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June 17, 2019

Feliciano Lopez

Andy Murray

London, England

(From audio.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. In Australia, it was written off as though you were going to retire and that was it. And now you are going to return to a tennis court. What are the emotions going to be when you return?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I can't tell you how I'm going to feel obviously when I get back on the court. But yeah, I feel lucky, I feel pretty relaxed.

Yeah, I mean, I didn't expect to be in this position. I didn't know how I was going to feel, really, if I went and had the operation. But it's been brilliant, completely, like, life-changing for me, really, from where I was.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to getting back out there, but I don't know what to expect and I'm not putting any kind of expectations on myself, because just being out on the tennis court again and being comfortable and pain-free is enough, you know. I'll enjoy competing. I have enjoyed practicing and hitting tennis balls, just doing all the things that I couldn't do even a few months ago. So we'll see what happens.

Q. Simon asked you in Melbourne, do you think you'll become a doubles player, and you were dismissive. You said no. At what point did you change your mind?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, so obviously people can change their mind. My goal is still to get back to playing singles. That's what I would like to do ultimately. And probably, I'm going to say maybe six to eight weeks ago, you know, I was just chatting with my team about, you know, kind of the best way to get back onto the court again, singles-wise, and, you know, how I would go about doing that.

We felt that, you know, doubles would be a good option to sort of test myself out and see how I feel, where there is maybe a bit obviously less loading on the body, less movement, but you still have to make some quick moves and quick reactions and things like that.

It felt like it was actually a nice progression, really, of the rehab I have been doing and getting back onto the court and, you know, see how I feel on a match court playing doubles. Then that will give me some information about where I'm at and maybe things I need to improve or whatever.

So it was probably six to eight weeks ago we thought it might be a good thing to try rather than just the first time I get back on the match court it potentially being a tour-level match, which, you know, is tough.

Q. Feliciano, difficult because you're sitting next to him, but I just wondered, in the practices you have had alongside each other, how is the partnership shaping up and how is Andy's sharpness been?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: What can I say? I mean, he's a great player, no? As soon as you hit a few balls with him, you realize that he still have the feeling, the touch. You don't lose these abilities from one day to the other, no?

Of course he's one of the greatest players ever and he's still playing great. But first of all, I want to say that I'm very happy that he's able to play tennis again. This is the most important thing now, and I'm very happy to share the court this week with him.

It's gonna be nice. It's gonna be fun, I hope. But the most important thing is that he's healthy again, and we are very happy to see Andy back on a tennis court.

Q. How did it come about, this relationship? I assume Andy asked you. How long did it take for you to decide yes?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: It was very quick (smiling). I said yes immediately.

Yeah, we have been texting, and I don't know how the idea -- I think Jamie, his coach, he texted me first. He spoke about the possibility of playing here with Andy, and of course my answer was yes. I mean, for me, it's a great opportunity to share the court with a great player, with a great friend, as well. Yeah, I hope it's going to be a good week for us.

ANDY MURRAY: Feli also said -- I was saying I didn't want to play with someone and we wouldn't get in potentially, so I didn't want to take a wildcard from maybe one of the other teams. And Feli was, like, Are you crazy? We'll get in for sure. No problem. Like, we have a combined ranking of, I don't know, whatever it is, 53, we are in for sure.

I was, like, No, I've checked. The last few years it's been pretty close.

FELICIANO LOPEZ: How bad is my ranking to be in the limit with a guy ranked 2 in the world (smiling)?

Yeah, I lose so many points from the French Open because we played well last year there with Marc, with my partner, we played semis, so we lost a lot of points. So my ranking dropped and was quite good enough to enter this tournament.

Q. Andy, you have come back from a lot of injuries in your career, different ones. Each time there is always a bit of a fear factor at play when you're pushing yourself and you don't know what to expect. Is this the same or is it slightly different?
ANDY MURRAY: This feels like -- so when I had my back operation and then this hip operation, like, I had those ops, and the pain in my back was significantly better after the operation. I had this one and the pain has been significantly better. So they feel kind of similar.

The operation I had in, like, January of last year and then I had the groin surgery just before then, there was no change or difference in my pain. So those comebacks, for me, it was, like -- I don't know. They feel quite different to what this one is, because I have no pain and discomfort.

Obviously, you know, everyone, when they get on the court, there is a risk of something happening. I obviously have, like, a metal hip now, so, you know, people may worry about that, and obviously there is things that could go wrong, but, you know, I'm in pretty good shape and healthy and I have trained loads and done a bunch of rehab, so we'll see how it goes.

