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August 12, 2019

Andy Murray

Cincinnati, Ohio

R. GASQUET/A. Murray

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did that feel compared to what you were expecting?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't really know what I was expecting, to be honest. I think I did okay. I think there was a lot of things I would like to have done better in the match, but, you know, you also have to be somewhat realistic, as well, in terms of what you can expect in terms of how you actually play and hit the ball.

I think physically, you know, my legs were a little bit heavy at the end of the match in comparison to maybe what they normally would be if you played, you know, a bunch.

You know, Richard, he uses all of the angles on the court. He's one of the best at doing that. So I was having to move quite a lot laterally, and I didn't move forward particularly well. Like when he drop-shotted, there was a few times I didn't even run to the ball, didn't react to it, and that's nothing to do with my hip. That's just me not running for a ball, which I did do that better at the end of the match. I reacted and got to a few and won points.

But when there is like a difference of 12 points in a match and you're giving up, like, four or five points with dropshots that maybe you could have chased down, fewer errors here and there, I think with a few more weeks of practice and hopefully some more matches, then I could do better. But I think it was okay.

Q. The dropshots, would you say you were reacting to them slowly? Weren't seeing them sometimes?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think if I go back, like, the last 18 months or so, like a lot of times like in practice and stuff, I was really sore doing that. I just wasn't running for them in practice at all.

Yeah, it's just something I need to -- it's a bad habit, really. Because at the end I did start reacting and I actually got to some pretty difficult shots, so that was good. But that wasn't the case at the beginning of the match.

Q. It's got to be tough but there has to be some positive takeaways. Did anything surprise you from anything you did moving-wise or hitting that was encouraging to take away from today? Positive takeaway from just getting out there?
ANDY MURRAY: I think it got better as the match went on. Beginning of the match I started a bit slowly. He didn't play particularly well at the beginning, either.

But I think as the match went on, I feel like I played a little bit better. I started to serve better as it went on. I think I reacted to more balls as the match went on. I created a few more chances in the second set than I did in the first.

Yeah, so there was a few good things, but there is also, you know, lots of things that I need to work on, you know, not just physically but in my game, as well. And that's what I always knew I was going to get out of this week is that I would get a lot of information and learn a lot from the match. I need to get on the practice court and work on some things, and physically I can get better.

Q. Regarding the physical aspect, obviously there's lack of match play, but you were broken in each of the first games of the sets. How much of lack of match play for the mental part of the game do you think contributed to that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think it can. The first game I felt quite nervous. It was, at the first couple of games, it was actually pretty windy at the beginning. It was fine sort of midway through the first set, but right at the beginning it was pretty breezy, and I just felt a bit unsure of myself at the beginning and played a poor game to get broken.

I can't remember what happened in the beginning of the second set, but, yeah, I mean, these are -- you know, it's not like I just haven't not played a match for, you know, seven months. I hardly played before then, either. I haven't played many matches in the last 18 months really.

It's going to take time, and I haven't been practicing lots of singles until recently. So I need time, and it's not going to come back in one week or one tournament. This is going to take -- it's been a long process to get here, but to get back maybe to where I want to get is going to take a lot of time and a lot more work.

Q. Looking forward to the US Open, will you look to play some practice matches in preparation?
ANDY MURRAY: I'm not going to play the US Open singles. You know, we were hoping to maybe hold a wildcard until a little bit close to the time to see how I feel and get some matches hopefully and a bit of practice, but they were announcing the wildcards today and didn't want to wait.

So, you know, a decision I made with my team, I didn't want to take a wildcard today because I just didn't know how I was going to feel after a match. I felt like I wanted to be fair for me to, you know, maybe try and get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that.

But I'll maybe play Winston-Salem potentially, but I'll probably look at just playing doubles and mixed doubles. That's what I will do at the US Open.

Q. Regarding the US Open, did you think about possibly taking the wildcard and just waiting and withdrawing like a normal withdrawal later? Do you know who you're playing doubles and mixed with in New York?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know who I'm going to play doubles or mixed with in New York. Yeah, I could have taken the wildcard, but I know if I would have taken the wildcard and then not played, then I would have been getting loads of questions about my hip and why has he turned it down, is something wrong, what's the problem.

That didn't feel right to me. I wanted to -- I just wanted to wait and see, discuss things with my team. But there was definitely no certainty that I would have played regardless, even if I had given it -- even if I was allowed to take a week or ten days to make that decision, you know, there was no guarantee that I would have played anyway.

It was more likely that I was not going to, because although I did fine in the match today, physically, like I said, my legs felt quite heavy at the end of the match, and that's probably not going to change a whole lot in a couple of weeks.

Q. You said that you have some habit from not chasing down balls. Do you have any other habits from your hip injury that maybe you overcompensated in the past and you're still carrying?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, I had to, the last -- since I had the hip problems, you know, I couldn't serve the same. So I had to change the technique on my serve and change where I was hitting the serve. I couldn't push up as much as before, so that's something that's changed.

But now I'm able to serve better, and I can serve harder, which is obviously a positive thing because it's comfortable. I mean, I'm sure there will have been some things that even I might not have realized I was compensating for, but, you know, there was a lot of things I couldn't do properly and now I feel like I can do them properly.

But physically I'm just not quite where I need to be if I want to be winning a bunch of matches in these tournaments. Like I say, that will take time. I'm aware of that.

Q. Seven months ago you weren't sure if you would ever get back here, and I'm just curious how it feels sitting here today kind of knowing that you worked your way through that uncertain period of time.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I'm very aware that there is many people out there that have been in way worse situations than me. But tennis is something I have done my whole life, so it's something that is kind of all I have known as an adult. It's all I have worked to be a professional tennis player for my whole life.

So when I wasn't able to do that and didn't know whether I was going to be able to come back and play, that was hard. It was difficult for me.

But a few months after I had the operation in January, that kind of changed, you know, my mentality changed a lot because I wasn't in pain anymore. And I was always worried, what will I do with myself without tennis? But actually once I got rid of the pain, I realized I didn't really, I didn't need tennis, tennis wasn't the most important thing for me.

I'm obviously happy to be back playing. You know, I thought it maybe would have changed my perspective completely on things, but I'm sitting here disappointed, which I think is probably a good thing, and if I want to get back to playing at a high level, if I was sort of just happy to be back on the court and, you know, not really worried about the outcome, then I'd be a bit maybe concerned about that. But I feel a bit disappointed. I feel I can do better, and there is lots of things I can work on, so I will go away and do that and hopefully be better next time.

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