Tennis

Andy Murray, pictured, has lost three Australian Open finals to Novak Djokovic.

Andy Murray looking to turn the tide against Novak Djokovic

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Andy Murray admits he has been plotting ways to bring down Novak Djokovic ahead of the start of the Australian Open.

Murray has lost four finals already in Melbourne and three of those came at the hands of the Serb, who is now gunning for his sixth success at the tournament.

Djokovic has dominated his recent rivalry with Murray, winning 10 of their last 11 matches and beating the Scot at both the Australian and French Opens last year.

Murray is not alone. Rafael Nadal managed just three games against the world number one in Doha last week, while Roger Federer has lost all of their last three match-ups in grand slams.

It means Djokovic begins 2016 as the man to beat and Murray admits much of his off-season was spent thinking up ways to overcome his toughest foe.

"I think that's always really the case in the off-season," Murray said.

"This off-season, yeah, maybe a little bit more.

"But it's not just him you have to win against. Roger last year, I didn't have a good record against him either.

"Yes, in practices there's things you'd look to do for matches against them, but also it's about looking at matches that you've played against them and understanding tactics and things that are happening in the match that you can maybe change as well.

"In practice, you're always trying to improve your overall game. It's about maybe looking at the videos of the matches and going, 'Oh, I could improve my serve here or improve my return'.

"It's not just for against them, it's against all the other players, as well."

Murray plans to take February off for the birth of his first child and therefore while other players were recuperating at the end of last year, he spent a fortnight training in Dubai.

The world number two should be finely-tuned for his opening round on Tuesday, when he takes on Alexander Zverev, the talented 18-year-old from Germany.

"It has been different, that's for sure. I've never finished the season this late," Murray said.

"I feel prepared but it's just been different preparation than what I'm used to."

Accompanying Murray in Dubai was Amelie Mauresmo, back in position as full-time coach following her maternity leave last year, as well as Davis Cup team-mates James Ward and Kyle Edmund.

Edmund plays world number 81 Damir Dzumhur on Monday, hoping to build on an impressive few months in which he has climbed to 88th in the world and made his debut for Britain in the Davis Cup final.

Murray, who has become something of a mentor for the 21-year-old, thinks he has a bright future.

"Kyle has been improving all the time," Murray said.

"About 18 months or so ago he was making a few coaching changes and he had a tricky few months. Since then he's just been getting better all the time.

"Every time I practice with him, see him playing matches or anything, he's just consistently making improvements to his game."

Also in action on Monday is British number two Heather Watson. She plays Timea Babos, ranked 59th in the world, from Hungary.

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