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Murray relaxed, unburdened ahead of new season

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Murray relaxed, unburdened ahead of new season

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) People have been treating Andy Murray differently since he won his first major and ended that long drought for British men at tennis' Grand Slam tournaments.

He's been given some free rides, lots of accolades and - just for something new at the start of the season in Australia - he didn't have to answer a single question about Fred Perry or 1936; constant topics in his previous trips Down Under since 2006.

``I've had a lot of congratulations because a lot of people that were sort of general sports fans kind of knew my story a little bit of how long it had been since any British player had won a Slam and how many times I had lost in the finals,'' Murray said Tuesday as he prepared for his title defense at the Brisbane International. ``It was very nice for me to finally be able to move on and not worry about that stuff anymore.

``I got a few upgrades on flights and things like that, which is nice, but that's died down a little bit over the last few months.''

The Brisbane International was the first of Murray's three titles in 2012 - the other two were at the London Olympics and the U.S. Open, which both came after a devastating loss in the Wimbledon final.

``I probably just feel a little bit more relaxed maybe the last few weeks than I normally do a few weeks out from a Slam,'' he said. ``I'm sure once I get on the court everything stays the same.''

This time last year, he seemed to be more on edge, still desperate for a breakthrough after losing the previous two Australian Open finals, and his player-coach relationship with Ivan Lendl was new.

The tuneup in Brisbane didn't get him over the line at Melbourne Park last year, but it paid off later in the year when he ended a run of four Grand Slam final defeats by winning the first for a British man in 76 years since Perry's title in the United States.

``I always prepared to give myself the best chance to win the event. The last few years I'd got close but never managed to get over the final hurdle,'' he said. ``So whether it was a mental thing, whether it was things in my game I needed to improve, physical things ... who knows exactly?

``But now that I've managed to do it, I hope that when I'm in those situations again I'll deal with them better and put less pressure on myself, which will help me play better.''

Despite all the public acclaim, Murray didn't receive Britain's highest civic honor - a knighthood - in the New Year's list, although other athletes did.

Not that it bothered the 25-year-old Scot.

``You need to do a lot for a long time to deserve an honor like that,'' he said. ``I've only been doing it for a couple of years so I'll definitely need to win a few more matches and have more tournaments to have a chance of getting that.''

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Patriots' Julian Edelman invites DeSean Jackson to Holocaust museum in D.C.

Patriots' Julian Edelman invites DeSean Jackson to Holocaust museum in D.C.

DeSean Jackson's Instagram posts containing anti-Semitic quotes falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler has put the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver at the center of racial controversy. 

Jackson has since apologized for his actions and the Eagles released a statement condemning what their player did. Meanwhile, former NBA star Stephen Jackson has defended the wide receiver, saying Philadelphia "threatened to fire" DeSean over the incident and described his posts as "speaking the truth."

Another well-known athlete has now offered his thoughts on the situation in New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman is Jewish, and while he acknowledged Jackson saying "ugly things," he wants to use this as an opportunity to educate.

In a video Edelman posted, he invited Jackson to tour the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., and in return, he would accompany Jackson to D.C.'s Museum of African-American History and Culture.

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“I think the black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities,” Edelman said. “One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful.

“We need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act,” he said. “We need to have those uncomfortable conversations, if we’re gonna have real change. So to that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal. How ’bout we go to D.C. and I take you to the Holocaust Museum, and then you take me to the Museum of African-American History and Culture. Afterward, we grab some burgers, and we have those uncomfortable conversations.”

RELATED: REDSKINS MINORITY OWNERS REPORTEDLY COULDN'T GET SNYDER TO SELL

Edelman shared his own experience of anti-Semitism as well, but also made note of the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

"I remember experiencing a little bit of this hate in 2011 when I was called a [expletive] on the football field," he said. "There's no room for anti-Semitism in this world. Even though we're talking about anti-Semitism, I don't want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is, how we need to stay behind it."

Since the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began operations in 1993, the museum has seen over 40 million visitors from over 211 countries. The Museum of African-American History and Culture opened in 2016 and has since seen over two million visitors and has more than 40,000 objects in its collection. 

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Redskins Talk and Friends: How to watch

Redskins Talk and Friends: How to watch

Amid internal pressure from investors, last week the Washington Redskins announced they will conduct a 'thorough review' of their team name. 

On Thursday, the trio from the Redskins Talk podcast - JP Finlay, Mitch Tischler and Pete Hailey - will be joined by former Washington Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot at 5 p.m. on Thursday to talk about everything going on around the team's name.

Want to ask the group a question? Leave it in the event discussion on Facebook.

When: Thursday, July 9
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Where: NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page (click here)

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Listen to the full episode of Sports Uncovered's Sean Taylor: The NFL Superstar We Didn't Get to Know, click here.