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September 8, 2018

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Jamie Murray

New York, NY, USA


2-6, 6-3, 11-9

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you explain what it feels like to be holding a trophy again after what happened 14 months ago, Bethanie?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It was a little emotional getting that win. I thought I did a really good job throughout all the matches, kind of putting that aside and just going out there and playing tennis. I really enjoyed being on the court with Jamie.

I go out there because I love tennis and I love playing. To hold the trophy in the end, you know, it's amazing.

I just talked a lot about the journey. Appreciating the journey is really the real win. These titles come. When they do they're amazing. But it really only lasts a few minutes.

The big win about this and the best part about this was the whole two weeks that we got to play. We really enjoyed ourselves out there, came up with some big wins, played together as a team. That's the reason we're holding this trophy.

Q. Must have been some point after the injury you thought it was not possible.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, I'm pretty stubborn actually. My husband told me there's no way he thought I could be back here. When I went down at Wimbledon, I remember asking after a few F-bombs. I remember asking Justin if I was going to be able to walk off the court.

He's like, No, babe, you're not going to be able to, amongst a lot of other things that were talked about in that moment.

I didn't think about winning a title months ago. I was too far away from that. My win had to be bending my knee from 90 degrees to 95. That had to be good enough. If I thought about holding a US Open trophy last year, I would have been discouraged.

That's how we got here: it's match by match, point by point. It's how I've gotten here, is taking those little wins every day from last year at Wimbledon and really choosing my attitude. I really had to look at myself in the mirror and decide how I wanted to wake up every day despite my circumstances not being how I envisioned them.

I think I just kept that philosophy throughout my rehab, throughout my comeback. Here I am sitting next to Jamie holding the trophy.

JAMIE MURRAY: I watched Beth and Justin quite a lot, like even last year when I was going to play mixed doubles, some of the doubles matches. They were in the gym together. I mean, you were barely able to do anything, weren't you? I imagine Justin was so patient with the whole process because it's such a difficult thing to go through, I imagine.

To be here like a year later is a pretty incredible effort, I think.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Last year I was up in the gym here at US Open, and I was practicing walking without my crutches here at US Open last year. I remember I think it was probably one of my first consistent ones that I was able to walk heel-to-toe up here in the gym.

Q. Bethanie, talk about that lob volley.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know, I've been watching Jamie hit these shots for the last couple weeks. Just thought, I think this is a good time to hit this shot (laughter).

I got the lowest volley I've ever had, and thought, You know what, she's closing the net hard, I'm just going to touch this right over her racquet.

No, it was very in the moment. I think that's when I'm happy to be playing like that because I'm relying on my instincts, touch. It's not a volley I hit regularly. I went for it. I guess I decided it was a good time. That was the moment.

JAMIE MURRAY: That was the moment.

Q. There were a couple times you were down on the knee to hit a volley. Is there a moment where you're thinking about this injury, or just that it runs through your head at all?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Actually, no. For me, because I've done so many movements in my matches and my practices, I've really gained that trust in my knee. I've been able to go down in I-formation, been able to go wide on a backhand volley, land on that leg. I've been able to do that same movement that I hurt it, split step, going for a volley that I kind of got caught going behind me.

With repetition on trusting that knee, I really don't think about it in a match. To me, it's not painful. It still feels different than my left leg, obviously. I've had surgery on it. I really trained my mind to visualize that knee feeling great through every shot I've had. Then when I am in those match situations, I'm just thinking about strategy.

Q. I heard that some players are trying to make doubles more popular. In the locker room or players council, are players talking about some specific issues, subjects? What is the situation?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I'll let Jamie answer this, too. Doubles is really exciting. I don't like even comparing it to singles. I get asked a lot of times which one I like better. I think they're two completely different games. You have some singles that play doubles, but you have doubles players that can beat singles players when they're playing doubles.

It's a different strategy. I think the fact you're out there with a teammate is a different dynamic. There's been talk, should we mic the sidelines or players while they're playing, something interesting.

Doubles is exciting. Especially in the U.S. a lot of elite players play. They want to learn more about doubles, recreationally play and enjoy. When you see doubles live, you see how fast it is. Everyone kind of talking about strategy, shifting and adjusting. I think it's a little bit more apparent in doubles.

It's not taking away anything from the singles players because I think it's amazing tennis as well. Doubles hold its own. Mixed doubles is a whole different animal. You're playing with someone you don't get to practice a lot with. You're communicating a lot more, figuring out what your strengths are, what you're going to do against or opponents that day strategizing.

Jamie, you can talk about that, too.

