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Andy Murray sets sights on 2015 majors

Murray will play for a sixth straight week when he competes at the Paris Masters in a bid to finish the season in the top four and gain a better draw at the 2015 majors.

Updated:October 29, 2014, 10:20 AM IST
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Andy Murray sets sights on 2015 majors
Murray will play for a sixth straight week when he competes at the Paris Masters in a bid to finish the season in the top four and gain a better draw at the 2015 majors.

A resurgent Andy Murray will play for a sixth straight week when he competes at the Paris Masters in a bid to finish the season in the top four and gain a better draw at the 2015 majors.

The two-time Grand Slam champion, who plays Julien Benneteau in the second round of the Paris event on Wednesday, is also seeking to qualify for next month's ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena.

"I always wanted to qualify for it, but I also was really wanting to get back into the top eight players in the world, and it makes a huge difference for seedings in the major events," Murray said.

"I still have a chance of getting maybe to No. 4 between now and the end of the year, which would be very important for the beginning of next year, as well. Really, the only way to do that is also to get to the O2, as well."

A top-four ranking for Murray means that he would only face Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in the semi-finals at the beginning of next year, instead of possibly the quarter-finals.

Since 2008, Murray has qualified every year for the ATP Finals, which gather the top eight players. Last year, he withdrew from the event to recover from back surgery.

Djokovic, Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic have already qualified. Murray, Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov are in contention for the four remaining places after Rafael Nadal pulled out because of appendix surgery.

Murray has played 20 matches in the past five weeks, winning three titles and climbing to fifth in the ATP Race. The last time Murray played that much was in the summer of 2005, when he was 18.

"It's been a long few weeks, but it's been very beneficial for me," Murray said. "We gained a lot of confidence in my body again from playing this many matches, and then also from winning a lot of tough, long, close matches, especially in the finals, match points down."

Murray saved five match points against Tommy Robredo in a grueling three-setter last weekend in the Valencia Open final.

"I have always felt when physically I feel strong, that it improves how I feel mentally," Murray said. "I think the two are quite closely linked, for me, anyway. And that's been a big help the last few months."

Following his back surgery, Murray slipped from fourth in January to 12th in the rankings last month. Although Murray started to feel good about his back by the Italian Open in May, he had to wait until September to win his first title of the season at the Shenzhen Open in China.

"I have played a lot of long matches and recovered extremely well from them, which wasn't the case for the last couple of years," Murray said. "And hopefully that's going to be a good sign for next year, as well. You know, I'll be able to get a good offseason in and get myself prepared for 2015."

Murray split with coach Ivan Lendl in March and hired Amelie Mauresmo after his semi-final exit at Roland Garros.

"A lot of the tennis I played since really the French Open has been good," Murray said. "I have been making improvements in my game. I feel much better about myself just now, and hopefully next year will be a good one."

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