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Murray set for Rome return

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Originally published on: 14/05/12 00:00

Rome never used to be a happy hunting ground for Andy Murray but the Scot goes into this week’s Masters 1000 tournament in the Italian capital buoyed by his performances in last year’s event. Murray won only two matches in his first five visits to Rome but reached the semi-finals last year, when he went very close to becoming the first player to beat Novak Djokovic in 2011.

Murray missed last week’s tournament in Madrid because of a back problem, but he is feeling better and hopes that having extra days to train in Rome last week will have improved his chances.

“It always felt very different coming here – for the last few years anyway – from Madrid,” Murray said. “That felt a bit strange, coming from altitude, then here. It wasn’t just this tournament, though. I didn’t really do well in any of the clay events at the beginning of my career. It should suit me here. It’s normally pretty warm and the court is quite fast.

“Last year was the first time I’d played a very good tournament so it’s not to do with the conditions. It can just sometimes happen that you don’t play well at the same tournament for a few years. I guess Roger [Federer] has had a few results here that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from him, but the conditions are very good. It’s not normally windy, and it’s normally pretty quick, which should help.”

Murray has never reached the final of a clay-court tournament, but he stressed: “You have to remember I play probably four clay-court events every year and they are all normally Masters Series or the French Open, so they are always the strongest events. It’s been a surface that I think previously I struggled on.

“Last year I had some good results. I feel more comfortable on it this year than I did at the same stage last year, which is good. That’s going to help with certain things and being in better shape and being strong is going to help getting further in the events.”

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