BRISBANE, Australia (AP):
His voice cracking as he delivered his victory speech, an emotional Andy Murray dedicated his Brisbane International title to a sick friend.
Murray kicked off 2013 with a successful defence of his Brisbane title, holding off the up-and-coming Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (0), 6-4 yesterday.
"I'd like to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends," Murray said, moments after it seemed he'd finished his thank you list. "Thank you very much. He's back home watching and, you're going to get through."
He signed what appeared to say "For You Perched" on a small plaque after the match, but wouldn't disclose the identity of his friend.
Murray began his breakthrough season in 2012 by winning in Brisbane and followed that up later with career-changing titles at the London Olympics and US Open.
He heads into the Australian Open, starting January 14, as the reigning major champion and without the enormous pressure that followed him on every previous trip to Australia. Now that he has ended the 76-year drought for British men at the majors, he doesn't have to answer those questions.
The 25-year-old Scot started slowly yesterday and had to recover breaks in both sets and was happy with the payoff from his concerted efforts to work on playing aggressively.
"I got off to not the best start and he was playing very aggressive and by the end of the first set I had turned the tables and I was the one make him do a lot of running," he said. "It's a change of mentality really and that doesn't happen in a few weeks. It's taken time to believe that that's the right thing to do, to be aggressive.
"That was what I worked on in December and I worked on it for the majority of last year as well. Did it well today."