French Open: Murray upbeat as he seeks to end 80 year wait

25 May 2015 / 08:25

Andy Murray famously ended a 77-year wait for a British men's winner at Wimbledon - but it's eight decades and counting since Fred Perry won at Roland Garros.

Perry claimed the French Open in 1935 and there hasn't even been a British men's finalist since Bunny Austin two years later - another piece of history Murray is determined to relegate to the pages of now very dusty books.

Murray's coach Amélie Mauresmo knows first-hand the frustrations of mastering the red clay at Roland Garros.

Despite the crushing weight of home expectation, she never progressed beyond the quarter-finals - a feat that Murray might do will to better considering that David Ferrer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are all in his half of the draw.

But newly-married Murray has won ten straight matches on clay this season, claiming his first title in Munich and first Masters win on the surface, beating nine-time French Open champion Nadal in the process.

And along with Jonas Bjorkman, added to his coaching team as cover for Mauresmo, who is due to give birth this summer, there's a new swagger and self-belief in his Paris outlook.

"Of course it will be very tough to win but the last few weeks have certainly helped my confidence," said Murray, who faces Argentinian lucky loser Facundo Argüello in the first round on Monday.

"Novak is a better clay court player than me, Rafa is so much better on the surface and Ferrer has been a finalist here too and I've never beaten him on clay.

"It's a new experience coming in with a couple of wins. I don't know what that does for expectation or how I would deal with it if I was close to reaching a final. I've practised well, we'll just have to see.

"I certainly feel physically better than I have done with my back in comparison to previous years."

Murray has reached two semi-finals in his last three Roland Garros appearances but claims to have been liberated on the surface by Bjorkman's fresh approach.

"He told me he always preferred to play guys on clay that loved playing on clay," he added.

“There are things in Jonas’s game which I felt like I used to do and maybe got away from. For example, he used to be aggressive on the second-serve return.

“Before I started working with him, I was saying to him that was something I wanted to get back into doing, putting pressure on my opponents in that way. I’ve done that well on clay in recent weeks."

All five British players involved in the first round draw are in action at Roland Garros on a manic Monday.

Murray is last on the Philippe Chatrier Court while British women's number one Heather Watson's match with France's Mathilde Johansson is last on court two.

Newly-qualified British player Aljaz Bedene will play second on court five against Austria's Dominic Thiem but they'll be long waits for qualifiers Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund to get involved.

Both are last on court five and seven respectively for matches against Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova and France's Stephane Robert.

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