Andy Murray opens US title defence against Llodra
British number one And Murray in US Open action tonight as he looks to defend his 2012 title
Andy Murray begins his defence of the US Open tonight with an opening round match against unpredictable Frenchman, Michael Llodra.
The British number one returns to the Major tournament scene brimming with confidence after his fantastic Wimbledon triumph a little over a month ago.
It has been an amazing transformation and couple of years for the Scotsman, who, like fiercest competitor Novak Djokovic, has seemingly overtaken the previously 'Grand Slam tournament favourites', Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
While Rafael Nadal continues to dominate the French, there is an obvious change in the other three Grand Slams with the pair of Murray and Djokovic meeting in the last three finals of these.
Murray has come out victorious twice in these and will be hoping for more of the same at Flushing Meadows this year, especially considering that the pair could potentially meet in the semi-finals of this competition should both players avoid upsets.
There's no doubting that No. 3 seed Murray has been dealt a tough draw as he seeks back-to-back Grand Slams for the first time, but it will take more than that to stop an incredibly talented sportsman who has made the final of four of the last four Major's he has entered.
Dealing with opening match pressure
Talking of upsets, Murray must make sure he is at his level-headed best when he faces a tricky test tonight (7 pm local time, 00:00 BST) against the flamboyant Michael Llodra.
And although the statistics will argue that it should be a routine win for Murray - the Brit has comfortably won all three of the previous matches in which they have met, Murray knows he must not take anything for granted.
"It's a tough match," said Murray, talking to Sky Sports.
"Llodra is a tricky player. He serves well, he's one of the best doubles player in the world just now, has very good hands, and he's very unpredictable.
"You need to be switched on all the time against him and play a solid match.
"You can't have too many ups and downs against him because he will capitalise on that."
Playing in the most intimidating of the four Grand Slam scenarios, the left-handed Llodra, with 25 doubles titles to his name, will look to upset the Brit with a host of big serves and an unpredictable array of ground strokes.
However, it would be an awfully big task for the Frenchman to achieve and the Brit is fully expected to progress and put himself into the next round where he will take on the winner of the match between Victor Hanescu (Romania) and Leonardo Mayer (Argentina).
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