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October 16, 2016

Andy Murray

Shanghai, China

A. MURRAY/R. Bautista Agut

7-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This is becoming a bit of a Sunday habit, but well done. Great tournament. Good title win. What are your thoughts this week as opposed to last week?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I thought that I did feel like I played better this week than last week. You know, in all of the matches I was hitting the ball pretty clean. Obviously I think I played four top 20 players or top 25 players this week. And, yeah, played some really good tennis against all of them.

It wasn't, you know, that easy to come in and play really well straightaway, because the conditions were very different to Beijing. But I got a really good start against Johnson and kind of kept it up from there. Got better each match, I think.

Q. Congratulations, Andy. You're having a sensational year. Can you put your finger on what's been the difference this year compared to previously?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it's obviously difficult to say exactly why, but, you know, obviously the middle part of the year, really after the French Open -- I had done well over the clay court season, but obviously having Ivan back on my team helped during that period. And winning Wimbledon was really a big boost to my confidence after I had had, you know, quite a few tough losses in the slams the last few years. That kind of gave me a lot more belief in myself that, you know, that I could win the major competitions again.

You know, it helped motivate me. I have obviously quite a different team this year with Ivan and Jamie. You know, since, yeah, really since the French Open, you know, played the best three months of tennis of my career.

Q. Congratulations. You are on the way of reaching the world No. 1. Do you think what is the most important thing is?
ANDY MURRAY: The most important thing to reach No. 1 is to be extremely consistent throughout the whole year, you know, which I have done really since the clay court season, so since April.

But, you know, the start of the year I played very well at the Australian Open, and then I didn't play through February and then didn't play well in Indian Wells and Miami.

So I have done a good job of that for pretty much the last five months, but to get to No. 1 you need to do it for nine, ten months and I haven't done that yet. I'll need to keep up the way that I'm playing the next seven, eight tournaments that I play through until the clay court season again next year if I want to get there.

Q. It seems when Ivan is involved, even if he's not there, you seem to just have a calm and a comfort level that maybe you don't seem to have at other times. Maybe you do. Any reason you can think of what he brings to the table that gives you that?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, to be honest, I mean, I need to give the credit, as well, to the rest of my team. You know, I haven't been on the court with Ivan since the US Open, and I have done a lot of the work with, you know, Jamie Delgado on my game. I have really enjoyed working with him, too. I think I knew him very well from beforehand. We work very well together, you know, and I think all of my team helps, is helped a lot by Ivan's input.

So when they speak to him, and even when I'm not involved in the conversations, I do think it helps them because he's a strong character with, you know, a lot of experience of competing and playing at the top of the game. And also, he's coached me before so he knows me well, too.

I think he works well with my team and, yeah, even when he's not there, he spends a lot of time chatting to Jamie, as well, and they have worked very well together.

So, you know, it's a team effort. It's not just one member. If, you know, Ivan didn't speak to Jamie, then these last few weeks he wouldn't be giving much help there. The two of them have communicated very well, and it's working very well just now.

Q. When you arrived in China two weeks ago, how were you feeling just having not played or hit many balls for a couple of weeks? Would you have ever expected you could win 20 or 26?
ANDY MURRAY: No, no chance. I mean, I thought there is no reason why I couldn't play well once I got here, but in Beijing, start of the tournament, I had very low expectations because I arrived Sunday morning and played my first match Tuesday afternoon, which that would be the latest I have arrived for a tournament, you know, in a long time, really.

I mean, obviously, you know, I arrived late here because I came from Beijing, but actually, you know, having not played for a couple of weeks, I would never arrive that close to an event.

So I didn't expect to play well in Beijing. I didn't start the tournament great. But as it went on, I started to feel better and I was obviously feeling a lot fresher having taken eight, nine days off after Davis Cup than I did before, I think, because it had been a really long summer for me. So now I have learnt from that, and now I'll go take four, five days off now and, you know, rest my body and try and be as fresh as I can for the next few events.

Q. You just chasing for the world No. 1. Novak said No. 1 is no longer important thing anymore. Do you think less pressure winning the title? Are you happy it's more easy to achieve that goal than a week ago, I think?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, I mean, obviously the more matches you win, the more chance there is of you improving your ranking. I mean, that's how it works.

But what matters is what my priorities are, and right now I just want to finish these next few tournaments this year as best as I can.

I have never played particularly well at the O2 in London. You know, normally in Paris I hadn't played that well until last year, but I do like indoor conditions usually.

So I will try and finish this year as strong as I can. And next year if the opportunity is there to reach No. 1, then I want to try and take it. But it's not going to be easy because, you know, Novak plays great tennis indoors, and also his record at the beginning of the year, as well, is phenomenal in Australia and Indian Wells, Miami. It's going to be a tough thing to achieve that. I'm aware of that. I was close-ish right now, but it's going to be really tough still.

Q. Bautista said before in the press conference when he look in your eyes he see the new No. 1. Are you feeling that way? Do you feel you have a lot of chances?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I for sure have a chance just now. I mean, I'm not suggesting I have no chance of getting to No. 1. I'm just still aware how difficult it is going to be to get there.

You know, I still have to win three, four tournaments, you know. That's not an easy thing to do. I have never had success like I have had the last few months in my career, so, you know, to keep that going, I'm aware it's going to be a difficult thing to do. I need to keep myself motivated and be smart with my schedule and my time off, as well.

But I believe I can get there. I definitely believe I can get there. You know, these last few months have proved that to me.

And, yeah, I'll give it my best shot to do it, because I may never get another chance. I may never get another chance to be No. 1, so I'll give it my best shot to do that while I have the opportunity.

Q. You kind of answered this, but you did an interview I saw on Sky with Marcus Buckland, and you said it's mathematically possible this year, you're not really thinking about that and you're kind of more zeroing in on March, February, March next year. Did I get that right?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think that's where the biggest chance for me is because I didn't play at all during February last year, or this year, and I won only two matches in Miami and Indian Wells combined, you know, whereas Novak won those two events.

So, yeah, that's a period of the year where I don't have many points to defend, obviously. I made the final in Paris, made the final at the Australian Open, as well. So, you know, that's the period of the year where I have the opportunity to gain and add quite a lot of points or I'm not defending anything.

I think that's the time that's most realistic, because although points-wise it's possible to do it this year, Novak is going to win a lot of matches between now and the end of the year. I'm aware of that, and I expect that to happen.

So, you know, there is more chance to do it next year, I think.

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