Murray eager to avoid marathons

Fernando Verdasco beats Feliciano Lopez in first round at Barcelona Open

Murray was drawn into two final-set deciders last year against Philipp Kohlschreiber and Gael Monfils, and while he came through both, the Scot then crashed out in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

Conserving energy could be particularly important given Murray’s potential round three opponent, Nick Kyrgios, will have enjoyed three extra days’ rest.

Kyrgios beat Denis Istomin in straight sets on Monday and was handed a walkover in the second round after Britain’s Kyle Edmund was forced to withdraw with an abdominal injury.

“The No 1 goal is to get through. That’s the most important thing,” said Murray ahead of his clash against??Portugal’s Joao Sousa on Thursday.

“But if you can play well too, that builds confidence for later in the event.

“And also, if you aren’t playing well in the early rounds, often you have to spend a lot more time on the court, because everyone you play in these events are very tough opponents.

“If you get dragged into five-set matches or long four-set matches because you’re not playing that well, there are consequences.

“You can get tired later in the tournament if that happens. So ideally you want to win as best you can and hopefully play well from the beginning.”