Con­fi­dent Mur­ray can con­quer clay at Roland Gar­ros

Scot in form as French Open be­gins

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT - By Adrian Back @aidy­back

For the last eight years Andy Mur­ray has been a se­ri­ous con­tender at ev­ery Grand Slam he has en­tered. In that time he has reached five Aus­tralian Open fi­nals, plus two apiece at Wim­ble­don and the US Open.

Yet there are just two ma­jor ti­tles to his name, some­thing that the Scot is des­per­ate to ad­dress. And de­spite never hav­ing reached the final at the French Open, he is fi­nally show­ing signs that he can con­quer the clay courts of Roland Gar­ros.

Since the Euro­pean clay­court sea­son be­gan in midApril, Mur­ray has an 85 per cent win ra­tio - bet­ter than any­one else on the sur­face.

In Monte Carlo he reached the semi-fi­nals while in Madrid he was beaten in the final by old foe No­vak Djokovic. He then gained re­venge over the world No. 1 in Rome as he claimed the ti­tle. It was the first time Mur­ray had ever beaten the Serb on clay and it was a wel­come boost ahead of the sec­ond slam of the year.

“Any time you get wins against the best play­ers it’s big, not so much for them but more for me to have that be­lief and con­fi­dence when I go on court against them that I can win,” said Mur­ray.

“I’d never beaten No­vak on clay, although we’d had some very close matches in the past. I man­aged to get over the line in Rome and then with Rafa, I’ve beaten him a cou­ple of years in a row and had some good prac­tices with him as well.

“I don’t know if this is my best chance, it’s al­ways dif­fi­cult to say, but I’m com­ing in play­ing as well as I did last year if not bet­ter. And I’m on the op­po­site side of the draw to No­vak, so we’ll see what hap­pens.”

Ul­ti­mately this could be the most telling fac­tor for Mur­ray. With no Roger Fed­erer and last year’s win­ner Stan Wawrinka strug­gling to find his best form, Mur­ray should have few prob­lems on his side of the draw.

What he may need, how­ever, is a bit of luck. Fed­erer lost in three straight French Open fi­nals to Nadal be­fore fi­nally win­ning the ti­tle by sweep­ing aside Robin Soder­ling in the 2009 final.

If Mur­ray can avoid Djokovic in the final he is al­most cer­tain to win. And even if it is the 14-time ma­jor cham­pion, he has the be­lief that he can tri­umph.

It may just be Mur­ray’s year.

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