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Andy Murray, US Open, September 7, 2008
   

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Andy Murray

US Open

September 7, 2008




Q. What was your attitude going into today?

ANDY MURRAY: It was tough. There was a lot of things I had to deal with. Change of court was just tough, you know, a very different atmosphere today.

It was quite windy out there as well. Obviously yesterday the conditions were pretty heavy, very humid.

Today it was very windy on the court. The ball was flying through the air a bit more. I just had to try and stay calm.

I thought I was playing well enough to win the match, but I knew Nadal was going to come at me. There was a few sort of ups and downs even though it was a very short time we were out on the court, but I managed to come through in the end.


Q. Was there a certain frame of mind you had knowing that you already had a break that you were facing that third set?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, I think once he ‑‑ the momentum, even though I had two sets, I would have much preferred to be in my position than his.

The momentum was kind of with him a little bit in the third set. He held serve easy the first couple of games, and I don't think either of us dropped a point maybe the first couple of service games.

So, you know, I just had to try and stay aggressive, you know, stay focused. I knew, because of the wind from the far side of the court from where we came out, it's much easier to return from that end, and I knew I was going to have some chances, so I had to just try and stay focused on that.


Q. Could you talk a bit about the swings of emotion and I guess your thought process after that second game of the fourth set?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. You know, obviously I had a lot of chances to break. There was only ‑‑ I think there was only one point where I really had, you know ‑‑ it was maybe a couple. I don't know how many breakpoints I had, six or seven.

He only missed one first serve in those points, so, you know, even though I had break chances, he played well on them and I missed a couple of shots that I maybe shouldn't have.

I thought that, you know, even though I got broken the following game, I still kept my emotions in check. I knew I was going to have chances to get back in the match and I obviously did.


Q. Did it make you more nervous or much more at ease having to sleep on the match last night being up 2‑Love?

ANDY MURRAY: I slept absolutely fine yesterday. I didn't feel nervous. You know, going out into the match, I was in a good position.

You know, it was just like I said earlier, it was very different to yesterday with the completely different court, different conditions. You know, and that's I think the first time, maybe second time on ‑‑ since I been on the tour when I've actually had to come back the following day, so that was tough for me.


Q. The crowd was a little bit more Nadal in the beginning. I guess they didn't want to see a 15‑minute match coming out here. Did that do anything for you? Did that fire you up at least, the crowd being against you and then for you in the fourth set?

ANDY MURRAY: No. You know, if I was a spectator today, I would have rather watched more tennis as well. You kind of understand why they do it, but the atmosphere was still awesome.

They know tennis here. When there was good points, they applauded for both. Obviously they wanted to see more tennis, which was fine by me. By the end of the match, I thought it was pretty even, you know, and obviously finished off well.


Q. How would you describe how the pressures and the attention in Britain have prepared you for the toughest of situations playing the likes of Nadal and Federer and being in your first Slam final?

ANDY MURRAY: For me, that didn't really have much to do with it. The things that prepared me for these situations was when I went over to train in Spain when I was 15 and sort of, for me, it was much tougher being away from my family for a long time rather than, you know, whether people expect me to win Slams or winning Wimbledon.

That was much tougher for me, and I did that from a young age. When you put in the work off the court, and, you know, I have said this many times in press conferences, when you go into matches and physically you put the work in and you've worked really hard, you don't have any excuses when you get on the court. You just think about tennis.

In the past I maybe did think about pressure because I hadn't worked maybe as hard as I should have, but now that's not the case.


Q. With that in mind, with all the work that you put in, you were just cracking balls left and right today. Talk about match point and what your mindset was going up to that dropshot.

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, it was probably maybe only the second dropshot he'd hit in the match. I was quite a long way behind the baseline.

On these courts, you're going to get a chance to get to the ball unless you hit a great dropshot, because obviously the bounce is really high. I just had to keep my head down and watch the ball, and that was that.

Yeah, I didn't feel particularly nervous. I just felt like I was hitting the ball well. I was in a great position.


Q. Just talk about playing Roger, because you've got a winning record against him. Does that give you a bit more confidence going into tomorrow?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I've played well against him in the past. I think a Slam final is different to the match that I played against him before.

You know, he's obviously won, you know, over 30 matches in a row here, you know, so he's obviously going to be feeling confident going in.

He's got loads of experience in these situations and it's something new for me. I know I'm going to have to play great to have a chance of winning, but I've played well the last couple of weeks.


Q. Do you have another level to rise to as well as you've played lately? And secondly, have you ever heard of Brigadoon?

ANDY MURRAY: No to the second one, and I don't know. I mean, I played well enough to beat the No. 1 player in the world over two days, and I've beaten Roger in the past.

