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ATP MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 20, 2006
GREG SHARKO: Hello, everybody. We're happy to have Andy with us.
Andy joins us from San Jose. He's going to be leaving in a couple of hours for Memphis. Yesterday, as everybody saw, Andy became the youngest winner to win an ATP singles title at 18 years 8 months. He's also the youngest player in the current INDESIT ATP rankings in the Top 50, at a career best 47. That title yesterday came in Andy's 14th career tournament.
Over the next month he'll be playing ATP tournaments in Memphis, which begins this week, Las Vegas, Indian Wells and Miami.
We have a lot of people on the call. Questions, please.
Q. Congratulations on last night. Fantastic performance. With a few hours to think about it, how does it feel the morning after the night before?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it feels pretty good. It was my second final. I lost against Federer in Bangkok last year.
That was a very good experience to play against Hewitt in the final of an ATP tournament, and I'm in my 14th event. To win at such a young age, I think, is pretty special. Yeah, I feel pretty good this morning.
Q. How did you celebrate last night?
ANDY MURRAY: Just went out for dinner. I was a little bit tired. I didn't do too much. Didn't actually get that much sleep. I probably slept four or five hours last night. Still a little bit excited, but didn't do anything too special.
Q. Andy, well-done last night. Do you know yet when you're playing in Memphis? Have you heard whether it will be Tuesday or Wednesday? Can you give us your thoughts on Memphis this week.
ANDY MURRAY: Obviously, I'm looking forward to playing. I'm not going to get the best preparation for playing if I have to play on Tuesday. Hopefully, I'll get a Wednesday start. You know, I'm flying, I get in tonight to Memphis at 11 o'clock.
So, yeah, it's gonna be a bit of a late night. Hopefully, I'll get sort of a lie in tomorrow and then be able to practice in the afternoon. I've not found out yet if I'm playing on Tuesday or Wednesday. Hopefully, the tournament director will let me play on Wednesday.
Q. Presumably, you've got a lot of texts and phone calls, things like that. Did everyone get on the phone after you'd won?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I got quite a lot of messages from my family and friends, which was nice. You know, I spoke to my coach. Didn't really speak to anybody else actually. I spoke to my agent as well. She just wanted to let me know a few things.
But apart from that, I've not really spoken to many people because of the time change. I think it was about three in the morning when my match finished. Obviously, when everybody was getting up, I was going to sleep. So not really had a chance to speak to anyone yet.
Q. Did you know what to do, actually, when you won? What was your immediate emotion, like, "What do I do?"
ANDY MURRAY: No, you know, I wasn't really thinking too much about what I was going to do at the end of the match. At the end of the day, I just won against a guy who's been No. 1 in the world.
Q. But when it actually did go in.
ANDY MURRAY: When the backhand went in?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, no, just obviously I was pretty happy. You know, I was probably in a bit more shock when I won against Roddick, to be honest, because it was my first win against somebody of that standard.
Then I had a little bit more confidence going into the final than I might have done if I hadn't beaten somebody of Roddick's standard.
But I wasn't really in shock, no.
Q. You're the youngest British player, British male, to have won a title both in the Open era and apparently before that, so basically ever. How does that make you feel? Can you believe it?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I can't really believe it, but obviously it's a good effort. There are not many guys win tournaments when they're 18. Obviously, didn't have the best start to the year. People weren't probably expecting me to win here.
But, you know, I knew I'd put in the hard work and I had a few problems around Australian Open time. Once I got over them, everything calmed down, I was starting to feel good about myself. Once I got through the first couple matches, I did feel like I had a chance.
But to be the youngest ever to win an ATP tournament, I think is a pretty good achievement.
Q. Lleyton said some very nice things about you afterwards. What does it feel to actually be earning respect so quickly from these top players?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was great, you know, to get respect from the players, which I think I have ever since I kind of came on the scene at Wimbledon, everybody's been saying a lot of nice things about me.
