray household simply for the addition of a welcome new member. There's every indication major trophies will be celebrated too.

It's only a few weeks since Murray completed the perfect Davis Cup year; unbeaten as he helped return the famous old trophy to these shores for the first time in nearly 80 years.

That was one of his main targets for 2015. Mission accomplished, and in some style, beating a fine player in Belgium's David Goffin in his own back yard, on clay, in straight sets, with one of the best match points - and winning shots - ever seen.

Murray lost his fourth Australian final in 2015, this time to Novak Djokovic
Murray lost his fourth Australian Open final in 2015, this time to Novak Djokovic

The feel-good factor from such an achievement can last months. When Novak Djokovic savoured success with Serbia in the Davis Cup at the end of 2010, he followed it up with one of the best years in the history of tennis. He didn't lose a match until the semi-finals of the French Open, and won the other three Grand Slam titles.

Incredibly, the super Serb was even better last year, reaching all four major finals, and winning three, as well as six out of the eight Masters Series events he entered.

Could Andy do a Novak? That's perhaps asking too much. But I certainly think 2016 will be the year Murray's major count gets going again.

It's two and a half years since he won the second of his two Slam titles. The game has moved on since then, and the Scot has had back surgery and switched coaches.

He was, however, much more like his old self in 2015, winning four titles, including his first two on clay, and competing well for three of the four main prizes.

Finishing the year ranked second in the world, for the first time in his career, will have done the confidence no harm either; nor will beating Roger Federer, albeit in the end-of-season IPTL exhibition.

Murray was looking good to challenge for a second Wimbledon crown before running into an inspired Federer in the semi-final
Murray was looking good to challenge for a second Wimbledon crown before running into an inspired Federer in the semi-final

He'll go into 2016 with an extra spring in his step and as the second seed for the Australian Open, which gets under way in just over two weeks' time in Melbourne. Murray knows he doesn't have to worry about Novak Djokovic until the final, should both men get there.

So the Scot will reflect on 2015 as a year that ended much better than it began.

Ranked sixth in the world when the notes of Auld Lang Syne were fading away, he'd just been thrashed 6-0 6-1 by Federer at the World Tour Finals in London.

When Murray headed down under to Melbourne in January, the first Grand Slam of the season once again brought out the best in him as he reached his fourth Australian Open final.

It proved, however, to be the one that got away; from a break up in the third set against Djokovic, Murray lost 12 of the next 13 games in that final. But it was a collapse that didn't affect his season, which turned out to be his most consistent yet on the tour.

Murray led Great Britain to their first Davis Cup triumph since 1936
Murray led Great Britain to their first Davis Cup triumph since 1936

By the time the French Open came around in May, Murray was being touted - tongue-in-cheek perhaps - as the new king of clay, having won two titles on the surface, including the Madrid Masters, where he beat Rafael Nadal in his own back yard.

Only a superb five-set display from Djokovic stopped Murray at Roland Garros, this time in the semi-final.

After opening the grass court season by claiming a fourth Queens Club title, it was then on to Wimbledon. Again Murray looked strong as he progressed to the semi-finals, where a rejuvenated Roger Federer lay in wait.

A stunning Swiss serving display dealt desperate disappointment once again for the Scot, ending his hopes of a second Wimbledon crown. But there was no time to dwell. There was a Davis Cup quarter-final against France to be won, following on from the fine win against the USA in Glasgow in March.

After winning the doubles with big brother Jamie, Andy dug deep once again to see off Gilles Simon and book Britain's place in the semi-finals against Australia. That meant another trip back to Scotland, and another noisy win in Glasgow's Emirates Arena.

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Murray wins Sports Personality of the Year 2015

Being the driving force behind Britain's first Davis Cup final appearance since 1978 meant Murray had probably played too much tennis by the time the US Open came around. He did win another Masters Series event, beating Djokovic in the final in Montreal.

He couldn't get past the giant South African Kevin Anderson in New York, however, and so failed to make a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in five years.

Murray's champagne moment of 2015 was still to come.

At the end of November, the pride of Dunblane collapsed in tears on the red clay of Ghent. He was instantly mobbed by his brother Jamie and the rest of his team-mates in celebration of Britain's finest hour in the Davis Cup since Fred Perry et al in 1936.

It was an achievement that made Murray - and the British team - winners at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. You know it's been a good year when Andy Murray starts cracking jokes in front of a huge audience of his sporting peers, and millions watching on TV.

If he wins another Slam - or defends his Olympic title - there's no chance Murray's 2016 will be duller than a weekend in Worthing.

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