I think it's more I have the tennis to compete with those guys. I just have to make sure I do it for three out of five sets rather than for a set and a half, two sets.


Q. We all now how proud you are of your biceps now. Can you talk about mental muscle and whether your stronger mentality is just a result of on‑court results or whether there's something else you've been doing off the court?

ANDY MURRAY: Like I said, I started working with a new team at the end of last ‑‑ the end of last year. I started to train physically way harder, you know. The pain that you feel off the court is ‑‑ you know, when you're running around the track is much worse than anything you feel on the tennis court.

I go on the court now without feeling like I have anything to worry about, because I've worked hard and practiced hard and given myself the best opportunity to play well. All I've got to do is play tennis, which is one of the few things that I'm good at.


Q. So the mentality follows physical strength; is that what you're saying?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I think when you go on the court and you haven't put in the work off it and you haven't practiced as hard as you should have done, there's a lot of things ‑‑ you can find excuses for why you're not playing well or why you're getting tired and stuff.

I think that, you know, maybe in the past that was the case, but now I've been traveling with a fitness trainer every week this year and working physically hard off the court. It's taken seven or eight months, but it's paying off.


Q. I heard you on court saying that this was your favorite tournament.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.


Q. I'd like to know why is it more favorite than Wimbledon, or you did it because you wanted to please the crowd or because you were so happy of probably having the best match of your life in terms of importance today?

ANDY MURRAY: I've always loved playing at Wimbledon; no question about that. But since I came here as a junior, you know, it was the first time I ever stayed in a 5‑star hotel. You know, New York is one of my favorite cities. I love it.

I came when I was a junior to watch the final of the women's singles. I watched Clijsters against Henin, a night match, on Arthur Ashe.

For me, the atmosphere and everything that goes with the center court here kind of suits my personality a bit more than Wimbledon.

Since I came here the first time as a junior, I've loved every minute of it. We got to eat in the same restaurant as the pro players here. I got to meet Coria, who was my favor player at the time. Every since I was 15, 16 years old, I've loved playing here.


Q. Obviously you play the sport of tennis for yourself. It's been so long, decades, since a Brit has won here. Two things: What do you think winning here would mean for British sport? And secondly, what do you find so appealing, so funny about Will Ferrell?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, to the first one, I think, yeah, tennis in the U.K. has had ‑‑ obviously Tim was incredibly consistent and one of the best players for a long time. He never won a Slam.

I think that sometimes in sports it takes, you know, like with rugby back home, you know, when England won the World Cup and rugby, it became a huge sport, you know, pretty much overnight.

Cricket, when England won against Australia and the ashes, that went from being a smaller sport to having a lot of cricketers became celebrities after that. It was a much sort of cooler sport.

I just think when you have a team or someone who wins the big events, it makes a big difference to the popularity of a sport in your country.

Then with Will Ferrell, I don't know why. He's a funny guy. His face ‑‑ I don't know. It's not ‑‑ like his eyes, I don't know. He makes always, since I saw him for the first time, he always made me laugh.


Q. Did you see him on the JumboTron today?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.


Q. Did you see what he did?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I saw him. He made me laugh.


Q. Do you think he was imitating you?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. And then I met him after the match, so that was nice.


Q. Are you hoping that this will take tennis in Britain to a different level? You're making a big impact in that way?

ANDY MURRAY: Firstly, I obviously want to win for myself, for my family and my friends and everyone that's been part of what I've done so far. That's the most important thing for me.

Then if the popularity of tennis grows because of me doing well, then that's great. You know, I've always, you know, tried to do bits and pieces for British tennis when I'm back home and have the time. This is ‑‑ I think no matter what you do, how many little things you do, when you do something big like this I think that's when the big difference happens.


Q. You've always said that two or three years away will be your peak. The work you did in Florida, has that fast‑tracked you to get here quicker than you thought?

ANDY MURRAY: No, I think I'll still play better in a couple years. I think there are many things that I can improve on. One of the key things this year has been mentally I've gotten much, much better, and that has made a big difference. Then physically, I can still get stronger.

I think when you play more matches and, you know, get more experience in the big situations you understand what things you can improve and what things maybe break down a little bit and that you're going need to work on. I'm only starting to get the sort of big match experience this year.


Q. He specializes in running guys ragged. You seemed to be, in all the rallies, seemed very comfortable and not really pushed out of your comfort zone. Is that anticipation, or do you feel like you're reading his game very well?

ANDY MURRAY: Every time I played him on hard courts, I've always felt like I wasn't getting pushed around the court. I always felt like I was dictating a lot of the points.

His strokes, although they have a lot of topspin, if you play close up to the baseline, they come to you at quite a nice height. He doesn't normally hit the ball very close to the baseline. He hits it obviously high with a lot of topspin, but it can come short.

