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May 1, 2016

Andy Murray

Madrid, Spain

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How important is it to you to defend and a chance to repeat this title in Madrid?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, I mean obviously any time you can win a big event it's important, but not really thinking about that just now. It's quite different conditions here obviously playing at altitude. There are no easy matches. I'm here to try and hopefully play at a high level. If I do that, I give myself a chance to win matches.

But obviously I like the conditions here. Good for me. Hopefully I can play well.

Q. How did you decide to go to Mallorca practicing with Rafa, and how was it?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it went really well. I practiced with Raonic for a couple days and practiced with Rafa for a couple days. The first day just was with my coach there.

Yeah, I was going to go to Barcelona originally. That's where I went last year to train. But then obviously the best practice you can get possible for me was to go there and get to practice with two guys that are in the top 10 and obviously one of the best clay court -- probably the best clay court player of all-time. That was the best practice and preparation I could get, so that was why I decided to go there.

Worked out well. Yeah, good. Really good training. Nice weather. Good.

Q. There was a lot of agonizing about Rafa last year when his results were dipping on the clay. What do you make of his form now winning two titles like the old days?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think Monte-Carlo he had very good wins that week. Obviously Thiem is playing extremely well on clay. He beat him, obviously Stan, and myself. I watched some of the match with Monfils in the final and there was some really good tennis in that, too.

I didn't see loads in Barcelona. Saw some of his match with Kei in the final and some good stuff in that one, too.

Yeah, he's obviously feeling much better about his game. I think it makes things more interesting for you guys over this period when he's playing at the level he's been playing the last few weeks.

Q. Rafa has just been in explaining about his decision to ask the ITF to release his anti-doping results. Is that something you would consider doing as well?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think so. You know, I think it was a good decision for him. I know they've spoken about doing it in other sports as well. Yeah, I'm certainly not against that. I think it's a good thing. I think the more transparency the better.

Q. Last year Novak didn't play Madrid Open. This year he has decided to play. How much of a difference do you think that will make in terms of defending your title?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, we're on opposite sides of the draw, so it only makes any difference to me if I'm able to reach the final. If he's there as well.

Obviously playing him in a final - he's the No. 1 player in the world - it's a very difficult match. If you play someone ranked 7 or 8 in the world it's not quite so difficult a match.

Yeah, if I can reach the final then I can answer that then. Until then, doesn't mean much.

Q. How different is your attitude this year after all the winning you did on clay last year? You know, about trying to peak at time of year might not have always been a priority for you.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think expectations for me have changed obviously because of last year. Obviously winning is important. I obviously won on the clay last year which was good, but it was more the way I played. I played very well.

Even in Monte-Carlo the match against Raonic and also for large parts the match against Rafa in Monte-Carlo was very good.

That gives me belief, but also I then expect to play better than I maybe did in the past. I don't see any reason why I can't maintain that level and give myself a chance in the next few events, obviously with the French being the big one at the end of this stretch.

Yeah, I feel good about that.

Q. Today on your training you feel very confident against Novak. Maybe like you wanted to scare him or just to be confident. How do you feel before the tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: No, it was not -- I mean, he was playing very well in practice today. Again, the reason to practice with him was not to scare him, but I think everyone prepares for tournaments to try to give themselves the best chance to play well when the tournament starts.

Getting to practice with the best player in the world is great preparation for me. Yeah, I've had some good practices against the best players. That's very important. I don't get that when I'm back home, so I need to make the most of it when I'm at these events.

Yeah, it was good practice for me today.

Q. Out of all the clay leadup tournaments, which one do you think has the most similar conditions to the French?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, that's a tough one. I think Monte-Carlo can be fairly similar. It depends really on the weather. Like the last few years the weather has been very up and down. Sometimes very cold in the first week and then by the end very hot.

That totally changes the way the court plays. You know, I think if it was 25 degrees at all of the tournaments the next few weeks, I would say that Monte-Carlo and the French would probably be the same. Rome is also a little bit closer because it's at sea level.

Yeah, really depends a lot on the conditions, and the balls at the French can be quite fast, too, so it's tough to tell.

Q. What exactly is the difference between practicing with someone like Nadal and Djokovic compared to being back home playing against lesser players?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, it's a different intensity for sure. The whole practice isn't sort of on your own terms. If I'm playing with someone who I'm much better than, then you can dictate most of the points. You can get away with things that when I play against Novak or Rafa I don't get away with.

So it gives me a better understanding of the things that I need to work on, the things that need to get better, because lesser players wouldn't be able to exploit your weaknesses as much as the best players in the world.

That's why it's great to practice with them. It was very cold back home as well, so to get in some warm conditions, which normally here it's probably going to heat up the next few days and can get very hot at the French and Rome as well, was important for me.

Q. Obviously been playing Rafa for a long time. Can you compare what he is like now to in years past when he was No. 1 and winning the French and everything? Just where his level is now.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, it is very difficult always to say, because things change on a daily basis really. Like I said, I felt like in Monte-Carlo he played very well there. He saved a lot of break points during the event there.

I think that that is also a good way to kind of look at how confident someone is and how they're feeling, how they play those important moments.

Against Thiem he saved something like 14 or 15 breakpoints in the first set. Something like. Saved quite a few against, and in the final as well. That's important. I think he's feeling confident just now, but it's really impossible to tell in comparison to previous years.

He's playing well for sure.

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