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September 4, 2020

Andy Murray

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference


6-2, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess we knew Felix is a top player. Did he surprise you? 52 winners. Seemed pretty elite-level tennis he was playing.

ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, he kind of played how I expected. I mean, you know, he's a big guy. He takes the ball on. There's obviously fairly quick conditions here, as well. I expected him to play that way.

And yeah, he maybe served a little bit better tonight than he had in the last couple of weeks, you know, which helped. Because he obviously got quite a lot of free points with the first serve, and then even when I was getting a racquet on it, you know, he was able to dictate off the first shot of the rally, as well.

Q. Wondering how you were feeling physically today? How much of an impact you felt that long one you had in the first round had on tonight.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously certainly doesn't help. Yeah, I mean, that's obviously the longest match I have played for quite a while.

Physically, you know, I actually did pretty well I thought in the first one. But, you know, I think the more tournaments that you play, the more matches that you play, you build up that sort of robustness in your body, you know, which right now I don't really have.

I think the last two weeks, like, I played a long one against Zverev, and the next day didn't play a particularly good match. Actually physically didn't feel too bad but then same thing again. Obviously played a long match the other day. And today wasn't the level I would have hoped for.

So that's something that, you know, I'll need to build up over the next few months and hopefully beginning of next year, you know, if I can stay healthy, I will be better able to back up difficult physical efforts.

Q. Is that the thing you feel is lacking in your game most at the minute, the ability to follow up those matches rather than anything in particular that's wrong with your game?

ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, look tennis-wise could be better, as well. You know, I felt like I played some good stuff at times, but it was quite up and down.

That's something that, yeah, again, I would like to play consistently better tennis, consistently higher-level tennis, because, well, what that does is like in the first round, for example, I thought I played better as the match went on.

But if you aren't playing at a high level consistently, then, you know, you will play longer matches because you're having dips. I think that was the case in my matches last week, as well. Like I played a really good first set against Zverev, dropped off a bit in the second set, third set was kind of similar. The match against Tiafoe was the same.

So that's something that's going to have to improve, as well.

Q. I appreciate you have just come off court but do you have any idea about the clay court season and what tournaments you'll be playing? Very quick turnaround.

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, right now, the plan was to just play the French Open. You know, I haven't played a match on clay since 2017, you know, which is a very long time.

So, you know, it would be unfair on my body, I think, to maybe try. And certainly playing in Rome would be too soon because I will need to take a little break after getting back from here, as well, because it's been quite an intense little stretch in comparison to what I have had the last ten months or so.

And then, yeah, I mean, I think it would be beneficial for me to have time to sort of build up my load on the clay before competing on it. So as of right now, my plan would be just to play the French Open, but, I mean, I guess that could change, but I certainly won't be playing in Rome.

Q. Do you go straight now or do you stay in Flushing Meadows and support the Brits like Jamie and Dan and Cam?

ANDY MURRAY: No, I will be going home to see my family.

Q. Before the match Felix said he actually watched you at the US Open nine years ago when he was 11 years old. How does that make you feel?

ANDY MURRAY: I couldn't hear the whole question. It was a bit crackly. Sorry.

Q. Felix said before the match that he watched you play at the US Open in 2011 and now he's here playing you at this level. How does it make you feel seeing these players coming through and play at this level now?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, in some ways, like, it's nice because it shows that you have had, yeah, a long career. You know, I guess when you're sort of playing against different generations of players, for me personally, like, I was a bit sad that I missed playing against, say, Agassi and Sampras. I came along, like, a couple years too late. I would have liked to have the opportunity to do that, because those are obviously guys you watch on the TV when you're growing up.

Yeah, I mean, it's one of the things that, like for me, going on the court like tonight against a young player is that you feel like you go on with the experience of having been in that situation maybe more times. And then, you know, the only downside is they might have been watching you play for a number of years so they know your game probably a bit better than you know them.

It doesn't make me feel -- I don't know, I don't feel old or anything like that. It's just I'm happy that I get the opportunity to play against the younger guys coming through.

Q. Could you tell us how you felt yesterday and how you felt prior to the match?

ANDY MURRAY: A lot of my body felt really, really good. There was a few bits that were, you know, a bit sore.

