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May 13, 2016

Andy Murray

Rome, Italy

A. MURRAY/D. Goffin

6-1, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you sum up that match today?
ANDY MURRAY: It was very, very difficult conditions, very windy. You know, it was changing direction all the time. You know, there was obviously a lot of the clay getting blown off the court, as well.

It's not always that easy to move when it's like that because it's changing every point. You know, sometimes, because you put clay on it, the end changes, so it's a little bit more normal and then two points later there's no clay on the court at all and it's like a hard court. So it is very tough.

Second set obviously was up and down, but I don't think there was any other reason for that apart from the conditions making it very tricky to play good tennis.

Q. Extraordinary result last night when he broke to love for the first game. Did you think, blimey, this guy must be seeing it like a football?
ANDY MURRAY: Not really. I mean, obviously I knew that he must have been playing well coming into the match, and I went in expecting it to be very tough. He got off to the best possible start. But it was very hard from that end of the court. You're playing right into the wind.

And, yeah, it hasn't been like that the last few days on the other courts. He got off to a quick start, but, yeah, that was probably the most pleasing thing about the match today was each time I got broken I think broke back every time, so I never allowed him to get any momentum and that was good.

Q. Have you played in conditions like that before very often at all?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, it's been like that here a number of times. It can get like that in that stadium, in particular. Indian Wells one year when I played the final against Rafa there, it was extremely windy. US Open the year that I won, when I played Berdych in the semis, that was probably the worst I had ever played in, or hardest.

But I have had good results in the wind, so I can't complain when it's like that because I have won matches in those conditions. But it's not easy to play in.

Q. You've got Lucas Pouille tomorrow who is pretty lucky to get this far in the tournament but he's here. Is that sort of a challenge at this stage of the tournament playing somebody, a lucky loser who is through this far because of that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, I think he would have had a great chance in today's match if he'd played against Monaco. Yeah, for sure. He killed Ferrer the other day 4 and 1, which is a fantastic result on clay.

You know, I know how difficult he is to beat on this surface. He's maybe not been playing that well this year as in previous years, but that's a very good win.

He beat Goffin last week in Madrid, I think. He beat Gasquet in Monte-Carlo. Yeah, this week he's been a bit fortunate with the lucky loser and maybe the withdrawal today, but he's very good. By the end of this year he'll be up close to the top 20 in the world, potentially higher. I think after this tournament he will be around 30, at least.

Yeah, it's going to be a difficult match for me. I don't expect it to be easy.

Q. This is three successive clay court Masters Series tournaments you have reached the semis or better. Do you think three or four years ago you could have imagined being that consistent on clay?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know. I think I'm getting rewarded now for the work that I put in over the years on this surface. Obviously took me time to feel comfortable on it. But I didn't sort of just give up on clay and say, You know what? This isn't my surface. I'm not going to prepare for it properly or train hard.

You know, I have had good results at Roland Garros in the past but in the Masters Series obviously not played as well. But, you know, I have also had chances to do very well in these tournaments before.

I mentioned the other day like my match in the semis against Novak here, played Rafa here a few years ago and was up a break in the third. Had a couple of good matches with Rafa in Rome, as well, obviously played good in Madrid.

I didn't necessarily expect to be doing as well as I have been the last couple of years, but I deserve it because I have worked hard for it.

Q. This is one of the great historic championships of the sport. Goes back much further than many of the non-Grand Slam events. At this stage of your career, will it still mean quite a lot to you to get to the final of a tournament with this kind of heritage?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, for sure. That's what's the nicest thing, really, about the way I played on the clay the last few years is that I haven't been in this position in these tournaments very often. You know, even in Monte-Carlo I think I had only been to the semis once before this year. They are great tournaments, like you said, with a lot of history.

Yeah, to get the chance to play in the final here would be really nice, so I will be up for tomorrow's match because of that. And, yeah, it would be nice to do that. It's a great stadium.

They have an unbelievable crowd out there. When you get out there, it's quite different. It's quite a steep court, and it's, you know, it's a nice, nice atmosphere out there.

Hopefully I can get there.

Q. David Goffin complimented you on your second serve today. Can you just share with us how much work has gone into that improvement?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, a lot of work on the court and off it. You know, you can learn things obviously on the court, but sometimes, you know, you have to see things with your own eyes and watch things.

I spoke about it last week quite a bit, you know, how I learned and different people I spoke to to try and improve that side of things. I mean, it gives me more confidence when I go out there on the court, and I'm happy I made that improvement.

But I need to keep it up now and try and get it even better. I think it definitely helps on the slower surface, but I think I will get the biggest benefits from that on the quicker courts. I'm hoping it makes a big difference during the grass court season.

Q. Obviously there is a lot of interest in Rafa and Novak's match at the moment. Will you take time to go and watch the rest of it? How significant do you think the result is for each of the two players at this stage in the season?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I think -- I don't know how much of it I'm going to watch. My daughter is here, so I go see her now. Because of the late finish yesterday, I didn't get to see her before she went to bed, so I'll go see her now.

I watched the first few games of the match. I watched it while I was down in the locker room stretching and stuff.

No, I think it's an important match for both. Obviously when you're playing against the best players, especially with, you know, a major event just round the corner, you want to perform well. If Rafa were to win, I'm sure that would give him a big boost confidence-wise with the French coming up.

You know, for Novak, you know, he'll want to keep the momentum going. Yes, it's an important match, for sure.

Q. You already talk about tennis and the match of today. I know also you're a big fan of football. You know in Italy here we got completely crazy for Leicester and Claudio Ranieri. He's from Rome. I wanted to know if you follow Leicester City, the miracle, and what do you think about Ranieri and his huge sport miracle?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I follow the Premier League loads when I'm away, because you can watch it pretty much anywhere in the world. Yeah, I think everyone, you know, the beginning of the season and even like halfway through, even two-thirds of the way through the season, everyone was expecting, you know, them to start to struggle, maybe pick up a few injuries and drop off a little bit and it never happened. You know, they deserved to win. They were fantastic pretty much the whole year.

It looked, just from watching their matches, like they were fighting extremely hard for each other in every single match right through to the end of each game. That goes obviously a long way in sport. I think, you know, it's exciting for the Premier League and for football in general. It got everyone talking about it.

Yeah, it was a great effort from them.

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