Tennis: Breaking grand slam duck drives Murray's confidence
ANDY Murray believes his US Open triumph has enabled him to focus on his targets for 2013 with a new inner calm.
Murray finally made his grand slam breakthrough at Flushing Meadows in September with a five-set final victory over world number one Novak Djokovic to silence those who questioned whether he possessed the ability and mental strength to land one of the game's biggest prizes.
And the Scot admits his success Stateside means he can now approach the new season, starting at the Australian Open, with renewed vigour.
He said: "I always felt like I was having to prove something every time I went on the court because I hadn't won a slam.
"Even when I won a Masters Series, people still asked me always about the slams.
"So it's nice not to have to worry about that anymore.
"I think it will help me throughout the rest of the year on tour because I won't be worrying and thinking about the slams all the time. I can focus on all the events that I'm entered in."
Murray has reached the final in Melbourne twice and last year was ousted by Djokovic at the last-four stage in another five-set thriller.
It was a match which the 25-year-old claims he took a lot from as he sets out on another grand slam campaign Down Under.
"I want to try to take the extra step in all the grand slams if I can," he added.
"I learnt a lot from last year's semi-final. It was a very important match for me in the context of my year.
"I got over that loss a lot quicker than I had some of my previous slam losses. I felt like I played well and there was something I could really take away from it."
Those two clashes with Djokovic in 2012 added weight to the theory that the pair are setting out on what could turn into an epic rivalry.
With Roger Federer the wrong side of 30 and Rafael Nadal's continuing injury problems - the Spaniard is not present here - it seems to pave the way for Murray and Djokovic to fight it out over the next few years.
The two men go back a long way and Murray admits he has great respect for the Serbian.
"We get on well," he said.
"Never in any matches have I had any problems with him, or in practice. We've never had any issues with each other the whole time we've been on the tour.
"I think after the matches we've played over the last year or so, and at times they have been incredibly physical, our respect for one another has probably grown.
"It's not worth making any predictions about rivalries or whatever but when I do play against him it's a match I enjoy.
"If I get to play Novak here that would mean it would be in the final so obviously that's what I would like to do. But I know how hard it is to get to the latter stages of these events."