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Andy Murray no longer feeling pressure to win

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Andy Murray no longer feeling pressure to win

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Andy Murray will experience a new sensation when he starts play at next month's Australian Open - feeling like a Grand Slam champion.

The third-ranked Brit broke through at the U.S. Open in 2012, adding to his gold medal at the London Olympics.

``In the last three, four or five years there has been significant pressure in my mind, and now I feel more relaxed and relieved after winning the U.S. Open,'' Murray said Wednesday. ``So, I think from my side, I hope to take the pressure off myself and be able to play a little bit more relaxed - and I hope to repeat my Grand Slam win.''

Murray was promoting a winner-takes-all $250,000 exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi that serves as a warmup for the Australian Open, which runs Jan. 14-27.

Murray hired Ivan Lendl as coach on last New Year's Eve and is full of praise for the changes the eight-time Grand Slam champion made in his game.

``He helped with a lot of small things; you know, technical things, small mental and psychological things and small physical things as well as tactical things,'' Murray said. ``A lot of those small things add up to 5 to 10 percent to my game, and that was what I needed to find to make it past the last hurdle and win one of the major tournaments.''

After losing in the final at Wimbledon this year, Murray's next goals include going one step farther at his home major tournament and becoming the top-ranked player in the world - but he doesn't plan on playing more events to achieve the second of those.

``Every year when Wimbledon comes around I'm desperate to win and do well. It's an incredibly tough event and a lot of pressure during that time of the year,'' Murray said. ``The No. 1 ranking is what every player wants to get. I can improve my ranking just playing like I have done last season and the rest of the tour.''

Murray faces Janko Tispsarevic on Thursday in the opening match of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. That will be followed by David Ferrer taking on Tomas Berdych. Novak Djokovic and Nicolas Almagro, who replaced Rafael Nadal, are also in the field.

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Rui Hachimura was a star in Vegas, earning All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors

Rui Hachimura was a star in Vegas, earning All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors

Welcome to the Wizards Rui Hachimura.

In his first action as a Washington Wizard, the first-round draft pick brought home some hardware after being named to the All-NBA Summer League Second Team.

Hachimura showed out in a Summer League that was headlined by which stars were not playing on the court. In his final contest against the Atlanta Hawks, Hachimura dominated the court.

Playing a total of three games in Las Vegas, he averaged 19.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Those stats paired with a 2-1 record in the games he played garnered the Second Team honor. 

He was joined by Chris Boucher (Toronto), Jaxson Hayes (New Orleans), Anfernee Simons (Portland) and Lonie Walker IV (San Antonio) on the Second Team. 

The Gonzaga product is looking to become the best Japanese player to step onto an NBA basketball court and, although it is a small sample size, he showed some major potential in his limited action. 

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Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Washington Mystics guard Kristi Toliver is a WNBA All-Star once again. 

Toliver was named an All-Star reserve on Monday as selected by the league's coaches. She joins Elena Delle Donne, who was named a captain of one of the two teams, and head coach Mike Thibault as representatives from the Mystics. 

This selection gives Toliver, 5-7, the third honor of her career and the second with Washington. Last year en route to the franchise's first WNBA Finals appearance Toliver was named an All-Star. She also got the nod in 2013 when she played with the Los Angeles Sparks. 

Through 15 games, Toliver is averaging 12.1 points and is second in the league with 5.7 assists per game, which is also on pace for a career-high.

She is shooting at a career-best .497 clip and is looking as explosive as ever at 32-years-old. With her and Delle Donne, the Mystics are 9-6 and second in the Eastern Conference.

In the offseason, Toliver is also an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. Often she worked on the player development side of the staff and closely with Bradley Beal. 

Delle Donne will have the first choice of selection in the All-Star game draft. As a reserve, Toliver cannot be selected until after the starters are chosen. 

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