Sony Open | Andy Murray

Miami a perfect fit for Murray these days


Andy Murray, who opens play in the Sony Open on Saturday, has enjoyed spending time in Miami, where he has a home in Brickell and likes to train.

Special to The Miami Herald

Andy Murray might be a Scotsman who flies the flag for Great Britain, but he also thinks of Miami as his second home.

The reigning U.S. Open champion bought an apartment on Brickell Avenue five years ago. His thought behind the purchase: Miami is the perfect place to train outdoors during the December offseason.

It’s also a great place to hang during the Sony Open, where he won the title in 2009 and was the 2012 runner-up. This year, he is ranked third and will play Australian Bernard Tomic in his opening match Saturday.

“I rarely go to South Beach,” Murray told The Miami Herald in an exclusive interview. “I spend most of my time around Brickell and on Key Biscayne. I love the beach here, it’s unbelievable.”

Murray also enjoys taking in as many Heat games as possible; he’s hoping to attend the games on Friday and Sunday before the team leaves on a road trip.

“It wasn’t until I went to watch live the first time that I really got into basketball,” Murray said. “It’s hard to appreciate on TV how big and strong and athletic the guys are.”

It was last year when Murray started to spend even more time in Miami.

Frustrated at constantly hearing he should be a Grand Slam champion, but having already fallen short in three Grand Slam finals, Murray called in a big-time reinforcement by hiring eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl as his coach. Lendl lives in Vero Beach.

Nowadays, Murray estimates he spends three months in Miami, three-and-a-half months in London and the rest of the year traveling on the ATP Tour.

“Once I started working with Ivan, he obviously lives close to here so it’s just obviously helps for my training,” Murray said. “And it doesn’t feel like either of us is away from home for a long period of time.”

The Lendl pairing delivered.

A few weeks after losing the 2012 Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, Murray won the Olympic gold medal at the same site in front of a home crowd. From there, he went on to capture the U.S. Open with a win over Novak Djokovic, becoming the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a major title.

“It was a big weight off my back — but also the Olympics as well was huge because that was like a Grand Slam for me,” Murray said. “Going forward, I hope that my focus throughout the year will be better than it has been the last few years. When I first came on the tour I was very consistent throughout the year. Then the last few years I was just so focused, and almost obsessed with the Grand Slams.”

More relaxed these days having finally realized his potential, Murray, 25, is finding new interests outside tennis.

At the end of last year, Murray purchased Cromlix House Hotel in his hometown of Dunblane, Scotland. It’s a castle-styled establishment where his brother, doubles specialist Jaime Murray, was married a few years back. The property is being renovated and plans are for it to be opened for guests when the 2014 Ryder Cup is played at nearby Gleneagles.

“I obviously don’t know the first thing about running a hotel, but I’ve spoken to enough people who know how it needs to look,” he said.

Hotel guests, however, shouldn’t anticipate finding Murray checking them in anytime soon. He’ll be off playing tennis or in Miami training.

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