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Super fit Murray ready for when the heat turns up in Melbourne

Keeping cool - fitness and hydration will be key to handling the Aussie heat

Testing during their pre-season workout in Miami had shown the US Open champion is now in the absolute physical peak of his career. In a year he has added 3lbs of muscle, and can sustain a heart beat of 200 beats per minute.

Andy Murray started his Aussie Open campaign in style and Ralph Ellis has some reasons why we won't have to stay up for too long watching his second round match either. . .

Thankfully, when it comes to Music, Liza Minelli won't make it anywhere near the playlist on Andy Murray's iPod.  Otherwise it could get very confusing.

Britain's number one tends to go in for the likes Eminem and 50 Cent when he's getting himself up for training and matches. Loud, thumping rap music. In fact he's probably never even heard the song "It's Liza with a Zee not Lisa with an Ess".

And just as well - because if he had been influenced by one of the biggest hits sung by Judy Garland's daughter when he did his homework for his second round Australian Open he could have been in all sorts of trouble. He's playing João Sousa with an Ess and not João Souza with a Zee and there's a crucial difference. The first is the Portuguese number one, the second a rising star on the Brazilian tennis scene.

Actually, come to think of it, there still wouldn't bee much to stop the Scot winning in the early hours of tomorrow morning. He is looking so dominant at the moment.

Murray is 1.021/50 to win the match and likely to be around 1.42/5 to do it in three sets. Even at short odds it is worth backing because as Sousa himself, that's Sousa not Souza, says: "I think Andy will be quite confident."

Murray will be targeting a quick game, that's for sure. While we are shivering at home, the heat is the big problem when it comes to playing tennis in Melbourne, and nobody is better equipped or prepared to deal with it than the Scot. He used an absolute minimum of effort in his first round win over Robin Haase and looks supremely fit - such a contrast to the early years of his career when he so often suffered with cramp in long matches.

In fact it was interesting to read some stats churned out by his fitness trainer Jez Green, who revealed testing during their pre-season workout in Miami had shown the US Open champion was now in the absolute physical peak of his career. In a year he has added 3lbs of muscle, and can sustain a heart beat of 200 beats per minute. At 25 he is hitting the best years of his physical capabilities.

He can also, it seems, run as fast as Usain Bolt - at least over ten metres. "I'm not saying he's that fast over 100 metres, but he has great acceleration when he is chasing down a drop shot," says Green.

Conserving energy in the early rounds of this Grand Slam will matter. Murray's pre tournament odds have trimmed slightly to 4.47/2 to be the winner of the Australian Open. He knows to land that prize he has got to get through a probable semi-final with Roger Federer before he then takes on favourite Novak Djokovic in the final. Both would be gruelling matches and physical fitness will be vital.

All in all, it's just as well he's done so much exercise - even if the key parts were done in America so it was probably spelled with a Zee!

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16 January 2013

Australian Open

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