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May 9, 2015

Andy Murray


A. MURRAY/K. Nishikori
6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Last time you faced Kei Nishikori you lost in straight sets at the World Tour Finals.テつ Did you do anything different today in order to beat him?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ Yeah, well, I think last year I struggled a lot against the top players.テつ I wasn't so confident playing against them. I still felt like I wasn't quite where I needed to be with my game.
Yeah, this year and in the off‑season I put in a lot of hard work on my game and made a few changes and tried to get back to playing the way that I was playing when I was my most successful.
Yeah, I think today I was pretty aggressive.テつ Tried to dictate a lot of the points, especially when he was serving, and it worked well.

Q.テつ We hear the players talk a lot here about the difference playing at altitude on clay and the difference between Rome and Roland Garros.テつ Is that something that suits your game given you've traditionally done better on faster courts, or is that a general sign of your improvement on clay?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ I mean, it hasn't necessarily helped me loads in the past.テつ This is one of the Masters Series on the clay that I hadn't made the semifinals of and hadn't really traditionally played particularly well here.
This year has obviously been good for me.テつ I think maybe last week getting used to the altitude in Munich probably helped me a little bit.
Yeah, I mean, look, the clay courts in Roland Garros are pretty quick.テつ The balls are fast there.テつ I've played well in the past there.テつ I probably prefer playing on a slightly quicker clay court than a heavy, slow one.
Yeah, Roland Garros isn't‑‑ I wouldn't say Roland Garros is much slower than here.テつ It's probably a quicker court; just the altitude obviously speeds the ball up a bit.

Q.テつ Today you were dictating the game throughout match and your backhand down the line is very good.テつ Is there any moment you feel pressure or uncomfortable during the match?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ Yeah, well I think the beginning of the second set both of us had a few opportunities.テつ He obviously got the first break of serve, and I felt like he started to return a little bit better there.テつ We played some longer rallies, and he was able to dictate a few of the points around that period.
Yeah, that was obviously around the time in the match where he was playing his best.テつ Thankfully I managed to get a break straight back beginning of the set.
Yeah, I mean, I helped myself a lot by serving well in these conditions.テつ Obviously when it's a bit quick, if you serve well and get lots of free points, it's a lot easier to put pressure on your opponent.
That's what I did today.

Q.テつ You've been moving really far forward to return serve, particularly to like the ad backhand side; almost on the service line at times.テつ Firstly, when did you decide on that?テつ Seems since Miami maybe.テつ Also what was the thinking I guess behind it?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ Yeah, in Miami I returned like that really.テつ I felt like it's something that I was doing a lot of when I was playing well.テつ I think a strength in my game is my return and being able to take the ball early.テつ You don't always to have to hit it very hard when you take it early.テつ But so long as you time the ball well you take time away from your opponent.
For me on this surface, and especially against someone like Kei when he's dictating the points is extremely dangerous, I tried to be as aggressive as possible and got a lot of quick points that way.
It's something that I've been working on and will continue to do throughout the year.テつ Hopefully it'll keep working well.

Q.テつ What do you have to do tomorrow versus Rafa?テつ Rafa is a great player on clay.テつ Second question, why was it important to preparing the clay season in Barcelona and not playing Monaco and Barcelona?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ Well, I didn't play in Monaco because I got married a couple of days before the tournament started.テつ I wanted to take a few days' break after that.
Then, yeah, I decided to go to train in Barcelona around when the tournament was on because I knew there was going to be a lot of players there to practice with.テつ I think for me, on this surface it's extremely important to practice with very, very good players, because then I can see the things that I'm not doing well and the things that I need to improve.
If you're practicing with players that are much lower ranked, then you can get away with making some mistakes and not hitting the ball so well.テつ I got a lot of good practice there.テつ Practiced with guys like Cuevas, Carreテδアo Busta, and couple of others.テつ Pere Riba I practiced with too.テつ All good clay court players.
I learned a lot over the days when I was practicing there, so that was why it was good.
Then, yeah, against Rafa is going to be extremely difficult, especially playing here in Spain.テつ I think he's played very well this week, too.テつ Hopefully I can put in a good performance and make it tough for him and see what happens.

Q.テつ You've been moving pretty well today.テつ Does that mean that you've recovered totally from the 3:00 a.m. match of the other day, or you think it could have an impact tomorrow?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ Yeah, look, I hope it doesn't.テつ I mean maybe not so much the 3:00 a.m., but I played a lot of matches over the last ten days or so, which has been great for me.
I've been pretty happy with the way I recovered from the tough days that I had in Munich, and then obviously here, too.テつ So hopefully I feel good tomorrow.
Yeah, I'll see how I feel after the final and make a decision on Rome after that.

Q.テつ You've played Rafa on clay many times and had some very good chances to beat him.テつ Have you ever gone into a match with him playing this well on clay and feeling this confident on the surface?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ I mean, I guess it's obviously tough to‑‑ I mean, it's always difficult to say that.テつ Maybe some of the year when I played him close in the French Open.テつ Although I lost in straight sets, I had many, many opportunities in that match.テつ Something like 18 break points in the match; only managed to win a couple of them.
I was playing well then.テつ I feel like last year at the French Open I wasn't playing as well as I am just now.テつ Yeah, I mean, I know if I need to win tomorrow or if I want to win tomorrow I'm going to have to play extremely well and hit the ball as clean as I did today.
And against Rafa on this surface that's tough because of the spin that he puts on the ball and because of the way that he moves.
Hopefully I can play a good match tomorrow.

Q.テつ You're playing really aggressively today, not just on the backhand return, but generally speaking really aggressive play.テつ Was that a tactic specific to playing Kei or something you're generally trying to do and will do against Rafa tomorrow?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ I think in all matches you want to try to do it.テつ Yesterday I tried to explain it a little bit against Milos that you can say, I want to play aggressive, but when someone serves 230 kilometers an hour you can't always do that.
Whereas today obviously I'm going to have opportunities to attack the second serve and get more returns in play on Kei's first serve.テつ So that allows you to be a little bit more aggressive when you have chances, because you feel like you're going to have more opportunities against him than maybe against Milos where you might have one or two chances to break in the match.
I feel like against Novak in Miami I felt like I played a very aggressive match.テつ Also for the most part in Australia, and it's something that if I want to keep winning against the better players and the top players, I'm going to need to do.
I understand that, so I'll try tomorrow.テつ You don't always have the chance to dictate every point.テつ When I have the chance, I'll try to play as aggressive as I can.

Q.テつ Looking ahead to tomorrow's final, obviously because of where we are, you're not just playing Rafa Nadal, you'll be playing the crowd.テつ How tough can that be for and you how will you prepare yourself for it?
ANDY MURRAY:テつ Well, can obviously be extremely tough playing in these sort of atmospheres.テつ It's almost like playing a Davis Cup match away from home.
You have to try to use it to your advantage.テつ I know the pluses that come with playing in front of a home crowd and I know the negatives that come with that.テつ You can feel some more pressure there when you're playing in front of home crowd.
But it does also give a lift if you're struggling or feeling a bit tired or whatever.テつ So, yeah, I'll just try to use it to my advantage as best I can, feed off the energy, and hopefully, like I say, play a good match and try and make it difficult for Rafa.

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