Tennis

Andy Murray can kick on from Davis Cup win says John McEnroe

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Seven-time major champion John McEnroe believes winning the Davis Cup can give Andy Murray the extra edge he needs to overcome Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

McEnroe knows the potential benefits of a Davis Cup triumph, having won the competition five times in his own career, and the American is one of several players to have enjoyed an individual boost from the team success.

In recent years, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both used Davis Cup victories as a springboard to grand slam glory.

Nadal won his first Davis Cup title in 2004 and proceeded to win his first of 14 grand slams the following year, launching a period of unprecedented dominance at the French Open.

Djokovic already had one major title to his name when he clinched the Davis Cup in 2010, but it was the year after when the Serb established himself at the top of the men's game, winning three out of four grand slams in 2011, and another six thereafter.

The challenge now for Murray is to wrestle back some control of a rivalry that has seen Djokovic win 10 of their last 11 meetings, including beating the Briton at two grand slams this year.

Djokovic has won four of the last five Australian Opens but McEnroe believes Murray's Davis Cup victory could give the Scot momentum this time around.

"He has had an extremely long year so he is going to need a break," McEnroe said.

"To me he's been in four Australian Open finals so he could potentially use it to his advantage.

"It is something that could help him get over the hump because he could be a bit sharper than normal, even though he's already had great results there.

"Obviously Novak though is going to say 'haha I got a little rest' so it's mentally how you deal with it when it comes down to that moment if they were to play again."

Murray will fly out to Dubai on Thursday for off-season training, which will also include matches in the experimental International Premier Tennis League, before taking a few days off over Christmas.

First, however, the world number two is playing in the Tie Break Tens at the Royal Albert Hall this weekend, a low-key tournament including the likes of McEnroe and Tim Henman, in which matches are first to 10 points.

Murray is never shy in expressing potential innovations for the game and he spoke about the possibility of shortening sets, as well as scrapping knock-ups.

"I think one of the things they could is make the sets slightly shorter, rather than changing the whole scoring system - like having a tie-break at five-all or in some of the events, playing the sets to four, that could potentially work," Murray said.

"I've spoken about (scrapping knock-ups) as well. I see no issue really with that. They would have to have slightly longer breaks between the matches because I think that's maybe what's different about other sports.

"There are set start times you can actually prepare for whereas slam matches can be five and a half hours. It's tough to get your body warm at the right time.

"If there were set start times I don't see any reason why you have to knock up."

Britain's historic Davis Cup win over Belgium last weekend was swiftly followed by the team's criticism of the LTA but Murray has taken the last few days to enjoy some welcome time off.

"Sadly, actually I do swing a tennis racket in my house when I'm bored. But yes, this will be the first tennis balls I've hit," Murray said.

"It's been a nice week, we didn't get back until Monday afternoon and then Monday night we all went out for dinner.

"It does take a lot out of you Davis Cup weeks because we went out dinner and the first hour and a half everyone was on great form but we started getting tired pretty quick.

"On Tuesday we had some commitments - we went to Downing Street and stuff - and then I slept most of Tuesday and Wednesday during the day.

"I was just really tired, on the sofa sleeping, not doing a whole lot. That's really it, I haven't done much more than that."

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