Murray sets sights on numero uno ranking

CINCINNATI: Britain's Andy Murray, the new world number two in tennis, says he is "not that far" from overtaking Roger Federer as world number one as he prepares to defend his ATP Cincinnati Masters title.

"It's not that far. It's a matter of a couple of the matches," Murray said Tuesday. "If I had had a slightly better run at the Australian Open or instead of losing a tight one to Roddick in the semis at Wimbledon, who knows.

"I know it's a long way from losing the semifinals to winning but that would have made a huge difference. I would be very close to Roger in the rankings if I had won those two matches from the semis onwards.

"That's really the only difference, is getting a Slam, between being No. 1 and 2 I think because the consistency in the other tournaments has been pretty similar." The Scottish star still seeks his first career Grand Slam crown and could have a chance in next month's US Open final. Murray lost to Federer, who now owns a record 15 Slam titles, in last year's US Open final.

"Federer, I think he won his first Slam when he played his 17th Slam. I think I've only played 15 Slams," Murray said. "And Roger is probably the greatest player of all time." "I think at 22 I'm still pretty young. You know, I'd love to win a Slam. That's obviously one of my biggest goals. But to say that I'd be disappointed to not win one with the level of competition that's around now is a little bit disrespectful to the players. You've got some of best ever playing right now." Murray defeated Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in Sunday's ATP Montreal Masters final, then drove to Cincinnati rather than fly, a 13-hour trek.

"I just wanted to drive," Murray said about the journey with his fitness trainer. "But you can't take a car from Canada to the States and leave it so we got driven to Buffalo and then drove from there to here. But it was fine.

"We stopped a few times. I actually got recognised by the border control when we were coming over into the States, which was nice. We got through there pretty quickly.

"We stopped for gas a couple of times. We stopped five or six times on the way but I found it a pretty easy journey. We could have done it quicker if we tried." Murray never actually took the wheel because while he has his license, he was too young to be insured for a rental car. But he loved not having to climb aboard yet another plane.

"I don't know many people that fly as much as the tennis players. I mean, by the end of year you get pretty sick of it. It's nice to be in one space, in one place for a few months or a month at a time," Murray said.

"So when you got the chance to drive, I think it's quite a nice thing to do because we spend most of our time in the airports." Murray said he felt no extra pressure to defend the Cincinnati crown but hopes to play well as he prepares for the start of the US Open in two weeks, especially after a strong return from a five-week holiday.

"I would hope I would still be reasonably fresh," Murray said. "I think it's more mentally than physically that's important, because physically I think I'll be strong enough to compete in the Slam.

"You need to go in there mentally fresh. It's a long stressful couple of week if want to do well."