It's more the ex-players and various other people who are the ones that are being a little bit negative about it. You know, they're the ones that I listen to. I listen to the Hewitts and the McEnroes and Connors and Navratilova, those sort of people, when they're saying nice things because they clearly know what they're talking about.
If you get respect from players like Hewitt and Roddick, it's obviously great because they play against all the best players in the world, they've won Grand Slams and been the best in the world and they know what it takes to get there. If they're saying nice things about you, that can only be a good thing.
Q. Did you speak to Mark sort of after every match during the week? He's joining you as well next week, is he?
ANDY MURRAY: He's actually in Memphis just now. He got there yesterday evening.
I spoke to him after -- I didn't speak to him after every match, I spoke to him before most of them. A lot of the matches were going on at like three, four o'clock in the morning back home, so I didn't speak to him after the matches. I just sent him a text. I think he was up watching the first couple matches on the live scoring on the Internet. Then I spoke to him most mornings.
Q. Did he say anything particular to you before both the match against Andy and the match against Lleyton?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you know, obviously, you have certain factors going into both matches. I mean, that's normal.
But the one thing that, you know, he did tell me is that I had a very good chance of beating both of them because of the way that I was playing. He said to return very well and that I needed to slice and change up the pace and that those things were very important, and to go out and believe you can do it. Because if you go on court and you don't believe you sort of have a chance, it's very difficult to win against them. But I went out with a game plan and I stuck to it, and it worked.
Q. Andy, you're closing in on Tim and Greg in the rankings now, I think. Tim's 40, Greg's 42, you're 47. Is becoming British No. 1 a priority, or is that just something you're taking in your stride?
ANDY MURRAY: No, it's far from my list of priorities, actually. Tennis is not just a sport in Britain. I'm playing on the ATP Tour. It's a worldwide sport, and if I'm No. 1 in Britain or No. 10 in Britain, that's not the ranking that you're looking at. I don't play in tournaments that are just open to British players. I'd much rather be No. 10 in the world and No. 3 in Britain than be No. 25 in the world and No. 1 in Britain.
Yeah, that's not really important to me.
Q. Mark was saying today that the aim was to be in the top 32 by the French Open so you'll get a seeding there. Does that basically involve being in tournaments every week from now, or what's your long-term schedule like?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't think so. You know, if you win your matches each week, it's not like I'm going to have to play eight, nine weeks of tournaments in a row. I can kind of take my tournaments a little bit better now. I'm going to be in all the main draws.
But if I have a couple of good weeks, maybe one in Las Vegas or Indian Wells and Miami, especially since they're Masters Series, your ranking can go up pretty quickly because that's where all the big points are. So if I play well the next few weeks, then hopefully I'll get myself a (inaudible).
My goal was to get into the Top 50 by the end of Miami. I've done that after the first week (inaudible), and I'm just going to go out and enjoy myself the next few weeks.
Q. Is your girlfriend going to be traveling with you the next few games? And also, that thing around your neck, was that a lucky charm from her?
ANDY MURRAY: I got that -- yeah, she gave it to me for Christmas. It's for safe travels. Yeah, she gave me that.
And, no, she's going home. She's still a student so she's got to get back.
Q. Have you spoken to your coach today? Any reaction from back home? Has it still not quite kicked in yet?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I'm going to be over here the next few weeks so I won't get caught up in it (inaudible).
Yeah, it's pretty difficult. Obviously, I just want to try and concentrate on my tennis (inaudible).
GREG SHARKO: Andy, if you could speak up a little louder. We've got a lot of background noise here.
Q. Has it become difficult to keep your feet on the ground when you have success so young at the start of your career? Do you have to keep the right people around you to make sure you don't get carried away?
ANDY MURRAY: No, to be honest, I don't really think it is very difficult. You know, I don't see why you should change just because you won a few tennis matches. You know, I've still got the same family, I've still got the same friends. Maybe now there's going to be more people who are wanting to be close to me and wanting to be my friends who, you know, I maybe don't really know or they haven't taken any interest before.
