Andy Murray keeps his cool on a hot day

On a sizzling hot day at the Australian Open it was, perhaps,
fitting for Andy Murray to be talking about short shorts.

And the weather, of course.

After soaking in an ice bath to cool down, Murray said he was
thankful that his match went quickly on Thursday when temperatures
reached 41 Celsius – 106 Fahrenheit – and the court felt like a
sauna.

”There were very few long rallies. So it worked out well for me
because it was really, really tough conditions,” said Murray, who
won in straight sets over Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

Murray sat between changeovers sipping bottled water and with an
”ice towel” slung over his neck – a towel packed and bound with
chunks of ice.

Union Jacks and Scottish flags flew in the stands, where fans
sang a song called ”Andy Style” to the tune of ”Gangnam
Style.”

After the win, a confident Murray tossed his racket to the
ground and thanked fans by hurling his sweaty wristbands and a damp
towel into the stands.

The 25-year-old Scot has been dubbed ”A New Andy” at this
year’s Australian Open.

Unburdened by the enormous pressure that followed him on
previous trips to Australia, he arrives this year as the reigning
major champion. Now that he has ended the 76-year drought for
British men at the majors, he doesn’t have to field the same
nagging questions about whether he has the talent to win a Grand
Slam.

Which is why the world’s No. 3-ranked player found himself
talking about tight shirts and short shorts in his post-match news
conference.

The subject of his shirt had come up in the first round when he
explained he hasn’t bulked up his upper body, but it may have
appeared that way because he’s wearing a tighter shirt this
year.

Elaborating Thursday, he said the change of style was decided on
by his sponsor, Adidas, but he didn’t mind the snug new fit and
preferred it to tops with low, baggy sleeves that can impeded the
elbow during swings.

”The less material there is on the shirt I think probably the
better. There’s less to get in the way,” he said, with his typical
deadpan delivery. ”So long as they’re tailored somewhat, I think
there’s no real problem.”

Murray was then asked his personal view on certain men’s players
who seemed to be wearing shorter shorts this year in a nod to the
1970s.

”I actually wore a pair at Wimbledon,” he confessed. ”Not
quite like what Ivan (Lendl) and those guys used to wear on the
court. I can’t see a return to them, to be honest.”

Thinking about it made him smile: ”Yeah, they were a bit too
short. Didn’t leave too much to the imagination.”

Lendl, the eight-time Grand Slam champion, now happens to be
Murray’s coach and is the man he largely credits with his winning
streak and an added aggressiveness that carried him through a
breakthrough year in 2012.

On Thursday, Lendl sat in the stands watching Murray, leaning on
a towel draped over the hot railing.

Since teaming up with Lendl, Murray was runner-up at Wimbledon,
a gold medalist at the London 2012 Olympics and then won his first
Grand Slam at the U.S. Open.

He has come tantalizingly close in Australia, where he was a
finalist in 2010 and 2011 and a semifinalist in 2012.

Standing in the way of a potential second Grand Slam title for
Murray is a likely semifinal against No. 2-ranked Roger Federer,
who was playing his second-round match later Thursday, and No. 1
Novak Djokovic, whom he could face in the final.

Murray knows his next opponent well – qualifier Ricardas
Berankis of Lithuania. The two have trained together ahead of past
Australian Opens and practiced together earlier this month at the
Brisbane International, where Murray successfully defended his
title just before heading to Melbourne.

The 22-year-old Berankis is playing his first Grand Slam in
Melbourne and ranked 110th.

”He hits the ball pretty big from the back of the court. He
plays aggressive. He’s a very flat hitter of the ball,” Murray
said of his opponent. ”It’s nice to see him do well because we
spend quite a bit of time practicing together.”