But, yeah, I don't really know exactly what I should have been expecting, really. I mean, I haven't played a whole lot of Grand Slam tennis the last few years.

Yeah, I mean, physically, like I said, I coped well with it the first match, and maybe I would have liked to have recovered a bit better than what I did.

But, I mean, what are you meant to expect, you know, when you have not played matches for a very long time and then you play a four-and-a-half hour one the other day?

You know, maybe it wouldn't have made any difference if I was feeling 10, 15% better. He was obviously playing very well. But, you know, there is maybe some things I could have done differently in the match.

Q. Coming back from something as serious as hip surgery, how difficult is it for you as someone who's done so much in the game to suffer like that? Is it particularly difficult on the court when you're two sets down (indiscernible)?

ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, I think my results in Grand Slams over the years is one of the things I have been very proud about and feel like I have done very well in terms of my consistency and the level that I have been able to play at.

Yeah, I mean, I don't know what I should be expecting, like, or if you'd be expecting me to do much better than what I did here. I don't know.

Obviously I don't want to lose in straight sets anywhere, and obviously certainly not in Grand Slams. So what I need to do is look at what happened the last couple of weeks, look at the things in my game that weren't as I would have liked, and then physically look at what I can do to improve so that if I'm in that situation again in a few weeks' time in the French Open, I deal with it better.

But, I mean, all you can do is try and keep improving from where you are. And I'm not in the same position that I was three years ago when I was, you know, in the latter stages of most of the events I was playing and kind of, you know, back at square one.

I'm ranked 115, 120 in the world and my game reflects that just now. So I'll need to get better if I want to move up the rankings and be more competitive.

Q. Do you go home feeling this is a step forward, given that you at least won a five-set match and then also the top-10 win last week?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, again, I don't know what I was expecting. The No. 1 priority for me was that my hip was good, and it coped really well with a five-set match. Which lots of people, myself included, weren't sure how I was going to do with that and actually coped relatively well the other day against a very tough opponent. So that was positive.

But like I said, to build up -- I feel like I'm back at square one, like, having not played in slams for a few years, like, I need to build up my body and my physical conditioning so that, you know, I have the ability to back up five-set matches.

That takes a bit of time, unfortunately. Well, for me, anyway. Maybe other players it doesn't.

Q. A question about the work you have done over the last couple weeks. Has it changed at all how you envision the rest of your career and what you might be capable of doing in Grand Slams and so forth?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I would say even after tonight, like, I would say I'm more positive about what I could do in Grand Slams than I was before I came over here. I mean, you know, you guys obviously don't know how I was feeling even just a couple of months ago.

So like I said, to come over here and play, you know, I played a couple of tough matches in Cincinnati and I played certainly one very tough match here, and my right hip felt good. That's really, really positive.

There is other things, like I said, that need to get better, but I would say that I'm more positive now than what I was a couple of months ago, that's for sure.

You know, in terms of winning Grand Slams again, that's going to be extremely difficult to do. It was hard enough when I had two normal hips. So it will be difficult, but I'll keep trying, like, why not? Why shouldn't I try my hardest to do that? And if I don't, that's all right. But I might as well shoot for the stars. And if I don't -- yeah, if I don't get there, then that's all right. But I'm trying my best to get the most out of what my body gives me now.

Q. Recognizing that you're still struggling with keeping the level with five-set matches, do you see that your level, your game level is going gradually there to the level that you want to achieve?

ANDY MURRAY: I wasn't that happy with how I played in the matches over here, to be honest. I would have liked to have played better tennis. At the end of last year when I was playing, I felt like with each match in each week, like, I was improving, and my tennis was getting better, whereas I didn't necessarily feel like I played much better at the US Open than I did in Cincinnati, to be honest.

So, yeah, that's something that needs to improve, for sure. There is things in my game that need to sharpen up, and, you know, they are not physical things. That's just, you know, my timing and, you know, getting time on court against, you know, good players that are hitting a big ball. Because you practice as much as you want with, you know, your coach or, you know, juniors, but playing against guys that are serving 135, 140 miles an hour and hitting the ball huge from the back of the court, you know, your timing needs to be spot on.

So the more I get exposed to playing with better players and practicing with them, the better for me just now.

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