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May 15, 2016

Andy Murray

Rome, Italy

A. MURRAY/N. Djokovic

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Happy Birthday. We see you can win sometimes on your birthday. How satisfied you are? How important is for you to beat Djokovic on clay and win a tournament like this? More than 85 years since a British won this tournament, in 1931. Used to win Davis Cup after 80 years for Great Britain, to win Wimbledon after 77 years. So it takes a long time, and then a British wins.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, like obviously the history part is nice. But for me, you know, more important, looking at the players that have won here, you know, some of the best players of all time have won this event. There's very few years where there's been, like, a surprise winner, almost.

It's mostly great players have won this event. So I'm very proud to have my name on the trophy. Today against Novak is nice. I know, you know, he didn't play his best today. But, you know, still some tough moments for me in the second set. I saved the break points well and held strong. And, yeah, overall it was a great week for me. I didn't lose a set.

Winning a clay court Masters Series, last year I certainly didn't think I'd be doing that multiple times over and giving myself a lot of opportunities to do that.

So it's been a good week.

Q. Congratulations. You served very well during all the tournament. Do you think this is the many secrets of your great run in Rome?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think so. I mean, the thing that's cost me points has not been my serve. It's more made a few mistakes in the second set after my serve but wasn't like, you know, Novak or, you know, really in any of the matches that I played, was my serve a problem.

You know, last week, the same thing in Madrid, as well. I served extremely well, and it gives me a lot of confidence in my game. When I'm serving well, I feel like most matches I create opportunities to break serve. So if I'm holding my serve comfortably and not dropping serve much, it makes a big difference to the rest of my game.

Q. You have had plenty of good wins throughout your career, but where does this one rank? In particular, how significant is it, given that Novak had such a good record against you recently?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know how significant it is. I mean, you know, each time I go up against him, I know I have to play a great match to win. Sometimes you play great tennis and you don't win, because, you know, he's such a good player or great player, even.

But, yeah, any time you beat the best player in the world it's a big win. The finals of a Masters Series on clay again is something that's a new experience for me. It's not really something I have done throughout my career, so it's nice to still be sort of achieving new things and reaching new goals, you know, at this stage of my career.

So I'm really happy about that. And I had great preparation now going into the French Open as well with a lot of matches. I have played against Rafa a couple of times, Novak a couple of times. You know, not won all of the matches, but competed extremely well even in the ones I have lost.

So it's been really a good preparation.

Q. When you saw Novak battle so hard yesterday against Nishikori, what was in your mind this morning? That it will be an opportunity for you to finally win against him?
ANDY MURRAY: You know, you never know. Novak is obviously a very strong guy and has come back from, you know, a lot of tough matches before and, you know, produced great tennis.

But I knew for me I was extremely fresh, because I played quick matches really throughout the whole tournament. There was none that were particularly tough physically. So I knew that physically I was fresh, but I also hadn't been pushed that hard whereas he had been. That's why I was really happy with the second set, in particular, because he did have chances, and I was behind in some of my service games and I responded well. That was pleasing.

But like I said at the start, I know that, you know, Novak had a tough few days. The match with Rafa, I didn't see it, but from what I heard it was a very tough match. And last night, as well. It's not easy playing late matches and having to come back the next day. That's one of the challenging things about the Masters Series. In the slams you don't have that, because you get a day's rest. It's not easy.

Q. Congratulations. Munich and Madrid last year and now Rome and final in Madrid. Final against Novak on the clay. You are potential winner for Roland Garros. Do you think to be the same level on clay like other surface in this moment or not?
ANDY MURRAY: Sorry, do I feel like...

Q. The right ground for you, clay, like other surface, more fast?
ANDY MURRAY: To be honest, I mean, now I've played well on all of the surfaces. I mean, the last couple of years, clay has probably been my most successful surface, which, you know, I never, again, never expected that to be the case, but not complaining about it.

And, yeah, going to Roland Garros, like I said, with a lot of confidence and, you know, really, really good preparation, you know, slightly different conditions there. You know, over best of five, as well, takes a little bit more physical and mental strength.

But I feel like I'm on the right track. So hopefully I can have a good run there.

Q. You have become a specialist of clay. How much you have -- I mean, in the beginning of your career, have you never think about become one day a specialist of clay?
ANDY MURRAY: I kind of answered it a little bit. I never expected to be having the results I have been having on clay. But if you actually look at the past results, I have had opportunities to get to the final of Monte-Carlo and get to the final of the event here. I served for the match against Novak a few years ago and had a chance against Rafa a few years ago, too.

Maybe, you know, maybe I didn't believe enough in myself. I always thought clay was my worst and hardest surface for me, but then last year, getting some wins against the best players made me realize a little bit -- you know, I had always been told, my coaches had said to me that clay should really be my best surface, but it took me a long time probably to gain a little bit of confidence. But also I did make huge improvements in my movement on the surface, as well.

That has sort of changed my mentality when I go on the court a lot. I don't feel like I'm off-balance anymore, and I feel like I can chase most balls down. And, you know, it's an easy surface for me to move on now.

My back feels way, way better than it did a few years ago. I have to thank my team for that for all the hard work that they have put in and the changes they made to my training program, you know, to help me with that. So I have to credit them.

Q. How important was it for you to not only play at a high level but also be at a high level mentally because you were playing someone who has obviously had a very good record against you? You also had some pretty tough conditions out there with the drizzle and just heavy conditions.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was important. I knew -- and that's what I learned kind of from the match in Madrid was that I played really well in the second and third sets, but the game where I got broken to, couple games where I got broken in the third set against Novak in the Madrid final, I didn't play good games.

You know, I have no problem getting broken when, you know, your opponent, Novak, is obviously going to play great tennis at times. But it's frustrating if you come off and you maybe haven't taken your chances like I had in the last game there, maybe seven break points or something, and then also sort of gave him a break of serve. Against the best players, you can't do that.

So today I wanted to be a little bit more solid, better concentration, more intensity on every single point and not just, you know, here and there. I did that a little bit better today.

Q. This is the first tournament won by you since you're a father. Were you worried about this, coming since January? To be a father gives you more satisfaction when you win something or doesn't make any change?
ANDY MURRAY: I have only played four tournaments, so it wasn't like it had been going on for a very long time.

But, yeah, that's obviously nice. You know, it wasn't something I was really thinking about or concerned about at all, but, yeah, it's been a big change in my life.

And now, you know, I'm very, very positive about that. I think that it's just going to have a positive effect on my tennis and the rest of my career. Gives me a bit of extra motivation, something more to play for.

Yeah, the last thing I looked at before I went on court today was a picture of my daughter, so yeah, that's -- yeah, I feel like that's what I'm playing for now so that, yeah, in a few years hopefully, you know, she can be proud of what I have achieved.

Q. I don't think you have underestimated the French Open, but this year you're going in as a real contender, maybe never like this year. How does that change your mindset going into the event, if it does?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I had kind of a similar feeling last year, so I experienced that a bit last year because I went in having -- hadn't actually lost any matches on clay going into the French Open, and I played extremely well going in. So I experienced that last year and dealt with it pretty good.

But, yeah, I mean, I have been in the position many times in slams over the years where I have probably never been the favorite to win the slam but one of the top few contenders, so I don't think that should be a problem for me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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