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January 14, 2017

Gilles Muller

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

G. MULLER/D. Evans

7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. What's it mean to be sitting here as a champion?
GILLES MULLER: Well, it means a lot. Like you can see, I was pretty emotional out there on the court.

Yeah, it means a lot. I was waiting a long time. Played my first final in 2004. We are 2017 now, and I waited 13 years to win my first title. I'm just very happy.

I couldn't have imagined, when I arrived here, to be in the final. And then to win it now is just, yeah, it's crazy.

Q. Were the tears reflecting on the journey, having your family in the crowd?
GILLES MULLER: Yeah, both of them. My kids are a big motivation for me to play tennis. When I had my big injury in 2013, one of my motivations was to keep playing, to keep coming back so they would see and know what their dad was doing. And they are in the stands, watching me play, and to win this title in front of them was just amazing.

Q. The first final 2004, serving for the match, were you able to keep your mind still or were those thoughts coming into it?
GILLES MULLER: Not at the beginning of the game. At 40-Love, all of a sudden, yeah, when I was one point away I was getting pretty tight. I was not really thinking about 2004. I was just thinking about winning my first title.

It was, for the past two or three years, it was probably my biggest goal to win a title. I always dreamed of that, and I was so close last year. I had match points in Newport in the finals against Karlovic, so I was very scared and worried that I was going to be one of those players that maybe would never win a title.

Now I have it, and it just feels great.

Q. What was it like to receive the trophy from Rod Laver?
GILLES MULLER: I didn't know that before the match. I wasn't expecting that. Yeah, it was a great honor. Just unbelievable. Everything that happened tonight was like in a movie. Rod Laver there, standing on centre court with the trophy, my kids in the stands, can't ask for more.

Q. You're going to break into the top 30 for the first time in your career. Can you get better at this stage?
GILLES MULLER: Who knows? Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think when I look back at last year, I ended up being 34. And there was a couple of matches that I could have/should have won and I could have been better.

So, yeah, I think if you look at some of the players that are still in front of me, there is a couple of guys that are older than me. And, like, when you look at Feliciano Lopez, I think he reached his best ranking age 33, 34. I'm not sure. Ivo Karlovic has had an unbelievable last year. He was injured in the beginning of the year, and then he had six months where he was winning everything. I believe he's 36 or 37.

So, yeah, I think I missed a couple of years because of some injuries when I was younger, and, so, I want to use the time that I have now to be the best player I can.

Q. Are you physically trying or do anything different compared to, say, 10 years ago?
GILLES MULLER: Yeah, sure. I mean, I have to, also. My body is getting older. So you feel the difference when you're 20 and when you're 33.

You have to be more careful about stuff. I'm more disciplined about my life outside of the tennis court, but I'm also working differently. I'm working more specifically, maybe less time but more quality, things you learn while in 13, 14 years of career.

Q. Why do you think that is, maybe, on a more general level? You mentioned all those players having their best kind of career success at this age, and you're one of them. Why do you think players are flourishing now into their 30s when they didn't used to?
GILLES MULLER: I mean, I can only speak for myself. For me, it has to do with my injury in 2013. I had problems with my elbow. I was out for seven months. I couldn't hold a racquet.

But during that time, I was working physically very hard, and I got myself into the best shape I have ever been in.

Since then I'm able to play consistently throughout the whole season and without missing tournaments because of little injuries, without having bad weeks every month. So I'm able to play consistent throughout the year, and I think this is, for me, for myself, what changed everything.

Q. Maybe your injury was a blessing rather than a bad thing?
GILLES MULLER: I thought about that a couple of times. I mean, it's strange to say that, but I think that injury was something that helped me to get into better shape, for sure.

Q. Physically, do you feel you'll be all right for the first round in Melbourne?
GILLES MULLER: I don't know. I'm just enjoying this moment now. (Smiling.)

I mean, I haven't thought about Melbourne. I know the draw was yesterday. I know who I'm playing. But I really tried to put that aside and just focus on this tournament here.

Again, the chance to win the title was so big and I didn't want anything coming between that thought and that focus, so I didn't think about the Australian Open. Every focus was on this match today.

I don't want to think about Melbourne. I just want to enjoy the moment, go back to the hotel now, rest, and enjoy this moment with the family. Yeah, just don't think about anything. Just enjoy it.

Q. How big is this news going to be back home, do you think?
GILLES MULLER: Yeah, I don't know. I think it's -- yeah, it's going to be big, because they are also waiting for long time now for title. Last year I was close a few times. I have many friends and family that believed in me for a long time. So, finally, to bring this title home, I think, means a lot to a lot of people in Luxembourg, too.

Q. Looking at the Australian Open again, if you are physically all right and able to compete at the level you want with this confidence, do you feel you can challenge and go into the second week?
GILLES MULLER: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I don't have an easy draw, but yeah, I mean, obviously if I don't take confidence from this week, where would I take it from? I mean, I have to take some confidence from this week, and I look forward to go to Melbourne and get ready for my match on Tuesday.

Every match is different. Every week is different. Now, in Melbourne, I have to start from scratch again. It's going to be first round, a tough one against Taylor Fritz, a very talented player. And, yeah, it's not because I won this week that everything is going to just fall from the sky next week. I have to work hard, and, like I said, it starts from zero again.

Q. Dan was just in here before and said he just had real difficulty reading your serve tonight. He couldn't get a play on it. Do you think that was the key for tonight? Were there other things that were important for you?
GILLES MULLER: Yeah, I mean, obviously the serve is always a weapon for me, but I think the most important thing was to stay calm. It was quite difficult to play out there. There was little wind sometimes. I never played at night this week so far, so the conditions are totally different.

It was not easy, because I don't think that I was playing very well. Sometimes I was not feeling the ball very well. Sometimes the ball was just flying. Sometimes hitting my racquet. I was struggling to get a feel.

So, yeah, the most important thing was not to let the frustration come up too much and just focus on what I had to do. I think I did pretty good.

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