Murray ready to launch U.S. Open quest

Andy Murray of Britain practices for his first round match during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andy Murray’s latest bid to end Britain’s long wait for a grand slam champion gets underway on Wednesday when he begins his U.S. Open campaign against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko.

It has been 74 years since a British man last won a grand slam singles title but Murray has raised hopes in his homeland after making the U.S. Open final in 2008 and the Australian Open final this year.

Murray has been the form player leading into the last grand slam of the year, winning the Cincinnati Masters and finishing the U.S. hardcourt series as the leading pointscorer. If he wins the U.S. Open, he will pocket a $1 million cash bonus.

“Nothing drastic has to change,” the fourth seed told reporters. “I just need to play my best tennis for the whole two weeks and hopefully I can do that here.”

While Murray had to wait three days to play his opening match at the year’s last grand slam, a handful of players will be making their second appearances this week.

The defending women’s champion Kim Clijsters won her opening match on Monday and will return to Arthur Ashe Stadium to face Australian teenage qualifier Sally Peers, who grew up with a poster of the Belgian on her bedroom wall.

“It does make me feel a little bit older,” said Clijsters.

Two more champions, Venus Williams and Andy Roddick, will also play their second round matches on the center court after breezing through their opening encounters.

Williams, the 2000 and 2001 women’s champion, plays Canada’s Rebecca Marino in the afternoon session while 2003 winner Roddick faces Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic in the evening.

Reporting by Julian Linden. Editing by Frank Pingue