By Martyn Herman
GHENT, Belgium (Reuters) – Fresh from leading Britain to a long-awaited Davis Cup title Andy Murray is already looking ahead to adding more grand slam silverware to his collection next year.
The 28-year-old played more than 100 matches this year and worked overtime against Belgium in Ghent at the weekend to ensure Britain won the trophy for the first time since 1936.
While the Scot intends to enjoy a 10-day break after a punishing season, it will then be straight back to work as he begins looking ahead to the Australian Open in January — a tournament in which he has been runner-up four times.
“The most important thing is, yes, enjoy it now, but don’t let it go on for like three weeks and stop practising hard and going to the gym and doing everything properly,” the 28-year-old, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and Wimbledon a year later, told reporters before heading home from Belgium.
“I need to train really hard in the off-season if I want to have a chance of making this count for next year.
“I hope (winning the Davis Cup) will be an inspiration. It’s definitely given me a boost going into the off-season.
“I’ve been close (in Australia) a number of years. I haven’t won there but I think I’ve often played my best tennis. I really like the conditions, the courts.
“That’s obviously my next big goal.”
Thanks largely to Murray’s incredible record in the Davis Cup since 2013, Britain now head the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings and will begin next year’s competition as top seeds when they face Japan in March.
Murray, who won 11 of Britain’s 12 rubbers this year, including three doubles with brother Jamie, said the ranking was well-deserved.
“For five years I think we have lost two matches, and even against Italy last year it went to a fifth rubber,” he said.
He believes the title can inspire the likes of James Ward, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans to improve their rankings.
“I think in the last few weeks they all won Challenger events because this final was huge motivation, and now it’s about taking that form and level into next year,” he said.
Murray is expecting his first child with wife Kim in February but is planning to play against Japan in Birmingham as Britain begin the defence of their title.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)