JAMIE MURRAY: Beth is right. It's a totally different skill set to singles. I think the doubles game has a lot of fans. Also like Beth says, your average tennis player that goes down to their club or park to play, they're playing doubles with their friends. They can relate to it more. I think compared to watching Federer or Serena or things like that, they can relate more to what's going on on the doubles court.

It's fun. It's more social. I think tennis as a sport can do a better job to promote that side of it. I think we have a lot of fans that come out and support us, our matches, especially like in the States, in the UK as well, playing a lot of doubles. They really appreciate that.

I've been on the council for a couple years, me and Bruno, representing the doubles guys. We've been able to make a few changes for next year that we hope will help the product, working with the tournaments more to get more value, if you like.

But I think things have improved a lot in doubles the last few years. But we need to keep pushing for more, keep kind of showcasing it as a great part of tennis, not just kind of like the sort of ugly stepsister for singles, if you like.

Q. How much would the two of you like to play together in the future, next year at the slams?
JAMIE MURRAY: Definitely.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We haven't talked about it yet. We were focused on today. It's tough to win a title, then say, Peace out (laughter).


Q. Jamie, you mentioned some of the changes to the doubles. I heard about bigger draws. What else is being planned?
JAMIE MURRAY: I mean, one of the things that we've been able to do is to eliminate the bye from the Masters Series, so there will be 32 draws in the Masters, which I think will give a lot more players opportunities to play the biggest events on the ATP Tour, which we think is a good thing.

We've been working with the tournaments in terms of finding ways to kind of promote teams better rather than individuals, try to find ways to stop teams from kind of splitting up to get into tournaments.

I think the doubles guys are committed to doing two hours, could be a ProAm, sponsors, meet-and-greet, could be clinic, whatever. We will give two hours of our time as a group at each tournament, if the tournament decides to use that, that they can use to sell to sponsors as part of their package.

Then there's things like scheduling that we can definitely improve on. We will work closely with them. We think it's important to kind of build the relationships with the tournaments and work together so that everyone kind of benefits.

Q. Jamie, on court Bethanie said you gave instructions, she followed them, she was happy to do that. Giving coaching tips actually during the rally, at one point you checked up to hit a shot, you yelled at her, Take your time. Is this a new department for you? And what do you think of it, Bethanie?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: That's so funny, I remember that.

JAMIE MURRAY: Let the ball bounce, yeah (laughter).

I don't know, it's just in the moment. Yeah, that was funny.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It's interesting, though, because sometimes I'll say, Go. I think you're maybe a little further away from the ball than you are. I'll a be like, Go. He's there.

Sometimes you don't want to say something because you don't want to disrupt someone's rhythm. You have to know your partner pretty well if you're going to start talking a lot during points to them.

I try not to do it too much. But I don't mind it either.

JAMIE MURRAY: It's just communication. Like, you don't get that on singles obviously. You're working with your partner. I don't necessarily know exactly what she's going to do or what shot she wants to play or anything like that. That stuff happens, like, in the rallies. If I move, she's got to cover me, but sometimes I might jump back or whatever.

But that's the cool thing about doubles. It's different, yeah.

Q. Bethanie, did you realize he had such a nice singing voice?

JAMIE MURRAY: I don't think anyone joined with that. I felt like it was just me singing (smiling).

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It was your solo, your moment. I didn't know it was her birthday. Judy can take it.

Q. Jamie, it's interesting that you're here today as the mixed doubles champion in the context of your mom being one of the greatest players of her era in Scotland, then becomes the mother of two No. 1's. We're not familiar with her here. Can you talk about her journey from the early days where there were some bumps in the road to where she is now?
JAMIE MURRAY: I think her journey was basically she loved tennis. Her parents loved tennis. She wanted to be a professional tennis player, I guess. But it was very difficult in Scotland at that time with opportunities and kind of access to facilities, things like that.

I think when she became a coach, she wanted to give as many kids as she could the opportunities she didn't have when she wanted to be a player. I think she did an amazing job, not just with us, because she was national coach of Scotland for however many years. Now she's got so many different initiatives with young kids, not just Scotland but the UK.

I think it's pretty remarkable how many kids she's brought tennis to in our country. She'll continue to do that. A lot of the stuff, people don't write about that stuff because they're not really aware of it. But it's pretty incredible what she's been able to do.

Obviously like me and Andy, we've done some pretty amazing things on the tennis court, considering where we've come from. But actually what my mum has been able to do is almost bigger in the grand scheme of things, I think.

Q. She wasn't embraced by the authorities at first.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, there's always stuff. I'm not totally on top of that. I was quite young at the time. I don't think it's been easy for her.

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