If you can take your opportunities early in the rally to get a good strike in, you can dictate a lot of the points.

That's what I tried to do in the past against him and had chances in each match that I played against him but just never won the big points and never returned well.

I said before the match I was going to have to return better to have a chance to win, and that's what I did.


Q. You said on court you were relieved to win. Was that your overriding emotion or your pride and satisfaction coming in?

ANDY MURRAY: I'm obviously delighted to be in my first Slam final. But, you know, like I said at the start of the tournament, I want to try and win it. After playing so well yesterday and everything that went on with the rain and the court changes and stuff, you know, obviously going a break behind in the fourth, it was, you know, almost slipping away slightly.

Then to come back in the end, you're relieved that you managed to come through. No, I'm obviously delighted that I won the match, I mean, against a guy who's played as well as him. He's the best player in the world this year because he's played great tennis.


Q. If you could describe the biggest similarities and differences between you and Roger Federer when you're out on the court, what would those be?

ANDY MURRAY: I think we're quite natural tennis players. I think with our hands we're pretty gifted.

And then things that are different? I think he plays a more aggressive style right now than me. He'll look to come forward a bit more.

I think when we're returning, I play a bit more defensive on the return games. I try to put a lot of returns back, whereas he maybe tries to go for a bit more on his returns. Those are the main differences.


Q. Have you ever seen playing Miloslav Mecir who is playing a little bit like you? Do you know anything about him?

ANDY MURRAY: I met him the first time at the Olympics. He was there with Slovakian team with Hrbaty. I had never seen him play, but I don't know if you saw a lot of the ‑‑ you get given pins from your country which you exchange with the other athletes. He was trying to switch pins with me because I had a couple that he ‑‑ he's been ‑‑ I think that was like his fifth Olympics that he had been to maybe.

He was trying to ‑‑ had a Erythrea pin which wasn't very common, so I got there pins in exchange for that one. I've not seen him play.


Q. About two years ago I was asked by some British colleagues to attend a press conference of yours because sometimes there were some problems between you and the media. Do you think these problems are overcome because you're winning more, because you're talking less about the fact that you're Scottish and not English and things like that, or do you think this will improve?

ANDY MURRAY: I think once you get older, you start to understand how the press works a bit better. When I first came on the scene at Wimbledon in 2005, I had done very few press conferences.

I had never played in front of a lot of people before. I was used to playing in futures events and stuff.

All of a sudden I was the center of attention at the biggest tennis tournament in the world. It's very different to what I was used to, so it took me some time to ‑‑ I'm not someone who liked sort of celebrity life. I like to just relax with my friends and family.

I don't go out my way to do a lot of press stuff. I found it tough at the start because there was a lot of press requests and what have you. So I had a few problems early on in my career, but I think I'm dealing with it much better now. I think you get used to it.


Q. Given all the work that you have put in on your physical conditioning, do you have any concern at all about the difference in turnaround time that you've got to play this final in less than 24 hours and Roger having had two days?

ANDY MURRAY: Ideally, I think you'd want to be in his position. I think it's slightly better, but it's a Grand Slam final and I'm not going to let 24 hours of rest or, you know, having to play today or whatever get in the way of giving 110%.

I'll try my best to win the match. That's not going to be the difference tomorrow.


Q. You mentioned the importance of returns today. Nadal is not necessarily known for having a huge serve, but you stayed back. Could you describe your thinking on the return and game plan?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, with his serve, he doesn't have a big serve, but he puts so much spin on the serve that if you stand close up to the baseline, for me, you know, he can get it into your body.

It's quite tough to read because he moves the racquet very fast, you know, just as he's about to make contact.

It's a tough serve to read, even though it's not particularly big. I gave myself a lot of time and didn't get aced ‑‑ I probably got aced once, twice today. But I was getting myself into a lot of the points, and that's what you need to do against someone like that, you know, who normally has to work pretty hard for his points.

If you're giving a lot of cheap ones from his serve, he's going dominate you.


Q. Do you feel that Roger has raised the level of his play in this tournament, especially in the match against Djokovic, relative to how he's played the rest of the year?

ANDY MURRAY: I didn't see him play against Djokovic that much. I saw a little bit before I went out, and it looked like they were playing pretty well.

But, yeah, I think he played well at the start and then had obviously a tough match with Andreev. I mean, he made the final at Wimbledon, the final of the French Open, the semis of Australian Open, and he's in the final here.

It's like an unbelievable run, and I don't understand why everyone thinks he's not playing well. He's played unbelievable in the best tournaments and he's in the final for the fifth straight year here. It's a ridiculous run. I think he's playing great. I just think the level of tennis has got better.

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