His voice cracking, an emotional Andy Murray used his victory speech to offer encouragement to an absent friend.
Murray kicked off 2013 with a successful defense of his Brisbane International title, holding off Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (0), 6-4 on Sunday.
''I'd like to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends,'' Murray said. ''Thank you very much. He's back home watching and, you're going to get through.''
He signed what appeared to say ''For You Perched'' on a small plaque after the match, but wouldn't disclose the identity of his friend.
Murray began his breakthrough season in 2012 by winning in Brisbane and tacked on career-changing titles at the London Olympics and US Open.
The Australian Open starts Jan. 14, and Murray heads to the first major of the season without the enormous pressure he had a year ago. The 76-year drought for British men at the majors is over, so he doesn't have to answer those questions now.
The 25-year-old Scot started slowly against Dimi...