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Murray 'better prepared' ahead of clay opener

ESPN staff
April 14, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are on opposite sides of the Monte Carlo Masters draw © Getty Images
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Andy Murray believes he is better prepared than last year ahead of the European clay-court season opener in Monaco.

World No. 2 Murray has never reached an ATP Tour final on clay, but trusts that extra practice on the surface ahead of the Monte Carlo Masters will stand him in good stead to challenge for the title.

"I feel a little bit better coming into the clay courts this year than I did last year," Murray told the BBC. "After Miami I stayed over in America and practised on clay for four or five days which I hadn't really done in the past - and then I came directly here.

"So, I've spent a bit more time on clay than I usually have done coming to Monte Carlo."

British No. 1 Murray has been seeded in the same side of the draw as reigning champion Rafael Nadal, who is bidding for his ninth consecutive Monaco title. The pair could meet at the semi-final stage.

The 25-year-old's coach Ivan Lendl boasts three French Open titles, and Murray admits probing his coach on how to adapt his approach to clay.

"That's what he's been good with on all the surfaces because we have very different games," the Scot said. "He's given me some good advice, we've had some good practice sessions and we've worked on the things I've needed to.

"Hopefully, by the end of the clay court season it'll pay off."

Murray is set to face Dutchman Robin Hasse or an unnamed qualifier in his first round match, and is then seeded to meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the quarter-final stage - before a possible showdown with Nadal in the semi-final.

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