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September 1, 2020

Andy Murray

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

A. MURRAY/Y. Nishioka

4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just tell me about the performance today and your feelings about that.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, so definitely wasn't the best match that I've played. First couple of sets, I don't know if you guys heard me talking on the court after the match, but I was just saying I got the balance completely wrong. At the beginning I was not doing enough with the ball, then he was dictating the points. I started being too aggressive and going for too much and making mistakes.

Finally I started to get, I guess, a little bit the balance right of what I had to do on the court. I actually finished, like, wasn't playing really well all the time, but at moments I was starting to hit the ball better, serving better, yeah, moving forward a bit more at the right times. I was moving forward in the second set, third set, but probably at the wrong moments.

Yeah, just got that balance right at the end. It was a pretty special one to get through really, because I didn't play my best. No one there watching. It was a long match, five-setter, first one I played in a long time. Great effort to get through.

Q. At what stage in that match did you sort of really feel like you could turn it around?

ANDY MURRAY: Probably once I'd won the third set really. I was just starting to play a little bit better. I wasn't feeling as under pressure on my serve. Yeah, just felt like, not that I was controlling all the points, I just felt like I was a little bit more in control of more points and was starting to understand the way I had to play to maybe win the match, which at the beginning I didn't.

Very tricky game. He's a very good player. Looking at his results, he's beaten some very good players on hard courts. He's also lost in tight matches to some very good players, as well. I knew it was going to be hard.

Yeah, he has a tricky game. Not easy to play against. Also I felt a little bit at the beginning that, I don't know, I was pacing myself almost a little bit. Sort of happens at the beginning of your career when you haven't played that many five-set matches.

I kind of felt mentally I didn't know how I was going to feel if I played a long one, so I didn't want to use up too much energy. When you do that, maybe you don't move as well, don't play the right shots, and the match becomes much longer. So it's completely counterproductive. I think psychologically it can happen when you've not played one for a long time.

Q. 4 hours 39 minutes, how does your body feel? Did you find an ice bath? Were you aware that players came out of their suites to start watching this match?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I did an interview before. I was saying that for me was one of the things that helped. It's rare that you have lots of, like, players watching your watch. In some ways that can be a little bit distracting if you look up and you've got guys that are in the top 5, top 10 in the world watching you and stuff.

But for me, I had my father-in-law there. He was up in the suite watching me. I had my brother there with his coach watching. There was a few of the British players that came out to watch and support, as well.

Although the atmosphere was very flat overall, at the end of the match and as I was starting to turn it around, I could at least look up and see some faces in different points of the court to give me a little bit of encouragement, which definitely, definitely helped.

Q. How do you feel? Was there an ice bath available for you?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, they said it's fine to use it. They have two in there. Obviously, like, on the off days and stuff, they're trying to restrict the amount of players that are in the locker room, but also using the facilities in there. They said yeah, after a match like that, of course, you can go in and use it, which was helpful.

It's not comfy on your toes. I don't know why. I do ice baths all the time. You get in one after playing a long match when your toes and stuff are sore, and it's really, really uncomfortable on the toes. I don't know why that is, but it's really not comfortable (smiling). Yeah, glad to have that over with.

Physically I actually did pretty well. My toes and stuff were hurting. Actually I did pretty well for being such a long match. I don't know if that was because I maybe didn't use up so much energy the first couple sets because I was sort of pacing myself a little bit. But I did quite well physically.

Q. These are different times and situations, but the way you're talking now is different from what I've always heard you talking with the sort of sad voice in different situations. You talk very low-key. Now I can hear you better. You sound more, I don't say happy, but you look different. Is that the situation that changes you the way to approach the press conferences?

ANDY MURRAY: I don't know. I haven't thought about changing. Look, certainly for me, let's say the last, I don't know, three years, I don't know if it's always been the case after matches, but the last three years, yeah, I've spoken about it many times, saying I was not particularly happy playing tennis because I was miserable and it was uncomfortable and my body hurt, that didn't feel good.

Whereas now I've just played a four-and-a-half hour match when I never thought I'd be able to. I felt way better today at the end of that match than I did when I played Bautista in Australia. I'm not sitting here with my hip throbbing and aching. I'll be able to sleep fine tonight and things like that.

Yeah, my quality of life is significantly better. I would imagine that would probably improve my general mood and general well-being.

Q. With all the comebacks you've had in your career, where would you rate something like this when you consider down two sets to Love, down a break in the third, down match point in the fourth, down a break in the fifth?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I actually totally had forgotten I had a match point against me. Where would I rate it? I don't know.

It's difficult because I can't remember all the matches I played, like all the five-setters and stuff, matches where I've come back from two sets.

In terms of the effort and work and everything that's gone into getting to this point, for sure it's the hardest, the whole journey. The match itself, physically I felt for sure worse in matches, and I probably had better comebacks. But yeah, I mean, I don't remember loads about the match to be honest.

When you say it like that, I was down a break in the fifth, right, as well? I was down a break in the third.

Q. Yes.

ANDY MURRAY: So, yeah, I mean, very close to going out but kept coming back, yeah, kept fighting, so... I'm proud of that.

