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November 16, 2016

Andy Murray

London, England, United Kingdom

A. MURRAY/K. Nishikori

6-7, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was obviously a very long match after a very long season. How are you feeling physically?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, a bit tired obviously. But you tend to feel it more the following day, sort of in terms like stiffness and soreness in the body.

I was in the ice bath after the match. That obviously helps kind of make you feel a bit better. But, yeah, sort of 10, 12 hours afterwards the body starts to stiffen up. I'm sure tomorrow I'll be a bit sore. But it's positive I get a day's rest, a day's recovery tomorrow.

Q. Could you describe a bit how it feels, some of those rallies you're playing. He's great at working the ball around the court. Do your legs feel like they're full of lead shot? Gasping for air after some of them.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, especially the first set, beginning part of the second set, he was dictating almost all of the rallies. At one stage they put up the graphic on the screen in the first set, said I made 96% of returns, which at that stage means maybe I missed one. There wasn't any quick points on his serve. There was a lot of rallies one after another.

Often on a surface like this, you'll play some quicker points where you maybe get aced or don't make returns. But it was kind of every point there was rallies, and you're having to play four, five shots.

It's tough. Like you say, he does move the ball around extremely well, better than anyone maybe. So, yeah, it was physically tough. Thankfully I was getting quite a few free points on my own serve, which helped.

It wasn't easy because I wasn't able to dictate many of the points, it felt. More so in the third set I was able to. But not in the first couple sets. I was having to run, fight, get as many balls back as I could.

Q. What do you think actually divided today's outcome? What were the most important factors that account for your victory? What was the difference between you and Kei today?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, there was nothing really in it. I think the third set, obviously I got off to a quick start. I think the 2-1 game in the third set was very important. I had just broken him. It was a long game, that next one. I think he had one or two breakpoints there. When I won that, I think his head dropped for five minutes. I was up 5-1. Just had a big enough lead to finish it off at 5-4.

But he came back well, fought right to the end. Yeah, that was the difference really, just that I got off to a slightly quicker start in the third set.

But, I mean, he could have won in two sets, for sure. He was dictating, like I said, many points. He had a number of chances.

Q. You were fist pumping or smiling after some mistakes. I can't remember having seen you do that. Is it a new way of relieving frustration?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I think it's just more frustration. I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball as well as I would have liked. You know, like I said, he was dictating so many of the points. For me it was frustrating. Didn't matter whether I tried to hit the ball a bit harder, adjusted sort of my position on the court, nothing was sort of making me hit the ball cleaner.

As the match went on, I was getting kind of frustrated, then becoming like sarcastic with myself that I couldn't seem to hit the ball as clean as I wanted to. Yeah, I don't often do that, but today I was definitely being more sarcastic towards myself than usual.

Q. Got a great chance of going through now. How important is it to avoid the winner of the other group? The battle with Novak for No. 1 in the points, does that come into it at all? The more matches you win, the more points you get obviously.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously important to win matches to give yourself the best chance to go through. 200 points for each match here is quite a lot, as well. Obviously that increases as you get into the semis, potentially in the final.

It could come down to a match between me and Novak. Who knows what's going to happen the next few days. Just from my side, concentrate on trying to win my own matches, get through as many as I can, make it as tough as possible for Novak to jump me.

Q. At one point in the first set it looked like we were close to having 16,000 fans on their hands and knees looking for a wedding ring. How close were you to losing it off your laces?
ANDY MURRAY: I untied my laces to tie them up. The ring was right next to my shoe. I hadn't lost the ring. When I untied my shoes, the ring would obviously not stay on the laces, so...

Q. No danger then?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I wasn't in any danger of losing it there, no.

Q. The public want it, the TV executives want it. With no disrespect to anybody else involved in this tournament, do you want a shootout with Novak for the No. 1 spot this weekend?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I think for the tournament and stuff, for everyone interested in tennis, that would probably be the perfect way to finish the year. For me and I'm sure for Novak, both of our goals would be to try to win the event. For him, whether that's by beating me, someone else, or for me if it's winning against Novak or another player, it doesn't change for us as players.

Like I said, for the event and everyone interested in tennis, I'm sure that would be the most exciting way to finish the year.

Q. This is a little bit off topic. I've been reading about Under Armour's links to hunting. You're a big animal lover. Did you know about that and how does it sit with you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, there's certain hunting that's okay, but some that's obviously not, isn't ethical. I wouldn't support that. I'm not too aware of exactly what you are asking me in particular, if there's one situation or not.

But, yeah, I do love animals. Yeah, don't want animals getting killed unnecessarily for fun. I don't agree with that.

Q. Do you like the matchup with Kei Nishikori? When you see his name coming up do you relish or do you think, Another marathon?
ANDY MURRAY: Until this year, we hadn't really played I don't think many marathons. It just turned out that this year we played three extremely long matches. The ones in the Davis Cup and the US Open, obviously very tough, long five-setters. But we've played each other I don't know how many times, 10 or 11 times. It's only really been this year that I remember that we played really, really long matches.

Yeah, hopefully in the future they're not all like that.

Q. It's 20/20 vision, but have you reflected about the non-awarding of points at the Olympics in your tight race with Novak for No. 1? Have you thought about the prospect of you and Jamie both finishing No. 1?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think there should be points at the Olympics. I mean, it wouldn't make any difference whether there was. For a lot of the players, we would play it regardless of whether there's points or not. Winning a gold medal, that's been like the proudest moments of my career, doing that. I would play whether there is no points or there is points.

I'm not sure of the exact reasons for why that changed. But, yeah, I do think there should be points there. Nothing to do with me trying to get to No. 1 or not. I think a lot of the players feel the same way.

Then with me and Jamie trying to finish No. 1, yeah, I mean, it would be amazing to do that. It's obviously unlikely to happen. It's not all in our hands. But, yeah, I don't know if that's happened before. I wouldn't imagine so. But it would be nice to finish the year that way.

Q. How much was your stubbornness a major quality in winning the match today? Where does that stubbornness come from?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I don't know. I don't know if it's necessarily stubbornness that won me the match today because I actually had to change some things. I just saw, when I did the (indiscernible) just now, I was a meter closer to the baseline from the first set to the second set, which is a fairly significant change. I actually had to change when I was out on the court. If I continued doing exactly what I was doing in the first set, I probably would have lost the match.

I think actually the ability to make slight adjustments and change whilst you're out there on the court, you know, is a very positive thing, but it's very important. That's one of the things that the top players I think do well. They work things out when they're out on the court, are able to make changes and adjustments.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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