MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Wimbledon champion Andy Murray showed little evidence of a three-month layoff due to a back injury to beat Go Soeda of Japan 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 Tuesday in a first-round match at the Australian Open.
He did not face a break point on his serve, and took advantage of six of his 13 break-point opportunities.
No. 4-ranked Murray has only played two official matches since minor back surgery in September, and said he needs to work his way into the tournament.
He played in the late afternoon on Hisense Arena, when temperatures slowly started falling after a peak of 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) at Melbourne Park
“The air is so hot and a lot of players are struggling out there today,” Murray said. “I’m just glad to get through quickly.”
Murray has reached three Australian Open finals but is yet to win the season’s first major. Since hiring Ivan Lendl as coach, though, he has made his Grand Slam breakthroughs with titles at 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 Wimbledon ending droughts stretching back to the 1930s for British men at the majors.
“I’m obviously more confident than I was a few years ago but I’m just lacking match practice,” Murray said. “I’m desperate to try and win here.
“I’ve had a lot of near misses, I’ve played some of the best tennis of my career here, but it hasn’t been good enough yet.”