Murray looks to round off big year
Andy Murray of Great Britain and Roger Federer of Switzerland talk to the guests during previews for the ATP World Tour Finals. Pic: Getty Images

Andy Murray has set his sights on capping a glorious year by winning the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.

After spending much of his career struggling to break the vice-like grip of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the sport's top prizes, Murray has finally earned the right to be regarded as an equal to those three giants after a remarkable five months.

In July, the 25-year-old became the first Briton to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938 and, although he wept tears of frustration on centre court after Federer's triumph, that run proved a defining moment.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Murray came back to Wimbledon for the Olympics just weeks later and thrashed Federer in straights sets to take the gold medal.

With that confidence, Murray headed to New York and ended his long wait to win a first grand-slam title by defeating Novak Djokovic over five dramatic sets in the US Open final in September.

"There's always pressure at all of the major tournaments you play but I feel a little bit more relaxed coming in this year than I have in previous years because I managed to win the US Open," Murray said.

"The only thing I can guarantee is that I'll give 110 per cent on the court, fight as hard as I can until the end of all the matches and see where that gets me. Hopefully, it'll get me a few wins.

"Against all the guys here, you're going to have to play a top-quality match to win."

Murray reunited with coach Ivan Lendl this week for the first time since that momentous night in New York.

Lendl only travels with his charge for certain tournaments and stayed at home in the US while the Scot played in Tokyo, Shanghai and Paris.

"I always enjoy having Ivan around. He's been a great asset to me and all the guys I work with.

"He's helped me come back from some tough losses and finish the year in the slams very well. I hope we can have a good tournament."

The ATP finals feature the world's top eight-ranked players, although Nadal is continuing his recovery from injury, handing Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic a berth.

Murray is in Group A along with Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and last year's runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Defending champion Federer, who will lose the No.1 ranking to Djokovic on Monday, takes on Tipsarevic, Spain's David Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro in Group B.

Federer has won the Tour Finals a record six times and underlined his desire for a seventh crown when he pulled out of the Paris Masters to rest ahead of London.

AFP ajw/jms 04-11-12 1247

The West Australian

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