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August 25, 2020

Andy Murray

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

M. RAONIC/A. Murray

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was your assessment of your performance and the match in general, please?

ANDY MURRAY: It was poor. Yeah, didn't play well. Yeah. Was not a good day.

Q. You have got a lot of positives to take from this week going into next week. Can you sort of articulate what those are, what those positives are going into next week?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, the positives are I got three matches in. You know, physically I pulled up okay. Today, I don't know. I don't know if it was because I was fatigued or not, but I didn't feel particularly tired but I certainly was hitting some pretty bad tennis shots. I'm not happy with that level of performance, to be honest.

Yeah, clearly a lot of work to do on my game over the next few days before the US Open starts. Yeah, the positive is I got three matches in, and physically, in terms of my hip, felt good. Played a couple of long ones, as well. Got through them.

But, yeah, not happy with tonight at all.

Q. When you were warming up today, in general when you woke up today, did it feel like maybe today wasn't going to go your way? Could you sense it at all?

ANDY MURRAY: Sort of when I warmed up before the match, I did a very light warmup because I was trying to conserve energy for the match, but yeah, I started off the match pretty slow.

It was tricky at the beginning. You know, I don't know if you -- before the storm came, it was pretty gusty and stuff. So that could maybe explain some of the errors in the first set.

But then it was very calm when we went out the second time and I still hit the same errors. So, you know, I don't know how much of it was due to the conditions at the beginning or if I was just a little bit slow. I don't know.

But, yeah, I was really not happy with that at all. I have much higher standards than that. Not good enough tonight.

Q. I would like to know what about your sneak attack during the first match? And today you try I think in the first set. It's like Roger Federer since I know I think five years ago. It's like the surprise maybe, but when you use it more than once you say, Okay, be careful at the opponent because he knows it's not good for them to miss the first serve.

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, yesterday was certainly something I sort of planned before the match. I mean, Alex had been struggling a bit on the serve this year, so I wanted to make him feel like I was taking time away from him, that I was aggressive with my court position and stuff.

You know, it didn't help me that much at the beginning, but I think it paid off a little bit at the end of the match.

Today, I mean, I wasn't trying to do that today. I always return from quite an aggressive position on the second serve. I changed that a bit after the beginning of the match because I was returning early.

Again, that for me is something that is, you know, considered my strength. He served I think like 45% first serves in the first set, and usually, when I played against him if he was serving that percentage I'd be putting a lot of pressure on him on the second serve and I wasn't doing that tonight.

That's something I'll need to have a look at in practice the next few days.

Q. Today we know that Messi will leave Barcelona, and one of the main ideas is Premier League. What do you think about you have preference of which team he will come or he will go?

ANDY MURRAY: I would like to see him playing the Premier League, to be honest. I don't really care who he plays for. I follow Arsenal. I'm not thinking he's going to be joining them.

But, yeah, I would like to see him come to the Premier League. Be great for the League, for sure. Maybe get the opportunity to go and watch him live a few more times. I watched him a bit when he was much younger. When I lived in Barcelona I got to see him play a couple of times live.

But, yeah, it would be nice to see him in the Premier League. You know, I have heard a lot of people saying, Oh, could he do it on a cold Wednesday in Stoke, and I have always said, Of course he could, because he's the best player ever. He'd be absolutely fine. I'd like to see him show a few people that he can do that.

Q. You were fairly critical of yourself today, saying you were not playing up to your standards. I'm wondering how do you set the scale now as compared to maybe years ago prior to the hip surgeries? Is it difficult to sort of figure out how to judge yourself now as you're still working your way back from the injury layoff?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, my opinion is that you should set yourself the best-in-the-world standards for everything that you do, because then it means that you're going to prepare properly for tournaments, you're going to train hard, you're going to take care of all of the details, because that's what the best in the world do, whatever job it is. That's why they are the best.

So if you do all of that stuff right, that's positive. And if, on the match courts, I mean, you fall short of that, you know, I'd rather fall short of the best in the world standards rather than sort of accept, Okay, I'm going to play, you know, 80, 100 in the world, that's going to be my standard this week. And if I play at that level, I'm happy.

I'd rather say, Let's try to play like the best in the world. Let's set standards like you're the best in the world. And even if you fall short of that, I can live with that a little bit.

Yeah, look, I'm not happy with how I played tonight. I can't sit here and say otherwise. I could have done things a lot better. Yeah, disappointed in myself because, you know, I got through a couple of tough matches and was hoping to play better tonight, but it wasn't the case.

You know, also, Milos -- you know, I'm talking about myself a lot, but he plays well in these conditions. He serves big and he's aggressive. You know, it's not easy. You know, once you let him get ahead, you know, like I did at the beginning of the match, he plays very well and it's tough to put pressure on him.

Yeah, I mean, he did some stuff well, but I feel like I can do a lot better.

