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Murray: 'I have a chance of winning the French Open'

A ndy Murray was back at Queen's Club yesterday, casting his mind back to his Australian Open near-miss and forward to the summer to the French Open and Wimbledon, two events very much on his agenda in 2013.

Eight days after he went so close to a second straight grand slam title in Melbourne, the Scot crammed in a visit to London before embarking on the next phase of a schedule he hopes will lead to more glory.

Unlike in previous years, Murray is not playing another tournament before heading to California for the BNP Paribas Championships in Indian Wells and then to Florida for the Sony Open.

Instead, he will head this weekend to his Miami base and another stretch of training, on and off the court, with his coach Ivan Lendl. "I've realised over the years that I play my best when I've had time to prepare for each tournament as best as possible so that's why I'm not going to play anything between now and Indian Wells-Miami," he said yesterday at a gathering to promote his involvement in the Aegon Championships in June.

"Anyone can have a bad tournament or bad match at any stage, but providing you do everything you can to make sure you're in the best shape possible, you go to tournaments early and you prepare well and then you can go away happy or satisfied with however you do."

Murray defended his decision to skip Britain's Davis Cup match with Russia in April, saying the quick turnaround from Miami and then the transition after that to the clay courts of Europe was too tough to risk.

"The clay-court season is extremely important for me," he said. "It's a surface that takes me a long time to get used to. I need to practise and train on that for a lot of hours. It's a surface where I had the problems with my back last year and I had to take a pretty solid amount of time off during that season.

"I believe I have a chance of winning the French Open, but to do that I need to prepare and use every single day as best as I can. That's why, unfortunately, I decided not to play Davis Cup this time, but I will play the match in September."

On the eve of Rafa Nadal's return to the Tour after seven months out with knee problems, Murray said he had spoken to the Spaniard and was sure he would return to his best, even if it might take some time.

Might Nadal's lack of match practice and injury problems improve his own chances of wresting the Spaniard's title from him in Paris?

"Providing I prepare well for it and I train properly and have a good schedule, I have an opportunity," he said. "I'm not going in as the favourite, I wouldn't be expecting that. The results wouldn't justify that. But I have a chance and if I have a chance of winning a tournament, I'm going to do everything I can to prepare properly for it and give myself the best opportunity to win it, even if it's a small chance.

"I think stranger things have happened in tennis than a player in the top four or five winning the French Open, so I might as well give myself a shot at it."

Unlike in past years, Murray left Melbourne upbeat, convinced that the wins will fall his way.

"I maybe could have made it easier on myself and not had a long five-setter [in the semi-finals against Roger Federer]," he said. "I had the chance to serve for the match in the fourth set and didn't play a particularly good tie-breaker after that. But I played well overall. It was a good tournament."

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