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Wimbledon hopeful Andy just loves 'Murray Mania'

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Andy ready for 'Murray Mania'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Andy Murray bidding to become first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936
  • Murray says he thrives on the pressure of being the sole home hope for singles glory
  • The Scot has reached the final of two grand slams -- losing both times to Roger Federer
  • He defends his Queen's Club title ahead of tilt at Wimbledon title

(CNN) -- First there was "Tiger Tim" and "Henman Hill" -- but now the traditional home of grass-court tennis reverberates with "Murray Mania" come June and July, at least as long as Britain's only title hope remains in contention.

Andy Murray will again carry the hopes of a nation into this year's Wimbledon Championships, but insists the hullabaloo will not derail him in his quest for a first grand slam success.

The world number four is realistically Britain's only contender for singles glory, following in the footsteps of the now-retired Tim Henman, who never made it to the final but kept the British public both entertained and exasperated with several near-misses.

"Murray Mania" will again grip SW19 when the third grand slam event of the tennis season begins on June 21, but the 23-year-old Scotsman told CNN's Open Court that the pressure does not bother him.

"Honestly I have loved it the last few years, I don't know if in three or four years time that might change. But no, the last few years, I have really enjoyed it," he said.

It's a tough task but I was close last year. I've worked hard again, so hopefully I can give myself the opportunity to do it this year
--Andy Murray
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Murray began the defense of his AEGON Championships crown at London's Queen's Club on Tuesday with a straight sets win over Ivan Navarro.

He said the period in between the end of that traditional Wimbledon warm-up event this Sunday and the start of the grand slam is actually the most difficult.

"There's people following you everywhere, photographers, journalists they come to your house, it's very difficult to get away from that side of things," he said.

"You're asked a lot of questions. Not necessarily tennis questions, sort of like an interrogation into your life. It's tough.

"But once the tournament starts, you just get into the routine. The pressure is still there and you feel it when you are on the court, but it's not as bad as people might think."

Murray reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year, losing to eventual runner-up Andy Roddick, but is under no illusions that his task will be any easier this season.

"Right now it is very difficult, you've got the best grass-court player ever currently in [Roger] Federer and probably the best player of all time.

"And Rafa [Nadal] might go on to be the second best player of all time, if not surpass what Roger has done, so it is a very difficult time in tennis and it's important that I understand that."

Stepping up to a different level

So has Murray rehearsed his winning lines should he become the first British man since the legendary Fred Perry in 1936 to win a grand slam ?

"Yeah, I think it will be very emotional, all the years you've worked, all the sacrifices that you've made will feel like it's all worth it," he said.

"I know what's like to win a smaller event, it still feels great, but Wimbledon or the U.S. Open is kind of on a different level and I'm hoping one day that I'll be able to do that."

Murray has reached the final of two grand slams, losing in straight sets to Federer in the 2008 U.S. Open and to the Swiss maestro at the Australian Open earlier this year.

His performances since Melbourne have been less than spectacular, and he is coming off a disappointing fourth-round defeat at the French Open to Tomas Berdych, but Murray is as confident as he can be that Wimbledon glory is in his grasp.

"I know it's a tough task, but I was close last year. I've worked hard again and so hopefully I can give myself the opportunity to do it this year."

A long learning process

Murray started tennis at the tender age of four, mentored by his mother Judy, an accomplished player herself, but always remembers the "sacrifices" he had to make when moving to train in the Spanish city of Barcelona in his early teens.

It paid off with victory in the juniors at the U.S. Open when he was 17, and it was not long before he was mixing it with elite of the world game on the ATP Tour.

Murray initially had the reputation of being something of a "hot head" on court, but with a more mature approach has channeled his aggression to more positive effect.

"I still hate losing now, but once you start to play on the tour you know only one person wins every week. You don't learn to accept losing, all the players want to win every match they play, but you learn how to deal with it a lot better," he said.

He will be hoping he does not have to deal with defeat at either Queen's or Wimbledon and cement his place in tennis history as the player to end Britain's grand slam drought.