But I haven't changed. I don't really find it that difficult, no.
Q. You've spoken a lot about expectations. What were your expectations for yourself coming into this year and how many of those boxes have you ticked off so far?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, my most important thing this year was to get better. It wasn't so much of worrying about my ranking, it was more to improve my game, improve physically, improve mentally and, you know, the matches and my ranking should take care of itself.
You know, it's difficult when you're ranked around 60 to say, "I want to be top 10," or, "I want to be top 20 or top 30," because you're not getting seeded in any of the tournaments so really you could draw the top seed six, seven weeks in a row. It's just bad luck.
So as long as I was improving my game and getting better, you know, I was hoping that the ranking should take care of itself, and it has done so far. I'm just going to try and keep it going.
Q. Is this going to add a little bit of armor to you in that you've got a fear factor now; when you go on court, people are going to look at you a bit differently?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think probably before this tournament a lot of the players maybe saw me as kind of like -- kind of a dangerous player to play against because I'd pushed a lot of the top guys. But I hadn't really won that many big matches.
I think this week I kind of proved that I can win against the best players in the world. I played against Ljubicic a couple weeks ago and I lost in three sets, and I was a set and a break up. I lost against Nalbandian, who's 4 or 5 in the world, and I was two sets up on him. I had a tight match with Federer. You know, three sets with Safin. I've had a lot of close matches (inaudible), but I hadn't actually won one.
Now that I've managed to do it, it's kind of made me a little more relaxed. It's given me a bit more confidence. When I go on to the court now, it might not be such a change for the players, but mentally it's a bigger change for me.
Q. Can I just ask you, going back to your girlfriend again, at the end was that your plan, going up to see her? Had you thought about that afterwards?
ANDY MURRAY: Sorry? Had I thought about it afterwards?
Q. Sorry. Had you thought about it before the match?
ANDY MURRAY: No, no, I hadn't thought about it before. You try not to get ahead of yourself. After the match, it was kind of emotional. It's the first time she came to a tournament with me and, you know, felt like it was the right thing to do.
This has been the best week in my life so far, so it was quite nice to share it with someone.
Q. Were you surprised how your form turned around so quickly after Australia? Was that partly down to a change of tactics?
ANDY MURRAY: No, not really. I wasn't really too surprised. I knew I could play good tennis. You know, I learnt a lot in Australia. It was my first time over there. I never played on Rebound Ace before. I never played in Australia before, in those conditions. You know, I felt a little bit under pressure when I was out there.
When I came back, I sat down and had a long chat with my coach, and I spoke with Tim a little bit. You know, I worked out, I think now, how to deal with it best.
You know, you watch my matches, the Soderling match, because I felt a little bit tired and I was a little bit lazy. I (was/wasn't?) very calm on the court. I wasn't getting too pumped up.
I didn't get angry at all in my match with Roddick or Hewitt. You know, I think I've changed a little bit since Australia, and I think it's only going to help my tennis.
Q. The experience the past few days, has that made you think that you might challenge for the bigger titles sooner than you previously thought?
ANDY MURRAY: No, not really. You know, when you say "bigger tournaments," I take it you mean Grand Slams?
Q. Masters Series.
ANDY MURRAY: Well, it obviously makes me feel like I've got a better chance of winning matches against the better players.
But Masters Series, to win one of them, everybody knows how tough it is to do that, and even to win an ATP Tour title.
So, you know, I'll have more confidence in the big matches, but to win Masters Series, no, I'm not expecting to win one this year. But you never know. It depends how the draws go.
Q. Obviously, your game has already greatly improved. Can you talk about things you're doing on court apart from not getting angry that show that improvement physically?
ANDY MURRAY: I think this week was great. I had a couple of bad service games against Hewitt yesterday. My first couple matches I served really well. You know, that improved a lot. In one of the sets I was up at 73 percent, which would probably be my highest since I came on to the tour. So I was pretty happy with the way that I served.
