When Andy Murray won his first Grand Slam singles title in 2012, he not only breathed a sigh of relief, his confidence soared.
Murray was a top-four player on the men's circuit for years, but he was always missing that elusive major. All the pain and anguish, not to mention the doubt, evaporated when the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2012 U.S. Open.
To start 2013, Murray won in Brisbane. He dropped one set in his four matches in the tournament and looked every bit the player who is expected to have a big year after his breakout in 2012.
Murray breezed past Robin Haase in the first round of this year's Australian Open, and he will likely breeze past his next opponent, Joao Sousa. In fact, it will proceed as most of Murray's tournaments did before—except Murray will go on to win the 2013 Australian Open, notching his second career Grand Slam singles title.
He has the confidence and he's at his peak. He has momentum after his win in Brisbane.
Murray said before the tournament, via ESPN:
I kind of maybe always felt like I was having to prove something every time I went on the court, because I hadn't won a Slam. You know, even when you win a Masters Series, people still asked me always about the Slams. So it's nice just to kind of not have to worry about that anymore.
Will Andy Murray win the 2013 Australian Open?
With the monkey off his back, Murray no longer has to worry about capturing that first Grand Slam singles title. He can just play and let his developed game speak for itself. He's entering a stage where he's gliding across the court without thinking too much and, let's be honest, he was always thinking too much when he was failing to win majors.
Murray has a bright 2013 in store for him, and it will start at the 2013 Australian Open.
What are your thoughts?