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January 16, 2017

Andy Murray

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. MURRAY/I. Marchenko

7-5, 7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Give us your verdict on that match.
ANDY MURRAY: I don't think it was the best match, to be honest. You know, the conditions there were pretty different to what we've been practicing. Last week's been pretty cool. A lot of days, it's been overcast. The temperature of the court is much cooler. When it's like that, the ball is bouncing a bit lower, a bit easier to control the ball. I was a bit tentative because of that.

And, yeah, didn't serve that well either. So you end up having to work really hard on a lot of your service games when it's like that.

It just was tough.

Q. You seemed to be criticizing yourself for not moving as well as you wanted to. Do you feel you could have covered the court better?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I didn't move that well. That's how it felt anyway. But sometimes that can also be down to the conditions, as well. The ball's flying through the air a little bit quicker, so the ball is coming onto you faster than what it was the last few days. Maybe wasn't reacting as quickly as I would have liked.

But, yeah, maybe also nerves there first round as well. It's maybe normal to feel a little bit slow on your feet or a bit heavy-legged in the first round.

Yeah, didn't move as well as I would have liked.

Q. May I ask what was wrong with the bottle in the first set? You didn't look quite sure whether you should drink from it or not.
ANDY MURRAY: It's this bottle here. I can see it now actually, but I didn't know how big it was, if it was like one liter or 600 mills. I know how much I have to drink when it's a certain temperature. I couldn't find how big it was, so I didn't know how much I was having to drink.

I still didn't see it on the court, but I can actually see it now. It's one liter (smiling).

Q. Is that something you pay attention to only in Australia because of the conditions or throughout the season it's the same?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, pay probably more attention to it in hotter conditions, not just here. I think it can be easy on days like today or tomorrow to get caught out, you know, with the conditions. So try to be really professional with my hydration stuff beforehand and during just to make sure that, you know, you don't get dehydrated or potentially have problems with cramps.

It can be easy when maybe you come from cooler conditions to playing in conditions like we did today. So try to make sure I'm on that so there's no mistakes there.

Q. Is being No. 1 all good or is there any downside to it so far?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, it's been great. I think because it's taken me so long to get there, obviously I want to try to stay there, but also I feel like I'm mature enough now to handle it. Maybe, you know, if it happens when you're very young, you might feel extra pressures, the responsibilities might feel a bit much. But I think because I'm much older and more mature, it's been good.

Q. Has it fully sunk in at this point for you 100%?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think so. I mean, really the break that I had after the Tour Finals last year, I really enjoyed that. Yeah, I mean, it sunk in then.

I spent a lot of time at home with friends and family, you know, catching up with the people that have obviously been friends with me for a long time. You know, when you chat to them about it, that's kind of when it starts to sink in.

But, yeah, I mean, now it doesn't feel too much different. But I definitely really, really enjoyed my time off at the end of last year because it took a lot out of me, but it was worth it.

Q. Your rise over the years has been incredible. So many different accomplishments both on court and off. You referred to being pushed by your opponents. On court today you talked about that. Could you talk about how you pulled off this incredible growth, this evolution in yourself.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, there's been a few periods in my career that are very important. I think one was when I lost the Wimbledon final against Roger, I spoke a lot of the time about how I was really, really upset after that match, was pretty down for a couple of days afterwards.

I spoke and I said that I kind of accepted that I may never win a Grand Slam, but that I was doing everything that I could, you know, to give myself the best chance to do that. And I was okay with that.

Once I sort of got that into my head, that I was working as hard as I could and doing the best that I could, I was fine with that.

I think learning from the people around me and the losses that I've had, as well, that's been the most important thing. I've had a lot of hard losses. It's not been easy losing in your first four slam finals. It's tough. I had a lot of questions asked, you know, of my mental state in big matches and stuff.

I just kept working, kept trying to find ways to get better. I feel like I've had a really good team around me for long periods of my career. I've had many different coaches, as well. Probably learnt bits and pieces from all of them, you know, that have helped me, too.

So it's been hard, but I've enjoyed it. Just tried to keep learning all the time.

Q. Has your role in Davis Cup, being the leader of British tennis, has that helped you personally in your growth?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I don't feel like a leader of British tennis really. Also in Davis Cup, I don't know, I don't really feel that way. I feel like, you know, part of a team that we're all working towards the same goal. I try to help the British players as much as I can. I genuinely care about British tennis.

