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Murray enjoys a break before starting U.S. Open run

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scotsman Andy Murray said he feels primed for the U.S. Open after a hard week of practice and a little relaxation ahead of the year's last grand slam.

Murray, the 2012 U.S. champion who went on to claim the Wimbledon crown in 2013, is looking for his first tournament victory this year after coming back from back surgery.

"I feel good. I have had a great practice week, had good fun on the court, enjoyed it and worked hard," the 27-year-old told reporters at the U.S. National Tennis Center on Saturday. "Yeah, been playing well. I feel good."

Murray rewarded himself with a busy day of spectating on Friday, following golf's world number one Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland at The Barclays tournament in New Jersey before catching a Team USA hoops contest at Madison Square Garden.

"It was fun. I have never been to watch golf live before. For a first experience, you know, watching the best player in the world was a pretty good experience, and I really enjoyed it," he said.

"When you watch them up close it's impressive. Then in the evening, I went to watch the basketball at Madison Square Garden. I love watching basketball. They're huge guys, but just unbelievably quick, great athletes. It was a fun day for me."

Another form of recreation, a bit closer to home, does not much appeal to Murray, who said he was not inclined to watch his tennis coaching mother, Judy, strut her dance moves on the British television show "Strictly Come Dancing".

"If it makes her happy, then I will support her," said the serious-minded Murray. "I'm not really into those shows, but she loves it.

"I mean, she watches it all the time, talks about it all the time," he said with a smile. "So, if she enjoys it, then I'm happy for her."

Murray said he could not recall ever seeing his mother dance and that her appearance could prove "interesting".

The Scotsman kicks off his tournament on Monday against Dutchman Robin Haase.

Haase won the first two sets against him before Murray advanced in the second round of the 2011 U.S. Open. The Briton also beat him in straight sets last year at the Australian Open.

"It was a tricky match," Murray recalled of their last Flushing Meadows encounter. "Windy conditions that day, and very up and down."

Murray feels in good shape for a U.S. Open run.

"I got a great training block over in Miami done, so physically I'm where I would want to be. My body is pain-free, which is good. Yeah, I feel ready," he said. "I feel confident and I'm looking forward to the start."

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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