By Niall Clarke
- Andy Murray begins his US Open tournament on Tuesday
- He will face Nick Kyrgios in round one
- Ward faces Bellucci, Bedene faces Gulbis.
NEW YORK, USA- Andy Murray insists he is in good shape as he heads to Flushing Meadows in search of his second US Open title.
The British number one enjoyed a successful build up towards the final grand slam of the year, defeating Novak Djokovic to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto before making the semi-finals the following week in Cincinnati.
However, Murray will have to make his way through a tough draw if he is to repeat his 2012 success.
“I believe I can win. I’ve played well enough this year to give myself an opportunity at all of the majors,” he told BBC Scotland
“Coming in here in the past few years I didn’t necessarily have great preparation. I haven’t played particularly well in Cincinnati or Canada over the past few years, and in 2012, I hardly played any matches on the hard courts coming in.
“I definitely feel like my body is in a good place and I’ve obviously won more matches this year than I have in the past, so I feel good going in.”
Murray will open his campaign against Australian ‘bad boy’ Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday. The 20 year old has been in the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons after comments made about Thanasi Kokkanakis and Stan Wawrinka’s girlfriend during a match in Toronto. Kyrgios has since been fined and suspended by the ATP.
However despite the recent façade, Murray believes that the ‘bad boy’ label is wrong and that the Aussie will learn from his mistakes.
“I don’t think he’s a bad guy,” Murray told BBC SPORT. “He’s just got to learn a little bit and he’ll be fine.
“What happened a few weeks ago was wrong. I don’t defend that and I’m sure he knows it was wrong now as well.
“But he’s also an extremely young guy who’s still learning about himself and how to behave in certain situations.
“He’s made some mistakes but I just think that it’s important to remember we’re all human beings.”
The Scot has never lost a set to Kyrgios in three previous meetings, including victories at the Australian and French Open this year.
Murray is bidding for his third grand slam title and his second in New York. The Brit had previously won the event in 2012 after defeating Djokovic in a dramatic five sets.
The third seed has been drawn in the same half as Roger Federer and quarter as Wawrinka in a stacked second half of the draw, but first he must find his way past the talented Kyrgios.
“Players tend to play well at the same places throughout their career and I always enjoy the tournament,” Murray told BBC Scotland.
“It’s meant to be hot and humid so that will be challenging, but I normally like the courts here and the balls they use here are different to the ones in Cincinnati and Canada.
“I feel good and I’m looking forward to getting going.
“I’ve lost some close matches this year and I do feel like I’m playing a little bit better now than I was at the beginning of the year. But things can change and if I show up and have a bad day on Tuesday I’ll be out of the event, so I need to just stick to what I’ve been doing and not get ahead of myself.”
There are two other British representatives in the men’s draw, both of which will begin their tournament on Tuesday alongside Murray.
Aljaz Bedene will face the enigmatic Ernests Gulbis in the first round, whilst James Ward is opposite Thomaz Bellucci.
Ward is on a third round collision course with Murray, but first he must register his first ever win at Flushing Meadows. His opponent, Bellucci, is ranked 30 in the world but is rumoured to be carrying a slight injury from Winston Salem.
Bedene is ranked 10 places higher than Gulbis in the world rankings, but the Latvian has been as high as 10 in the world. Grand slam experience also favours Gulbis, making this a difficult round one for the British number two.
The British men will kick off their US Open campaign’s on Tuesday. You can follow their progress via the Britwatch Live Scores