I think I returned very well. And, you know, yesterday Hewitt served 14 service games, and I had breakpoints in 11 of his service games. I think I showed that once I got into the rallies, you know, I was getting a say in the points. I was coming out on top quite a lot of the time.
So, you know, my serve and return were probably the best part of my game this week. But, you know, there's still a few things that I'd like to do better and I'll just keep working on pretty much all aspects of my game with my coach.
Q. Can you perceive a day when Henman Hill will be known as the "Murray Mountain"?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't really know how to answer. Yeah, I suppose. There was a little bit of that going on last year at Wimbledon. I'm sure this year will be kind of the same again.
But, you know, it's going to be Henman Hill until he retires. He's been the best in Britain for the last 10 years, so I'll be happy to have it called Henman Hill until he retires.
Q. Have you ever been in Las Vegas?
ANDY MURRAY: No, never.
Q. Are you looking forward to that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it should be good. But I just found out the other day that you can't gamble in Las Vegas until 21, so I was a little bit disappointed. That was the thing I was most looking forward to.
So, yeah, it should be good. It's the first time there's been a tournament held there. I'm sure they'll put on a good tournament.
Q. You like to gamble, do you?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I don't gamble very much, but, you know, it's good fun to go and watch, I suppose.
Q. You would have every opportunity in Las Vegas.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.
Q. You haven't been to Indian Wells, I gather?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I've not been to Indian Wells. Well, pretty much none of the ATP tournaments the first six months of the year.
Q. I'm just curious, Andy, you've obviously had some great success in the United States usually when you've been allowed to do your own thing, a pretty peaceful atmosphere. What is it about the States, do you think, that brings out the best in you as a player?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you know, I really enjoy coming over here because the weather's normally very good. You know, the people in the tournaments are so friendly. They're all really, really upbeat. There's not too much negative thinking going on over here, which, you know, can happen a little bit when I'm back home. And when you get caught up in that, it's obviously not the best for your tennis. When you're here, you just focus on that. You know, all the people, they seem to really enjoy watching my matches. I get good support here. You know, I feel like they enjoy watching my matches.
I don't know. I just really enjoy it over here because it's so -- it's just a completely different mindset, I think.
Q. Do you sense a kind of growing Andy Murray fan club? There have been great pictures and images of fans following you and supporting you. Do you sense that your game is being -- you've got a following now, not just in this country, but in various places, and people know who you are, know what you're like, and you're generating a great amount of interest internationally?
ANDY MURRAY: I think maybe a little bit in some countries. I think the start of the week in, you know, San Jose, barely any of the people probably knew who I was. But I think after I won against Roddick, or once I won the first set against Roddick, I think a lot of them probably started to enjoy watching me play, but I don't think it means I've got a big fan club yet. Maybe after this week, I don't know.
Q. I just wonder, Andy, you're talking about all the things you want to do in Las Vegas. In Memphis this week, are you a fan of Elvis Presley and do you have plans to visit Graceland?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I'm not the biggest fan of Elvis Presley. Not quite Eminem or 50 Cent, but gets the job done.
Q. He's not your era?
ANDY MURRAY: No, not quite.
Q. He's our era.
ANDY MURRAY: Really (laughing)?
Q. Can you just explain a bit more about -- you were saying (inaudible). What were the specific this time? Was it directly following what had happened in Australia?
ANDY MURRAY: I didn't hear the first part of the question. Sorry.
Q. You spoke to Tim before. What were some of the specifics this time? Did you address some of the issues you've had since Australia?
ANDY MURRAY: I spoke to him a little bit about the press stuff in Australia. Didn't speak about it too much this time. You know, it was more about my game. But I'd rather keep that to myself.
You know, he's helped me a lot, I think. Tim believes in me more than a lot of people. To have somebody supporting me who's been as good as him gives me a lot of confidence. Actually coming out here, I felt better going on this trip than I had going in to any of the other tournaments that I've played.
GREG SHARKO: We thank you for your time, everybody; Andy as well. Wish you all the best.
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