US Open Tennis 2012: Andy Murray Enters 2013 as Australian Open Favorite

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US Open Tennis 2012: Andy Murray Enters 2013 as Australian Open Favorite
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Andy Murray's triumph at the U.S. Open on Monday night will make him the favorite to win the Australian Open in next year's first Grand Slam tournament.

Murray's first Grand Slam victory in New York, in addition to his gold-medal-match victory over Roger Federer at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, will give him the confidence needed to dominate the 2013 season.

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In his U.S. Open final match against Novak Djokovic, who has arguably been the best player of the last two years on the men's tour, Murray won points that in previous Grand Slam finals he would have lost. The way he played under pressure, the way he moved on the court and the emotion he showed during the tough matches proved that Murray wasn't going to be denied his first Grand Slam title.

If Murray had any doubt that he wouldn't be able to beat players like Djokovic and Federer, especially when these two played well, that doubt has to be gone now. Murray has proved to himself, and the tennis world, that he's capable of beating the best opponents when the pressure is high.

Murray normally plays very well on hard surfaces, which was proved at the U.S. Open. It's a surface he's comfortable on. When you look at his Grand Slam record, Murray has been far more successful at tournaments that are played on hard courts.

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The only two Grand Slams in which he has been to the final multiple times are the United States and Australian Opens, both of which are played on hard courts. He has a combined record of 52-14 at these tournaments. Over the last two years, Murray hasn't been knocked out prior to the semifinal at either tournament.

Given his success on hard surfaces, and the fact that he's now a Grand Slam champion, Murray will likely be the favorite to win the 2013 Australian Open, even if Rafael Nadal and the rest of the "Big Four" are healthy.

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