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April 19, 2017

Andy Murray

Monte Carlo, Monaco

A. MURRAY/G. Muller

7-5, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was a slightly edgy start, then you seemed to get more and more into it as the first set progressed.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I definitely played better as the match went on. Obviously first service game was not ideal. But, you know, when you are coming back from not really serving for a few weeks, it's I think normal. You know, maybe technique changed a little bit. You get into the match, and it's tricky.

So I served a little bit better as the match went on, which was good. But I was happy with how I hit the ball. I hit the ball clean from the back. I was dictating a lot of points once I got into the rallies. It was just sometimes the first couple of shots, like, the serve or the return, could have been a little bit better.

But it was okay for a first match in a while.

Q. Did you play completely pain-free? Was there some apprehension, residual pain?
ANDY MURRAY: My elbow's always a bit sore - always. That's nothing to do with this week. The last two years, always when I serve, it's just a little bit sore. But it was nothing out of the ordinary today.

Like I said, I did serve a little bit better as the match went on. I'm sure that that side of my game will get better with each match that I play, the more confidence that I get in the serve.

But, you know, the rest of my game, which is the things I've been able to do and practice a lot the last couple of weeks, were good.

You know, if the serve keeps getting better, then I'll do much better in my matches.

Q. What is it like when you're away from the tour for five weeks? Is it frustrating? A relief? A good rest? Is it a combination of all those sort of things?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it depends a little bit on how you've been playing or how you're feeling. I mean, sometimes obviously having a break, if you're feeling tired, you know, fatigued, it's great. Sometimes also, though, when you're winning and playing really well, you don't think so much about the fatigue side of things. You sort of want to keep going. You don't want to stop obviously when you're doing well.

But yeah, I mean, obviously missing Miami was a shame for me because I love that tournament. I spend so much time there that, you know, it's one of my favorite ones during the year. I played well there in the past. So that was tough.

But, you know, I did probably need it. I needed a little bit of a break. I enjoyed it. Like I spent more time at home with my family. I got slightly longer to prepare on the clay maybe than I would have done.

You know, there was some positives in it.

Q. You get a break when you need it. It depends on what? More concentration on your side? Care and attention? Also, more nervousness for him?
ANDY MURRAY: I think it can be a combination of a lot of things. Sometimes, I mean, a lot of people say if someone serves for the set or serves for the match and gets broken, I don't know, fans or spectators, sometimes the media as well, the favorite thing is like, Oh, he choked. Sometimes you actually have to watch the points and see what happens.

Sometimes the guy can play a great game to break back. Sometimes, yeah, guys do get nervous as well, can choke a little bit. But that isn't the case every time.

You know, I don't think there Gilles played the best game. But I made a bunch of returns. I remember the one at Love-15 where he hit a really good wide serve, I hit a really good chip return up the line.

But, yeah, you obviously are maybe a little bit more focused than you are at the beginning of the sets. Yeah, there's a little bit more pressure on the guy trying to serve out.

Q. You said the break gave you time to spend with your family. How important is that for you in terms of spending time with them, getting some time away from the court?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think everyone enjoys spending time with their family. It's important to do that as much as possible. Sometimes it's tricky for the tennis players because of how much we travel, and the schedule can be difficult.

Yeah, it's been nice this year. I got to spend lots of time with my family, which I've enjoyed. Hope they have as well (smiling).

Yeah, that's it. Any time I get the chance to do that is great.

Q. The surroundings here are quite remarkable. I'm curious to what extent you take that in during a practice session or during a match even? Does it inspire you? What role do the surroundings, the atmosphere of the tournament, play?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, all of the players are going to be different obviously. For me personally, the weather is the biggest thing here which makes the practicing and the training so much easier. It's very rarely windy here. It's not too hot, not too humid. It's, like, perfect conditions for tennis.

Last couple of weeks for me have been nice because I was training at the Mouratoglou academy. The weather has been perfect every day. That's what I enjoy.

Obviously the surroundings are incredible. But for practice, if the surroundings were amazing, like in Scotland, you have great views, but the weather's so bad, it's not as much fun practicing when it's like that.

Q. Physically, apart from the elbow, first clay match of the year, how do you feel elsewhere in the body?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I feel good. You know, I've done a decent amount of training. Obviously, you know, playing matches is the biggest test.

But, look, apart from serving today, a few returns, I moved pretty good. I played some smart shots. I was quite happy with how I hit the ball. I was timing it very clean during the points.

Yeah, my body felt pretty good. Obviously we'll see how I pull up tonight and tomorrow morning, but I imagine I'd be fine.

Q. Reaching the final in Paris last year, does it change your mindset early on in this clay season, thinking, I want to reach the last step? Does it change anything or...
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I definitely come to the clay court season this year - and it was the same last year, as well - with much higher expectations than I had done in the past.

For me personally, this week, sort of my short-term expectations aren't extremely high, but I'm expecting by Madrid, Rome and the French Open to be feeling good, you know, hopefully challenging for those titles.

I don't see why not. I've improved most years on the clay. I learnt a lot the last couple years. I won obviously some of the big tournaments, in Madrid and Rome. Got close in Paris, as well, so...

I'm looking forward to the next few weeks.

Q. I have a question about Roland Garros I have asked to every player. I want to know is there any match in Roland Garros not that you played but you saw on TV or maybe from the stadium that you keep in mind, and why?
ANDY MURRAY: Hmm. I mean, I remember Tim Henman's match with Coria in the semifinals. I remember watching that at the time. I've also watched it a few times since then. I've watched it online a couple of times.

You know, the final, as well with Coria and Gaudio I think was a memorable match. But I'd say probably Henman-Coria in the semifinals for me.

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