Q. What do you think of the del Potro surgery last week? Seems like you are an inspiration for each other. Would you comment on that, please.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously I don't know exactly which surgery he had. Yeah, I mean, I was sad obviously when I heard that. I was actually, yeah, chatting to my team about maybe reaching out to him in the last couple of days. Because, yeah, I mean, he's been unbelievably unlucky during his career with multiple, multiple injuries. He keeps, yeah, trying and keeps wanting to come back to play.

I during my career would have been certainly healthier than him. But these last couple of years, I can totally understand what he's going through. Just now, mentally it must be unbelievably challenging.

Yeah, I hope that the surgery is a success for him. I hope he manages to get healthy again and back on the court. If he didn't totally love tennis, there's no chance he would have kept trying. He obviously loves the sport. It would be brilliant to see him get a few more years out of his body because he deserves that.

Q. Was it helpful being able to hear Jamie in such a quiet stadium?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I guess I kind of just mentioned that. I don't know if that's Jamie my coach or my brother, I don't know which one. Yeah, like I said, just sort of having some people around in a very empty stadium, the biggest tennis stadium that we play in, it certainly helped me, for sure.

Like, for me, it's not always like what the person is saying, but often when I'm playing, when there's big crowds and stuff, I often engage and make eye contact with people in the crowd. I don't know, just gives me some energy and stuff. That helps. Whether actually hearing them, I don't know if that makes a big difference.

Q. You're playing Felix next, a 20-year-old. What do you know about him? What sort of challenge do you think he'll bring?

ANDY MURRAY: He hits a big ball. He moves well. I hit with him once only in Beijing last year. I think that was the only time I'd hit with him.

Yeah, I mean, I think he's around 20, 21 in the world, ranking-wise? Something like that. He's getting up to the top of the game. I think he quite obviously likes playing on the hard courts. He's had some struggles with his serve at times. That's something that I'll look to capitalize on.

But yeah, I mean, he's a top, top young player. He'll have an excellent, excellent career for sure. He's been really good since he was very young. I think physically he's a fantastic mover, good athlete. Yeah, he's developed fast.

Q. Were you able to appreciate at all in the moment or after the match, after being away so much time from Grand Slam action, the effort that you put in today?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I think it was pretty emotional straight after the match finished. Yeah, when I got back to the locker room, sort of look at my phone, see the messages from family and friends, the team and stuff. They're the people that have kind of seen me go through everything, been there, seen the tough times. I don't know how many of us actually believed I'd be back kind of winning matches like that.

So, yeah, it was emotional after the match finished, for sure. It's more like, yeah, when you read the messages from your family and friends and stuff, yeah, that's kind of when you feel it.

Well, I don't know. I don't know why that is, but you do, or I do anyway. Today's win meant a lot. Like I said, a lot's gone into it.

Q. You've talked a lot about the people watching in suites. You were out there yesterday watching. Is that because the suite is there for you to use and there's nothing else to do? Is it because you like watching tennis, supporting people?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I think yesterday I watched a little bit of the Zverev and Anderson match because I was interested in the match. I thought it was a good first-round match. Yeah, I mean, the seats and stuff that you've got to watch from is brilliant. It's really nice out there.

I mean, I think for the players, just having some people there helps just a little bit. I know some of the players, like yesterday, when Cameron Norrie was playing, quite a few of the British players went out to watch and support him, which we can do when there's fans but it's not quite the same because normally it's pretty loud, certain times difficult to get seats and stuff. If you do go out to watch, people might ask for autographs. It's not necessarily appropriate to always go out and watch matches.

Yeah, I think it's good if the guys can support each other. I just think it just helps a little bit if you're on the court and there's just a few people around. It's better than no one, that's for sure. Yeah, helped me a little bit today.

Q. Was there anyone if you looked up and saw watching that you would be unhappy to see watching you play?

ANDY MURRAY: When I played in the Olympics against Wawrinka in the first round in London, Federer was sitting in his box for that match. That was quite weird. I don't know. It was just a bit weird looking up and seeing him sitting in the players box when usually you look up and see kind of coaches and family and whatnot. He was there in his Swiss track suit and stuff.

I don't know, he's obviously one of the best players of all time, and he was, yeah, just sitting in the box. I played well in that match, so I don't want to say he put me off.

Yeah, I mean, there's not anyone I wouldn't want to watch me, but definitely you feel certain player's presence more than others maybe.

Q. What questions did you have about yourself before this match and what questions did you answer as the match progressed?

ANDY MURRAY: I think the biggest question would have been the physical one, like how I -- actually it was the last question I got asked in the on-court prematch interview. Tom Rinaldi asked me and made me think about it a little bit. He asked me something about, What do you think if you go to five sets? How do you think you'll feel?

I was like, Gee, don't know really. Hadn't thought about it that much. But after it was like, Yeah, I haven't played one for a long time.

Yeah, I guess that was the thing I was most happy with, that I lasted. It was humid today, not that hot. Obviously a long match. I did pretty well physically. Yeah, I guess that was probably my biggest doubt going in and the biggest answer I got from the match today, was physically that I was good. Tennis-wise I could do better.

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