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Murray defends contender tag

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:15

Djokovic, the defending champion and world number three, has been particularly prickly about the subject of the Scot’s rising profile and when asked what he thought about the world number four being ranked ahead of him in the favourites stakes for this year’s crown, the Serb was quick to point out, who was higher in the pecking order in the rankings.

Murray meanwhile has looked on with some bemusement at it all and said: “They say there’s a lot of pressure on them, but then people aren’t saying they’re the favourites…. yet they want to be the favourites.”

He added: “Therefore, by saying they’re the favourites, they’re putting more pressure back on themselves.

“I don’t really understand the whole thing. I mean, I think I’ve played well enough in the last six or seven months to be in that sort of group. Whether I’m the favourite or not – I don’t know.

“Like I said at the start of the tournament, Federer and Nadal have got the most experience and probably merit being favourites.

“But there’s a reason why people think I have a chance to win here, because I played very well the last few months and won against them.”

After bowing out to Federer in the US Open final last year, Murray won ATP titles in St Petersburg and Madrid and qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup in China where he reached the semi-finals.

He is unbeaten so far this season. He won an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, where he beat Federer and Nadal, and followed that up by retaining his Doha crown with victories against Federer (semi-finals) and Andy Roddick.

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