ROME: Andy Murray will launch his singles campaign at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome Tuesday confident he can show off his improvement on clay. While the world No 4 grew up being trained on the clay courts of Spain, Murray has achieved better results on other surfaces as a professional.
The 21-year-old reached the second round in Rome last year, which represents his best finish there. However, this season he's improved on clay, reaching the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, where he lost to eventual winner Rafael Nadal.
"I feel more comfortable on clay this year than I have in the past," Murray said. "I feel in good condition physically and mentally. It's a different style of tennis from that of grass or hard court.
"You need to create the point and make as few mistakes as possible. I know, however, that in order to improve my ranking I need to be competitive on all surfaces," he added. "My aim is to win on clay and in Rome I want to go all the way."
Murray could end up having to beat two of the top three in the world if he is to lift the trophy, with Rafael Nadal of Spain, Switzerland's Roger Federer and Serbia's Novak Djokovic also in Rome. Murray, though, has beaten all three this season. "I've had a good season so far and I hope I can continue," he said.
Murray suffered a first-round defeat in the doubles Monday when he and Ross Hutchins lost 6-4 6-4 to French duo Julien Benneteau and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He will now focus on the singles and, after receiving a first-round bye, will go up against Argentinian Juan Monaco - a player he has never faced before - Tuesday in the second round. Monaco defeated Nicolas Kiefer of Germany in the first round.
"He is a good player on clay," said Murray. "He has been playing well on this surface in tournaments in South America. Monaco had an injury last year but before that he was ranked in the top 20."