Murray pays tribute to ill friend after win in Brisbane boosts hopes of back to back slams

BRITAIN’S Andy Murray appeared to dedicate victory to friend and Davis Cup team-mate Ross Hutchins, who has been diagnosed with cancer, after defending his crown at the Brisbane International yesterday.

Murray stepped up his preparations for next week’s Australian Open in encouraging fashion by beating Bulgarian world No48 Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-0), 6-4 in little more than 90 minutes.

The Scot then struggled to control his emotions at the trophy presentation, where his words appeared to refer to 27-year-old Hutchins, who it emerged yesterday is battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I’d like to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends,” said Murray. “He’s back home watching and you’re going to get through.”

Murray, 25, has represented Britain alongside doubles specialist Hutchins in the Davis Cup, while the pair were also part of the tennis squad for last year’s London 2012 Olympics.

The US Open champion, who is targeting consecutive grand slams in Melbourne, came from 3-0 down in the first set and a break down in the second against his 21-year-old opponent, who was playing in his maiden ATP Tour final.