But, yeah, I don't feel like a leader of British tennis and I don't feel like a leader of our Davis Cup team. I think Leon has done a great job of that. Yeah, all of the players have stepped up when they needed to.

Q. It is Rublev next. Kind of difficult to prepare for your next match with someone that hasn't been around very long?
ANDY MURRAY: I know a little bit about him. I never hit with him or played against him, but I've seen him play before and he goes for it. He doesn't hold back. You know, he hits a big ball.

Yeah, I saw him play a couple of years ago at the US Open against Youzhny. I watched a bit of his match there. I thought he was very good. Clean ball-striker. Like I said, goes for it.

Obviously when you get out there, things look a little bit different than they might on the TV or on the video. But try to watch a bit the next couple of days and hopefully go in with a good strategy. I'll need to work some things out myself when I'm out there.

Q. When you were a teenager coming through, you beat Federer in Cincinnati, those kind of matches when you're a teenager...
ANDY MURRAY: I played Rafa here as well, I think, when I was 19. He was only one year older than me at the time, but he was right up at the top of the game. I played a five-set match with him on the center court. That was also a big match for me actually, because it was one of the first times I played the top players in one of the big events, the slams. You know, did pretty good. Played well. Gave me a lot of confidence, that match.

Yeah, I remember those matches. Nalbandian at Wimbledon, as well. I played a few of them when I was a teenager.

Q. Nishikori said he wasn't going to play Davis Cup first round even if it's in Japan. I think Roger and Stan are not playing. Do you think it's the last proof that the format needs to change or are you all used to this going on and on and on?
ANDY MURRAY: I think tennis needs a great team competition. Davis Cup has been there. I think almost everyone I know, like, in the media, all of the tennis players, everyone seems to be in agreement that the format needs to change.

I sat in a room with all of the guys on the player council, and nobody was for the neutral venue. There were many things discussed that could change Davis Cup, we thought for the better. A lot of players agreed upon. None of that's been done yet.

The only thing that I think has been agreed is a neutral final, which I don't know many people that think that's a good idea.

So, yeah, I do think it needs to change. If the top players aren't playing, the event loses value. So, yeah, we'll see what happens in the next 18 months or so, see if there's anything we can do to make it better.

Q. You just said that everyone agreed on the fact that the neutral final was not a good idea. There was something where everybody agreed to do, you all said, We should do this? What is that?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think, like, making change really.

Q. Which one?
ANDY MURRAY: There's not one thing in particular. There was talk of making it over Saturday and Sunday rather than having Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Making the matches best-of-three sets.

Q. I know there are many different issues. There is one where everybody agreed, in particular, one change?
ANDY MURRAY: Are you asking me?

Q. Yes.
ANDY MURRAY: What all of the players agreed upon?

Q. Yes, if there was one particular detail which everybody thought it was good to do, some good change.
ANDY MURRAY: There was many things discussed, but I don't know if there was one thing that every single person in the room agreed upon, because we didn't get that far. We spoke about a lot of things for about 45 minutes, an hour, many potential changes. But I don't know if there was one thing that we all agreed upon. We chatted about a lot of different changes.

The one thing that we all agreed upon was that the neutral venue is not right, and that's what happened.

Q. In terms of your knighthood, it's obviously an incredible honor. Has that had any distraction to your leadup to this event? How have your peers treated you? Any difference in the way they've interacted with you at all?
ANDY MURRAY: No. Everyone around tennis, everyone that I know, yeah, has been exactly the same. I don't feel like it's been a distraction. It's something I've had to speak about, obviously quite a lot. I've been asked about it in interviews or on the court after matches and stuff. But, yeah, I haven't found it distracting really.

I mean, I found out about it four or five weeks ago. Maybe if it happened a day or so, two days before the tournament... But I've had enough time to get my head around it.

Q. How mixed are your emotions when you think about the Australian Open? You've done very well, but never won it.
ANDY MURRAY: Honestly, they're totally positive. I have had a lot of tough losses here, for sure. But I love it here. I love playing here. I played some of my best tennis on hard courts here. Played, you know, some great matches as well. But, yeah, just haven't managed to win the final.

But, you know, I keep coming back to try. Yeah, I'll keep doing that until I'm done. But I still feel like I got a few years left to try and do it. Yeah, hopefully it will be this year.

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