Rusty Murray toils as Watson emerges as grand slam doubt

BRITAIN’S Andy Murray admitted to feeling the strain after dropping a set in his defeat of world No199 John Millman yesterday, as he stepped up his preparations for this month’s Australian Open.

Murray seemed untroubled in taking the first set, but the Australian qualifier hit back in the second, as the US Open champion struggled in the heat and looked in pain before coming through to win 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 in just over two hours at the Brisbane International.

“It’s incredibly humid here and I’ve had a lot of travelling too, and there were so many long points of very high intensity,” said Murray.

“It’s just taking a little while to adjust to playing matches again.”

Fellow Briton Heather Watson’s preparations suffered a setback when she pulled out of next week’s tournament in Hobart due to injury.