Q. Andy, when you look at what you've gone through over the last two years, two hip operations, you have played in a lot of pain for a long time, you went through all that rehab, you went to Philadelphia, you have been World No. 1, you have won Wimbledon, what is it about playing that makes you want to go through all that and come back when you could easily have, you know, retired, given all that you have achieved?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, there was a number of times over the last 18 months where I did want to stop. You know, I didn't want to play anymore. I was getting no enjoyment out of tennis at all, whether that be training, practice, matches. Winning matches, wasn't really bothered really either because it wasn't fun.

Yeah, now it's just nice -- I like playing tennis. I'm sure some of you guys like playing tennis and enjoy getting out on the court and hitting tennis balls. I'm exactly the same. Like, I'm a fan of the sport. I have played it since I was a kid. And, yeah, I want to keep playing if I can because I enjoy it.

Yeah, it would be nice to be winning, like, Wimbledon and major tournaments and things like that, but you know, hardly anyone gets the opportunity to do that, and there's still loads of players that still love and enjoy the sport without being able to, you know, win the biggest competitions. And I would hope that I would be able to, you know, to deal with that absolutely fine, as well, and just enjoy -- I have enjoyed practicing and training doubles and getting ready for this event, although it's different to what I'm used to. I'm fine with that. It's not a big deal.

Q. You have obviously been away from the tour for six months, but you have also been off social media during that time. Is there a sense that you have actually got some pleasure or enjoyment from being away from the tour for a period of time? How have you spent that sort of free time almost?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, at the early stages I was doing, you know, just lots and lots of rehab and stuff. And then once, it was probably six to eight weeks, maybe eight weeks, you know, that the pain in my hip was pretty much gone, and then I started doing, you know, just loads of things that I haven't been doing and enjoying, whether that be things with my family or friends, like, going out for -- it's even things like going out for dinners and stuff. You know, sitting in one position, you know, was just -- it wasn't nice. It was sore. Anyone who has had chronic hip pain would know the feeling. It's just not great.

So I have just been doing that stuff and enjoying it, whether it's dinners, playing golf -- like, I went and have been doing a few escape rooms. I don't know if anyone has done that. They're brilliant. I played the golf club championships with my brother yesterday, which went horribly (smiling). Yeah, just doing different stuff, watching Arsenal losing. So, yeah.

Q. You mentioned a little bit about how your mentality has switched between going into events, having an expectation about winning, and now just trying to find that it's fun. I'm wondering, do you believe you could win Wimbledon doubles this year? Has that even entered your kind of realm of thought?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think it's possible, but, I mean, it doesn't matter either way. I would like to, but I don't mind if I don't.

I'd say it would be unlikely, because, you know, I have not played many matches. And doubles on grass, it's not like you sort of kind of ease yourself into matches a little bit and there is time. The points are over pretty quickly. You need to be sharp.

It really would depend how quickly I can get my reflexes and things like that back. They have been okay in practice, but obviously match is a different story.

Q. Given that you have been so driven and so competitive all the way through your professional career, have you surprised yourself how you have adapted to this new mindset as you come back this time? Or are you still trying to convince yourself that this is the way that you should be approaching it?
ANDY MURRAY: I think, like, when you spend time away, like, you know there is a chance you might not get back to playing again. There is lots of things you think about, stuff that you might have done differently, like, during your career, you know, look back and regret certain things and wish you had done stuff differently.

Now that I get the chance to play again, like I said, it's just you remember the things that are actually important or, you know, the reasons for why you actually start doing something or why you play a certain sport, do a certain job, like generally it's because it's something you care about and you actually enjoy doing. And it's not, you know, do it just to win tennis matches.

You know, I hit some balls with a few kids a few weeks ago, and yeah, I was practicing on the court next to them and just seeing, like, young kids running around hitting tennis balls, loving practicing and playing. And it makes you remember, like, that's how you started, and the reason for why you do it is because it's fun and you love it and it becomes a passion.

Yeah, everybody wants to do well in their job, but ultimately, all you can do is give your best. My best now might not be the same as what it was when I was 25 in terms of what that looks like on a tennis court. Who knows? Maybe it will be in a few months, but right now it certainly isn't. So I can't be expecting to put in that sort of kind of performance.

Q. You mentioned you played in a golf club championships. Was that at Jamie's golf club down here or something?
ANDY MURRAY: We are both a member of Wentworth, and yeah...

Q. Why was that horrible?
ANDY MURRAY: Why was it horrible? Well, scoring triple digits I don't think is normally considered good news when you're on the golf course (smiling).

Q. So it was fun but not, like, a huge success?
ANDY MURRAY: Me and Jamie scored 101 each, which was not pleasant. You know, it was a good, humbling experience (smiling).

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