2016 is Murray’s year and he can kick it off with Aus Open title
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 12, 2016
Andy Murray put his individual title ambitions on hold last year, as he prioritised his time to help Great Britain win their first Davis Cup since 1936, and it paid off as he and his team achieved that feat.
The Scot played some of his best ever tennis in the competition, as he almost single-handedly saw off the USA, France, Australia and lastly Belgium.
Now aged 28, and perhaps at the peak of his powers, Murray will be hoping to turn his status from a good player to a great of the game.
With two Grand Slams (US Open and Wimbledon), a Davis Cup title and an Olympic Gold medal to his name, Murray knows that he is far from done yet and hopes to join esteemed company by the time he retires.
Murray must aim high in 2016
His target should be at least five Grand Slam trophies, to join Frank Sedgman and Tony Trabert, and 2016 can certainly be Murray’s year, particularly having taken the pressure off himself in the majors last season.
Though, despite not winning any of the four big tournaments, he still did better than his previous year, by reaching a final and two semis, and is also back at world number two – his best year-ending ranking.
Now fit and ready and raring to go, the British number one can kick off the campaign by finally claiming the Australian Open crown after reaching four previous finals there without success, and he is a tempting 4/1 chance with Coral to go one step further.
Djokovic remains the main man
Murry may have lost the last three against Novak Djokovic, but he has beaten the Serb in two other Grand Slam finals before, and stated he will be treating the Melbourne event as a priority this year, along with defending his Olympic triumph in Brazil.
“You just have to keep trying to learn, watch his matches, see if there are any weaknesses you can capitalise on,” Murray said of his long-term rival and friend.
“Maybe he has a drop-off. It’s very difficult to maintain that level for such a long period.
“I’ve been close many times and [winning the Australian Open is] my number one goal.
“I won the Gold in London four years ago so to try to defend that is another big goal for me. They would be the two main ones for me [in 2016].”
Main challengers dropping off
Murray’s quest for the crown Down Under has been made slightly more easy, given that all-time greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, although not down and out yet, are certainly past their peak.
On top of that, many young pretenders such as Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori failed to really capitalise on promising performances during 2014, and Murray on his day can make light work of them all.
The likes of more experienced stars Stan Wawrinka, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, plus a resurgent Richard Gasquet and dangerous giant Kevin Anderson are all still threats, but again shouldn’t be too much problem for the determined Scot.
Murray on the cusp of greatness
So, while there is no doubt that Murray is a British and modern day great of the game, he still has much to do in order to be immortalised and placed amongst the all-time elite.
Back him to go all the way in Australia, and perhaps gain one of Wimbledon and the US Open too. He is a brilliant 7/1 shout to claim two Grand Slams in 2016, or 40/1 to win three.
Check out more in our tennis archive, ahead of the 2016 Australian Open.