BRITAIN’S Andy Murray insists that he will only reap the rewards of his grand slam winning experience if he reaches the second week of the Australian Open.
Murray faces Joao Sousa – ranked 100th in the world – in round two having easily dispatched Dutchman Robin Haase in his opening match in Melbourne early yesterday.
Despite heading into this year’s tournament with a grand slam title to his name, the Scot admitted that he did not feel any different as he stepped out onto the court, but predicted that last year’s breakthrough US Open win would eventually serve as an advantage.
“I was still nervous before I went on to play the match,” said Murray. “I think when I would see the benefits of it is if I get myself deep into a slam this year and you’re playing against the top players. That’s when I think you’ll draw on that experience and use it in the right way.”
The third seed eased to a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Haase, and any early nerves were quickly put to bed as Murray found a pleasing consistency on his first serve and showed the type of blistering cross-court speed that saw him stroll past Roger Federer to win gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Murray’s attentions now switch to tonight’s clash with the relatively unknown Portuguese Sousa, who beat Australian John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the opening round.
World No3 Murray’s Olympic doubles partner Laura Robson booked herself a tough second round match against 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, having convincingly defeated Melanie Oudin in straight sets.
Robson, 18, progressed from the first round in Melbourne for the first time with an accomplished 6-2, 6-3 triumph over the American.
Second seed Roger Federer also faces a difficult test in Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, after he dispatched Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in his opening round tie.
Women’s third seed Serena Williams overcame injury to beat Edina Gallovitz-Hall 6-0, 6-0, while 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki battled past Sabine Lisicki 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.