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September 24, 2019

Andy Murray

Zhuhai, China

A. MURRAY/T. Sandgren

6-3, 6-7, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Even though your opponent struggled a little bit in the third set with a foot problem, but a win is still a win and a win like today is going to be remembered. Can you talk about how much it means to you after what you went through for such a long while?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I think that in some ways that it's one of the best wins that I've had, not in terms of like just getting through that today, but everything that's gone into sort of getting back to this point. Yeah, you don't necessarily appreciate like what it's like to be healthy and stuff, like at the beginning of your career, it's something that you take for granted and it's quite easy. Whereas, these last few years haven't been and obviously after the operation in January it's been difficult and it was undecided at times about whether I wanted to keep going or not and, yeah, it's been tough. But I'm really glad that I can actually get the win today and hopefully I'll be able to keep going.

Q. Compared with last time you played with Sandgren in Winston-Salem how much do you think have you become a quicker, stronger and a better player than one month ago?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean it's impossible to say exactly, but I think in terms of the way I was hitting the ball, like tonight like my ball striking was, I think, very good. Tonight I was hitting the ball well, movement was I think pretty good. Tonight I served well. Obviously there's things that I feel I can do better, but it was definitely progress. I don't know whether that's five percent, ten percent, it's difficult to put a number on it, but I think I did a little bit better tonight than I did when we played a few weeks ago and that's a good thing. That's what I need to keep doing the next few months and then I'll see eventually like at some stage the progress will stop and I'll find out what my limit is. But it's good to see that I'm still progressing and making improvements.

Q. So, firstly, congratulations to your performance tonight. So I want to ask you that, I want to describe your performance tonight as a revenge, so who how do you evaluate your performance and how will you plan for the coming match and did you set some goals in Zhuhai this time?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean my goal is to try and get two to three matches a week in all of the tournaments while I'm here. So if I got nine matches in the three weeks I was here I would think that would be a really, really good trip. Which might seem like it's, I don't know, like it's low expectation or whatever, but if I got somewhere between six and nine matches I would be happy with that because of where I'm at just now and I'm respecting the recovery process that I'm kind of still going through.

Tonight was a really good match to get through, but I'll see how I recover tomorrow and how I feel, because that's, for me, the longest match, I think, that I played since I have come back. And I'm happy I'm not playing tomorrow because I was pretty tired at the end of the match and I know I'll need to get a good day's rest tomorrow.

Q. You called it one of your toughest matches for the reasons that we know. Is it also, for the same reasons, one of the most satisfying wins you've had as well?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, maybe. I've obviously not had loads of time to sort of take it all in and stuff, but it's, yeah, I mean, look, it's important for me to get my first win on tour since the operation and all the sort of doubts I had over the last probably, what, year, 18 months.

And I came through a tough match feeling, in terms of how my hip felt -- like if I played that match in January, I mean, there's no chance I would be -- I couldn't compete the following day or even two days later, I would be in a lot of pain and discomfort.

Now I'm tired and fatigued and like muscles and stuff are tired from playing the match, but in terms of how my hip feels, like that feels really good. So that's very positive and I'm satisfied with that because, in January, I didn't, I couldn't remember what it was like to sort of play tennis and not have the pain in my hip. So now it's just pretty cool that I'm able to play without any pain there.

Q. I know that you're not putting as many expectations as you might have a few years ago, so does that make it even more valuable to you, more fun, to be out there just competing and trying to win a tennis match?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, in some ways, yeah, definitely. Like right now, yeah, like definitely a bit less pressure on myself probably than at different times -- well I think like the last time I played over here, I think like the end of 2016 and there was -- I'm sorry I played obviously one of the tournaments last year -- but like when I was here for the like the end of the 2016 season, there was a lot riding on the tournaments and I was trying to finish strong to try and finish No. 1.

Whereas, now I'm just trying to win a tennis match. It's quite different, a lot less, I think, less expectation from myself, less pressure, but also I think just generally I don't think people are expecting loads from me. So it's nice just to be able to concentrate on like the process a little bit more. I think definitely at times in my career it's been quite difficult to do that. I found it hard at times to, like when I was, like I said when I was over in China in 2016, I was focusing on trying to get to No. 1 in the world. It was not an easy thing to forget about, really, when you're trying to do something like that.

Whereas, like I say, here I'm like, this is a little bit easier to just enjoy getting ready for a match, a little bit more relaxed, it's a bit easier.

Q. For all the tiredness aside there were spells particularly in that game with the 13 deuces when you were playing some incredible shots. Given that you are pain-free now, were you enjoying yourself there as much as you have done for a little while?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean it's --

Q. Or were you just pretty tired?
ANDY MURRAY: No, yeah, I mean, look, there's, I've always found that during my career, like in the middle of a match, to get enjoyment from it -- it's quite difficult to explain, but kind of, as you're playing the match, you're not, I don't know, I don't enjoy it. At the end obviously you enjoy the victory or you're disappointed at the loss. But like actually in the moment you're just trying to think about the next point and not concentrate on a good shot or a good movement.

Probably, in the last couple of years, it's been harder for me to do that, because so much of my focus has been directed towards my hip and whether I felt like pain in a certain movement or when I was walking it was very -- I just found it hard to focus on the match. Whereas, tonight it was a little bit easier to do that.

Q. On a workday the attendance was pretty impressive for a first round ATP event held far from the city and you're, I guess, part of the reason for the impressive turnout. Can you talk about the fans' reaction and the energy in the arena and how much does that part of the game make you want to play more?
ANDY MURRAY: I think all athletes, tennis players, want to play in front of fans and nice atmospheres and full crowds. It was, I think it was pretty good in there tonight. Obviously you would like to see a little bit -- it's also the first year of the event, on a Tuesday evening -- usually over the weekends the attendance tends to be a little bit better. But, yeah, there was quite a few people that stayed pretty late and it was quite a long match.

And, yeah, like I played some of my best tennis of my career in Asia. I really like the conditions here in China and always get good support here, so it was nice.

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