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January 13, 2017

Gilles Muller

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

G. MULLER/V. Troicki

6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. (Question about serve.)
GILLES MULLER: Yeah, I think so. I served very well today, especially in the crucial moments when I was down break points with 30-All. I always managed to serve a first big serve.

Yeah, it helped me a lot. Especially in the second set when I was also starting to struggle a little bit with the heat. In those pressure moments, the serve was there. That's what got me through.

Q. Do you feel like this is the best you've served in your career?
GILLES MULLER: Whew. That's tough to say. Not really, no. I think I can do better. I just looked at the stats. I think my first-serve percentage was below 70%, so, yeah, that's always something I'm trying to do is serve around 70%, but it's a little bit below.

I think I can serve first serves a bit more often. Overall, it's good. Talking about low percentage stuff here. So, I mean, I'm pretty happy with it, but I think I can do better. I think I have also served already better.

Q. You played your first final 15 years ago and tomorrow is your sixth of them. Where is the, let's say, easiest? Considering your opponent, whoever it will be, how does it make you feel? You feel you're close finally to the achievement?
GILLES MULLER: I think a final is never easy. Doesn't matter who you play. I mean, because the guy I'm playing against tomorrow won four matches, also.

I mean, those guys are confident. They play well together. And, so, it's not going to be an easy one. Definitely not.

I remember when I was playing my first final, and I was also playing well in the final, but, yeah, it's going to be a tough one. I'm trying to focus on myself, trying to recover well today.

I mean, it was a tough match out there in the heat, even though it was only two sets. But still, it was still quite tough. All the focus is on myself, and let's see what happens tomorrow.

Q. What were the emotions like in the tiebreak when you were up 5-2, 5-All, match point came and went. Was it a mental battle?
GILLES MULLER: Yeah. Especially, yeah, like I said already, I was struggling with the heat. Obviously when I was 5-2 up and then match point, obviously I wanted it to be over (smiling).

But, yeah, then when he came back, I know Viktor is a great fighter on the court. He never gives up. You have to play until the last ball is played.

Yeah, it was tough. I knew it was going to be very tough if I had to go to a third set. So I was really happy when I finished the match.

Q. That was a physical battle. But more like the mental battle, like, were you nervous at that stage, or was it just...
GILLES MULLER: No, I didn't feel really nervous, to be honest, no. I think it was more -- I was more worried mentally because I was struggling physically. Let's put it that way.

I was not nervous about winning the match or losing the match. I just wanted it to be over. I just wanted to come in here and feel the air conditioning. (Smiling.)

It was not like I was nervous to win, no.

Q. You were getting quite frustrated going into the second set. How did you manage to keep your emotions in check?
GILLES MULLER: I don't know. I mean, at some points it was really tough to keep myself together. At few moments, I was almost losing the plot, you could say, because I didn't have any chances on his serve. I was really struggling to get balls in play when he was serving.

I really thought, jeez, how I am going to be able to break him? Then again, I was serving pretty good, so I was confident. Still, I had two or three games where I was breakpoints down, I was 30-All, some crucial moments.

I felt he was the better player in the second set, but yeah, just told myself to hang in there and wait for my chances. And then in the breaker, I just, yeah, went for it on the first point, got a break right away, and then it was a little bit of Roller-Coaster in the tiebreak.

I was break up right away. Then 1-All again. Yeah, it was kind of tough mentally. Somehow I managed to hold on.

Q. You ran out of challenges. Was that a concern? Do you think you need to be more conservative with your challenging?
GILLES MULLER: Well, I think I was pretty unlucky with the three times I had. I think the ball was out always by this, by a millimeter. I had to take those challenges.

Yeah, there were some at those big moments. I think one was a first serve at 30-All, I think. And, so, those are moments you have to take. The other one, I was pretty sure it was out. Even though, I think the score was 40-15 on his serve. I mean, there is still a chance to come back to 40-30.

I don't think I took those challenges the wrong time. I think I had to take them. Obviously I was, yeah, worried about it. Then, I think, when was it? I think 5-6 I had a first serve on the deuce side, and I thought it was good, but I didn't have any challenges left. Yeah, I was worried about that.

Q. Very short turnaround between now and the Australian Open. What do you make of your performance at the Grand Slam?
GILLES MULLER: You know what? Obviously the Australian Open is the biggest tournament. You want to be ready for that one, and you want to play well there. But all the focus is on my final tomorrow.

I'm very happy to be able to play that final tomorrow. I mean, I played semifinals the last two years. Only one more day to be here, one more match to play. I was able to play well the other years, so I don't think one more match is going to be a big issue.

Again, I'm just focusing on the match tomorrow. I saw the draw. I know who I'm playing in Melbourne, but all my focus is on that final tomorrow.

Q. You have yet to win an ATP final. How do you think that changes tomorrow?
GILLES MULLER: I don't know if it's gonna change. Like I said, I mean, I'm trying to focus on myself.

I'm trying to recover well and to be really fit for tomorrow for that match. And then just play my game. Just try to go out there and enjoy it.

When I think about it, I could have been out in the first round. I saved match points in the first round. I think I'm lucky to be there. I'm just trying to enjoy that moment and then see what happens.

Q. Younger players, 21, 22, is it great to see somebody who is 30-something to be back in the finals?
GILLES MULLER: I don't know. That's what you guys have to think about that. I don't know. I'm happy to be there, obviously, yeah.

I mean, there is many good young players out there, but yeah, I think there is also many old players out there which are still playing good.

Yeah, I mean, I can just talk for myself. I'm really happy to start the season like that. I never had a final this early in the season in my career. So to start like that is promising for the rest of the year, and hopefully, yeah, I can take that and feel confident in my next matches, in my next tournaments, throughout the year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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