“But I thought I served very well the whole match – that was the most pleasing thing for me. Hopefully I’ll get a little bit better and a bit quicker after my serve and after my returns.”
It was the first Grand Slam match for Murray under his new team of coach Amelie Mauresmo and fitness trainer Matt Little, following the departure of Dani Vallverdu and Jez Green at the end of last season.
“It’s been six or seven months now,” added Murray. “I’m hoping we’ll see some changes and some positive results.”
Murray looked to be moving well after an off-season in which he focused on speed work; he served well in the early stages especially, and his returning was as effective as ever.
There were also glitches, however, a poor volley allowing Bhambri back into the first set with a break before Murray regained the initiative in the following game.
After a brilliant backhand pass set him up to break in the second, the Briton looked to have done the hard work, but Bhambri – a former junior world number one and Australian Open champion – stuck at his task.
Murray castigated himself after letting the Indian build a 4-1 lead in the third set, but he recovered the deficit with a cross-court backhand in game seven.
The crowd on Melbourne Park’s newly revamped second show court was now enjoying an unexpected contest as Bhambri forced a tie-break, but Murray was not about to prolong his afternoon.
A second-serve ace gave the former Wimbledon champion a 5-2 lead and after one match point was saved, Bhambri could only float a return long on the second.
Murray finished with 13 aces and having won an impressive 79% of points on his sometimes vulnerable second serve.
“I didn’t serve well last year,” Murray added. “I tried to make some changes after coming back from surgery and it didn’t help at all.
“I went back to serving how I used to and that’s really helped me. I’ve felt a lot more comfortable.”