Murray on song ahead of slam tilt

BRITAIN’S Andy Murray hailed his burgeoning partnership with new coach Ivan Lendl after making a victorious start to the year by winning the Brisbane International.

Top seed Murray beat Ukraine’s Alexander Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-3 in the final, his last competitive match before the Australian Open gets underway next week. The title also marked a perfect start to his union with Lendl, whom the Scot is optimistic can help end his 100 per cent losing record in grand slam finals.

“It’s very exciting,” said Murray. “He had a great understanding of how to prepare for big events both physically and mentally. We have spent six or seven days together and really enjoyed it. He’s an interesting character. He is very hard-working and is going to give me a great opportunity to play my best tennis this year.”

World No4 Murray was ruthless in his demolition of third seed Dolgopolov, who laboured with a groin injury, and needed just 65 minutes to clinch the final. It continued a marked improvement on Murray’s performances in earlier rounds, where he looked rusty and twice had to come from a set down to progress. He is now due to play an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic before the season’s first grand slam.