ABU DHABI - Andy Murray believes his landmark US Open triumph has lifted so much pressure off his shoulders that his path to more Grand Slam glory in 2013 is now free of self-doubt.
World number three Murray became the first British man since 1936 to win a major when he defeated Novak Djokovic to clinch the US Open in September, with his triumph coming in the slipstream of his Olympic Games gold medal.
Now the 25-year-old is determined to build on his breakthrough year, starting by easing into the new campaign with a three-day exhibition in Abu Dhabi before heading to Australia for the season's first Grand Slam tournament.
"In the last three, four or five years there has been significant pressure in my mind and I feel more relaxed and more relieved after winning the US Open," Murray told the Gulf News on Wednesday.
"So I think from my side I hope to take pressure off myself and will be able to play a little bit more relaxed and hope to repeat my Grand Slam win.
"I don't know how I will feel going into the first round of the Australian Open so it will be a new feeling for me and I just have to deal with it."
Murray knows the spotlight will be trained firmly on him when Wimbledon comes around in June.
Fred Perry, in 1936, was the last British man to win Wimbledon although Murray came close in 2012, reaching the final before slipping to a tearful defeat to Roger Federer.
"All the players would want to win Wimbledon. It's six months away and there can be a lot of changes in terms of sport by then and I haven't started thinking about it right now," Murray said.
"But you know every year when it comes around that I'm desperate to win and do well and do a bit better each year and keep improving on grass. It's an incredibly tough event and lot of pressure during that time of the year and I always look forward to trying to win it."
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