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January 21, 2016

Andy Murray

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. MURRAY/S. Groth

6-0, 6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is the ball looking quite big today? Seemed to time your returns well.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I returned good. I mean, he didn't start the match off serving that well, which helped. Because I was returning well, that maybe put some more pressure on him.

He didn't really start serving well or how well he can serve until maybe, you know, middle of the second set. Then, you know, made it tougher there.

But, yeah, I returned good and passed and lobbed well. That's what I needed to do today to get the win.

Q. How would you rate his serve along other very heavy servers?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it's tough to say. I mean, for him, I know he can serve better than that. He doesn't just hit the sort of big serves. He can use different spins and stuff.

I think when he's serving well he can make it very tough for guys, because, I mean, he's not that predictable with the serve. He changes the pace on it. He used some kick serves on the first as well.

I think he actually is better from the back of the court than he thinks he is. I don't think he maybe needs to serve and volley as much as he does, because, you know, from the back he hits the ball good, as well. Yeah.

Q. Is there a trend towards players being more aggressive and attacking one of the reasons why perhaps your lobbing today was pretty effective? There are ways to react to that. Had you thought about that beforehand?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, a lot of guys come forward. The lob, it's not an easy shot to execute. It's also a very difficult one to defend against if you're hitting it well, because the correct position to get into the net, when you're serve-volleying, you do have to get quite close to cover the angles.

But if the volley is not quite good enough and you have enough time to put up a lob, it can work well. I've spoken about it. But like when I played Karlovic at Wimbledon, if you are hitting the lob well, it then forces the guy at the net to move further away from the net to cover that. Then there's more angle to hit passing shots and they can't cover the net as well.

It's an important shot against guys that move forward.

Q. You're a big one for sort of taking in information from opponents you face, storing it in the memory banks, and bringing it out when you need it. You played him in Davis Cup on a doubles court. Did that have any relevance to today?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I think it helps to see someone's game. I mean, I never hit with him or played against him at all, apart from that match in the Davis Cup. You know, I was only returning from one side of the court against him.

Yeah, definitely helps to be on the court against him. You see what he's like up at the net maybe, which side he volleys better off, which side he returns better off. In doubles, I think you can often get a better idea of that than in singles.

A lot of guys return pretty well off both sides in singles because there's both sides to hit into, but in doubles you have to be more accurate with the return. You get a good idea of that, too.

Q. Were you surprised beforehand that he let slip that this was his first time playing out there?
ANDY MURRAY: A little bit, yeah. I mean, we were right next to each other in the locker room literally sitting a meter or so away. I think it was Mark Woodforde asked him. He just said, No, first time I've ever been out there. First time I even practiced on it today.

That surprised me. I thought he would have hit on it at least once or twice before.

Q. Having played so many Grand Slam tournaments, do you get a sense after a couple of matches as to which ones are going to come good, or are they all so different the comparisons between the first couple matches and the tournament are meaningless?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, I've had days, not just in slams, but in any tournaments, where I felt great, practiced really well, and then gone on the court and felt horrible.

Then sometimes, you know, you feel beforehand -- might feel nervous, have a lot of doubts, and then you go out and play extremely well.

I think, you know, it's difficult to know as a player when you're going to go out there and hit the ball great or not. You just have to try to trust all of the preparation and practice and stuff that you've done.

Once you get out there, you try and make as many adjustments as you can to make yourself feel more comfortable on the court. But I tend to enjoy playing against that game style. I don't know why that is. Always since I was a kid, I liked that. So I had a feeling today that maybe the matchup would be a good one for me. But the same time, if the guy is serving 220 kilometers an hour and making a lot of them, it's difficult to break.

Q. Kyle said the other day he's going to seek your advice on his cramping issue. When you were a lot younger you had a bit of trouble with that and have overcome it. Have you had a chat with him?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, we spoke a little bit to Kyle and his coach. I think it was yesterday just as we were leaving. He was going to practice. Yeah, I just chatted to him a little bit about it.

I mean, everyone's different. I have a completely different body and physiology to Kyle. I suggested him doing like some sweat testing to get an idea of how much he's sweating and what he's sweating out, and then maybe getting a sports drink which sort of is going to help him replace both the nutrients and the fluids that he's losing and have sort of a proper plan when you go on the court as to how much you're actually going to drink.

I think sometimes players, you know, they don't think about that when you're sitting at the change of ends. You sit down, have a gulp, but you don't actually think about how much you're taking onboard.

It might be nothing to do with hydration. It might be down to conditioning, as well. That's possible. And also might be down to stress, as well, the pressure that he feels playing at this level or playing in a Grand Slam or in a Davis Cup match. There's a lot of things that can contribute to it. It's just about finding what works for him. I'm sure he will.

But the last few months I think, providing he learns from them, will be very beneficial for him later down the line.

Q. Your assessment of Sousa, please.
ANDY MURRAY: This is maybe the third time I played him here. We also played at the French last year. He's almost the opposite to Groth really. Plays predominantly from the back of the court. Very solid from the baseline. Doesn't obviously serve so big, but makes a lot of returns.

He's a very good mover. Good athlete. He wins. He knows how to win matches. He understands the game well and he gets the most out of his game.

So, you know, if I play well, I got a good chance obviously. But, you know, he's the sort of player that if your level's not quite there, he'll make it very tough for you, as he did when I played him at the French Open. I was in a bit of trouble against him there.

Q. Is this the best you've played at this stage of a slam?
ANDY MURRAY: No, it's really impossible to say like if it's the best you've played. I mean, the matchups can dictate that a little bit. There's some things I certainly could have done better today. I could have served better, for sure. I didn't serve a high percentage of first serves. I could have done that better.

And from the back of the court, maybe because I wasn't hitting loads of balls, I wasn't hitting the ball from the back of the court as well as I did against Zverev. But a lot of things went well, too. The movement was good, anticipation. I felt like I closed the match out well.

It's been a very good start, for sure. But I can still get better, I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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