Confident Andy Murray ready for tough World Tour Finals

By David McDaidBBC Scotland
Andy Murray
Murray recently won three tournaments in a row in Asia

Not content with testing himself against the best singles players in the world, Andy Murray apparently decided to take on the best doubles pair on Saturday.

That was the scene at the Scot's practice session ahead of his ATP World Tour Finals campaign at London's O2 Arena.

Murray was flying solo against the multiple Grand Slam-winning pair of Mike and Bob Bryan.

It was like a sign that, right now, Murray feels he can match up to anyone - or even any two.

"Confidence is just a huge thing," says Murray as he tried to explain his good form since the French Open in May.

"Tennis is such a mental game. And when the confidence is there you feel like you can beat anyone."

The psychological side of the sport is one with which the Dunblane man has struggled in the past.

But currently the 24-year-old has every reason to feel buoyant as he enjoys his finest season yet on the professional circuit.

At the Grand Slams he has shown improvement, reaching the semi-finals of all four (and the final in Australia) - one of only seven men ever to do so.

The 2011 Murray trophy tally of five is only one short of his biggest haul, and has been boosted by three wins on the spin in Asia this autumn.

Those exploits have made him one of the form players on the tour, while Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal above him have been unspectacular since the US Open.

His Asian run has also helped him to third in the world rankings above the mighty Roger Federer.

However, the Swiss appeared to suggest that Murray's recent success in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai was a diluted achievement, as neither he nor world number one Djokovic were on the cast list.

Murray was not taking the bait on that subject, flashing a wry smile at the suggestion he might get under Federer's skin.

"I don't know. Maybe. I don't really know what's been said but I'm happy with the year that I've had," he said.

"Hopefully I'll get the chance to play against him this week and we can let our tennis do the talking."

Federer has hit some late-season winning form himself, claiming the Paris Masters for the first time last weekend, and his home event in Basle before that.

Alongside Murray, Federer will surely be a contender for the trophy this week - which in his case would be a record sixth World Tour Finals title.

The two may well get the chance to face-off at the O2, but first the Scot must navigate his own round-robin group.

And perhaps the Bryan Brothers test was a simulation for Spaniard David Ferrer, who just about covers the court as effectively as two opponents.

The world number five is Murray's first hurdle in Group A which includes Djokovic and Tomas Berdych.

"I've played well against Ferrer on hard courts in the past," he added.

"But he's made the final of this tournament indoors on the hard court before.

"If I don't play well it's going to be a tough one.

"Berdych (world number seven) has played very well in Paris, and obviously Novak has had the year he's had - even though he's had some injury problems the last few weeks.

"So it'll be tough. A lot of long matches probably."

And if he were to go all the way in this tournament, dubbed the fifth Grand Slam, would it help him go on to major success next season?

"This is one of the biggest tournaments on the tour, so a win here would be a big achievement," said Murray.

"But I feel like I can do well against these guys (like Djokovic and Nadal) anyway - whether I do well here or not."

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