US Open: Andy Murray ready to begin defence of his US Open crown
Andy Murray says there will be less pressure on him as he looks to defend a slam trophy for the first time.
By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza
Last Updated: 26/08/13 5:17am
The British No 1 is now a two-time grand slam champion after ending a 77-year wait for a British man to win on home grass at Wimbledon this summer - adding to his 2012 title at Flushing Meadows.
But Murray, who arrived in New York more than a week ago, feels it's best to take things one match at a time as he prepares to begin his defence against Frenchman Michael Llodra in the opening round.
"I think there is less pressure," Murray admitted. "I think before the first match there will be nerves there, I expect to be pretty nervous because it's a new experience and it's different. But once the tournament gets going, I don't think it changes too much.
"There was a lot of pressure on me for a lot of years to win a grand slam, and then the same sort of thing at Wimbledon. I wouldn't imagine it would be the same here."
The 26-year-old Scot is expecting a tricky contest against 49th-ranked Llodra with a potential quarter-final against Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych, and then a possible replay of last year's final against Novak Djokovic in the last four to come.
"It's a tough match," said the Scot. "Llodra is a tricky player. He serves well, he's one of the best doubles player in the world just now, has very good hands, and he's very unpredictable.
"You need to be switched on all the time against him and play a solid match. You can't have too many ups and downs against him because he will capitalise on that."
Murray's emphasis has been so great on winning grand slam titles that another unattained goal within reach, the world No 1 ranking, has for now become secondary to him.
"Everyone is motivated by different things," he said. "My whole career for four, five, six years back, it was about winning Grand Slams. That was what gave me the motivation to train.
"When I did lose in a Grand Slam, that was what was most disappointing for me. I could win a Masters Series event and the first question I would get asked when I came in was, 'When are you going to win a Grand Slam?' It wasn't, 'When are you going to get to No. 1?'
"My motivation was to try to win Grand Slams so that, I would imagine, would be the case for the rest of my career."
The Olympic gold medallist has been overtaken in the latest rankings by an in-form Rafael Nadal and now finds himself seeded third for this year's tournament.
French Open champion Nadal has enjoyed an impressive return from a seven-month injury layoff, with a haul of nine titles including an unbeaten 15-match hardcourt run which has made him a marked man.
"He has beaten some tough players in tough tournaments," Murray said.
"It's not like he's had easy draws or whatever. He's beaten some top, top players. Yeah, he's going to be very difficult to beat here."
Murray has been in demand away from the court, fulfilling media and sponsor commitments, but his focus has never strayed too far from his first-round match, which he expects to be on Wednesday.
He said: "It's been a bit busier, but pretty much everything stayed the same. We got here fairly early so I have had a lot of time practising on the courts and getting used to the balls and the conditions.
"It hasn't been too different, just probably 10-15% busier than normal.
"Days have just been a little bit longer, so it's been very important to make sure I manage my time well and conserve my energy as much as I can away from the court.
"It looks like I'm going to play my first match on Wednesday, so it will be close to two weeks (in New York).
"Before I play my first match normally I'd go out and do some things, but because I have been busy I've tried to just keep pretty low key and spent a lot of time in the hotel room unfortunately."