Ito vows to attack Murray
Tatsuma Ito has vowed to take the fight to Andy Murray when they meet in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday.
The Japanese player has had a very good start to the year, climbing from outside the top 100 in the rankings to a career high of 68 this week, and he will now make his main draw debut at Roland Garros.
On paper it looks a comfortable start for Murray, who has faced Ito once before in a doubles match in Tokyo last year, but his opponent is determined to play his natural attacking game.
Ito said: "He's a great tennis player. I'll try to do my best, be aggressive on every point. I played against him once before, in doubles. He has a good serve and is difficult to break. It's exciting for me."
Ito has won a lot of matches recently but mostly on hardcourts in the Far East, where he has been playing on the Challenger circuit.
He did beat world number 27 Radek Stepanek on clay in Dusseldorf last week, a victory he described as the best of his career, but subsequently lost to Leonardo Mayer and Ryan Harrison in the team event.
Ito and Go Soeda are flying the flag for Japan in the absence of the injured Kei Nishikori, and hero status beckons if the 24-year-old upsets the fourth seed in what is sure to be his first appearance on a grand slam show court.
Ito, who like Murray idolised Andre Agassi as a child, said: "Yes, I would be famous if I won. I will try 100 per cent and fight hard on every point."
Murray is confident he knows what to expect from Ito, although the Japanese player's game is not one he knows particularly well.
The Scot said: "I have seen his game before and hit balls against him. He's quite a flat hitter of the ball, a pretty good ball striker. But I haven't seen him play loads."
Clay remains the most difficult surface for Murray, who has lost to Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and Richard Gasquet this season and is yet to get past the quarter-finals of a tournament on the red stuff.
Murray said: "The movement is the thing that always takes me a while to get used to, but normally after a few weeks that's okay. It's something I always try to work on a little bit when I'm training."
Success at Roland Garros has been a tough road for Murray, who reached the semi-finals for the first time here 12 months ago.
The Scot has long felt at home in New York and Melbourne, and he is now growing to love the French capital as well.
"Each year I have enjoyed it more and more," he said. "I guess as I have got older I've learned to appreciate it more. It's a very nice place for us to come to.
"I find the site very different to a lot of the other slams. It's pretty compact.
"I stay pretty much on the Champs Elysees, so it's always busy and there's nice restaurants and cinemas and lots of stuff to do."