Andy Murray is pleased there will be no player boycott of the Australian Open, not that he ever considered such a drastic move.
Having recently won his first grand slam singles title at the US Open, Murray believes the Melbourne Park variety of hardcourt suits him better.
''I actually prefer the court at the Australian Open, the balls as well,'' said the world No 3 after his walkover into the third round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, courtesy of a rib injury to Bernard Tomic's conqueror, Florian Mayer. ''I think that surface is probably a little bit better for me. I feel I played some of my best tennis there over the last few years. I love the centre court there. I like the conditions on it. Yeah, it's a good court for me.''
The blue Plexicushion of Rod Laver Arena has also hosted two of the four losing finals Murray endured before winning his first major at Flushing Meadows last month.
When he returned, after a short break, to reach the semi-finals at last week's Japan Open, the desire to overtake Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to become the world No 1 was among his goals. Another grand slam title would help, obviously, and the next is the Australian Open.
''I never viewed striking at the Australian Open as a real option. From all the players I've spoken to so far, everyone's been very happy with the increases in the prizemoney and their plan over the next few years, as well,'' he said.
Djokovic joined Murray in the Shanghai third round by defeating Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 6-3, while fourth seed Tomas Berdych eliminated Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-3. American Sam Querrey upset 14th seed Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, No 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber was toppled by unseeded Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4 and Stanislas Wawrinka edged Denis Istomin in three sets.
- The Age