Q. Can you give your thoughts on the European players who skipped the US Open? Do you think that it was more a safety situation, or do you think it was more of a tactical move in order to be ready for the French? And second to that, do you think it would have been foolish for Rafa to come to New York, play the Open in light of his success at Roland Garros?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously I'm sure lots of players have different reasons for not playing. I mean, if you take someone like Rafa, I mean, he obviously won the US Open last year, so he can't gain any points for ranking, but, you know, maybe some were concerned about their safety. Some might have not wanted to play under these sort of conditions, like inside the bubble and things like that. I don't know for sure.

But I can say that any of the kind of doubts that I would have had before coming here, it's been really good. You know, a few things that maybe you would like it to be different, but these are hard and difficult times, and I'm appreciative of the effort that the USTA have put into getting this event on and making it as safe as possible for all of the players. As difficult as it has been, I think they have done a really good job.

Q. What are those couple of things you would have liked to have them do differently?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I'm concerned about talking about this because there are way tougher things going on in the world than, you know, the players being concerned about, you know, like the hotel being quite far, for example. You know, because we can't do ice baths and things like that on-site, you know, which for me is quite an important part of my recovery. You have to wait until you get back in the hotel. It's things like that.

But it's fine. It's manageable and it's not a big deal at all. It's just little things that are different to the kind of things how we're used to, you know, competing and stuff and recovering from matches and things.

But like I said, again, this is far from, you know, an easy situation. It was never going to be perfect. I think they have done the best job that they could have done under the circumstances.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the rain delay. What was discussed with Jamie? Did you think you could have come out and maybe changed the course of the match? Secondly, how excited are you about playing at the US Open again after everything that you have been through?

ANDY MURRAY: Yes, obviously I'm very excited to play a US Open again. I mean, I played it a couple years ago, but, I mean, I really was not feeling good at all when I played it last, and it was -- you know, I fought as hard as I could, but it's not that enjoyable when you're feeling so uncomfortable on the court.

At least I'm a lot more comfortable now, so I will be able to enjoy the experience more. It will be weird playing on, if you play on a stadium like Ashe with no fans, you know, it's normally an unbelievable atmosphere here. So that's a shame.

What was the first part? What could I have done differently? Yeah, so I felt like at the beginning, like I was just making lots of mistakes, you know, to get broken. I played a bad game to get broken. I wasn't returning so well.

So I have spoken about staying a little bit further back on the return to give myself more time, and then, you know, rather than focusing so much on the strategy of what I was trying to do against him was to focus on myself and give a little bit more care to my shots and focus on my own game style and intensity and focus and stuff, because I was making mistakes that maybe I wouldn't normally make.

But nothing changed really after the break. I still hit a few shots, like missed by quite a long way and very early in the rallies. Usually I'm quite good at sort of building points and being quite consistent, but yeah, just made a few too many errors early in the rallies, the whole match really.

Q. Andy Roddick made some beautiful comments about you, about how great that you're back at your best tennis, IQ, grittiness. When things were really tough, what was the real reason that you chose this Herculean effort to come back to this sport? What was the core driving force?

ANDY MURRAY: I think probably deep down I didn't feel like I was ready to stop. You know, I feel like I mentioned this a ton, but it was like where I was when I got the injury, the problem started, I was ranked No. 1 in the world.

So, you know, I was not anticipating how things were going to go from there. I didn't think that things were going to turn around that quickly. And there was a part of me also that was, like, you know, I didn't -- I don't know. Maybe I didn't appreciate the sport enough, didn't appreciate how lucky I was to be doing this, you know, and, yeah, I wanted to come back and try and, yeah, enjoy it and keep going and see where I could, you know, see where I could get to and keep pushing myself.

It's a challenge playing with a metal hip. It's not that easy. I have learned lots, learned lots about myself. It's been a good journey. Hopefully I have inspired some people who have got these issues and might have the operation and, you know, to try and show that you can keep going.

There is a lot of people that told me I should stop, which probably made me want to do it even more. A few surgeons and things that told me it was done, which annoyed me a lot.

And, yeah, there is many, many different reasons for why I wanted to, why I wanted to come back, but, you know, if I came back and I couldn't play and I couldn't compete and stuff, you know, I wouldn't have kept going, I don't think. But after the latest setback in November, I was pretty gutted, to be honest, about that. It was, like, I'm back, I can play, I can compete, I can win tournaments and stuff, and then I got a setback and I didn't really know whether that was going to get better or not.

So that was hard. But, yeah, I think because I can still play with the best players in the world and do myself justice -- maybe didn't do that this evening maybe, but I think, yeah, if I can stay healthy, I'll have some more good moments on the tennis court.

Q. So it must feel really special to step out for these big matches?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, it does. Yeah, it does. I mean, the thing is, it's just not having the fans there for me is, yeah, something I can't wait to have that back. I totally understand and appreciate the situation. It might be a while before that happens, and everything needs to be safe, you know, before that happens again.

But, yeah, I'd love that. And again, when you're here and playing in front of no fans in the evening, it's just not quite the same. Yeah, I'm looking forward to getting the opportunity to do that again hopefully in the not-too-distant future. To play at Wimbledon again and things like that would be nice.

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