August 29, 2020
New York, New York, USA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What are your thoughts on this professional tennis players association which is being started by Djokovic and Pospisil and a few other guys? They're having a meeting tonight. Something you plan on signing up for? Something you don't think it's a good idea?
ANDY MURRAY: So I won't be signing it today. I'm not totally against a player union, player association, but right now there's a couple of things:
One is I feel like the current management that are in place should be given some time to implement their vision. Whether that works out or not would potentially influence me in the future as to which way I would go.
Also the fact that the women aren't part of it, I feel like that would send a significantly -- well, just a much more powerful message personally if the WTA were onboard with it, as well. That's not currently the case.
If those things changed in the future, it's something that I would certainly, certainly consider.
Q. First time back since 2018. As a former champion, despite the circumstances of this year, how excited are you to be back competing at the US Open?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I'm pumped. It's obviously slightly strange circumstances this year with no fans and stuff here. That's one of the things I enjoy about competing. That's not just here, but I guess all of the tournaments.
Yeah, I feel like last time I was here I played a couple of good matches, but it wasn't that enjoyable for me because the hip was really not good. Whereas now, like in the matches I played last week, I felt pretty good on the court in terms of my body. Although the matches were still difficult and stressful, still enjoyable to be out there competing because my body was actually feeling okay.
Hopefully that will be the case again next week, yeah, get out there and hopefully get to play a few matches again in a Grand Slam.
Q. On a bigger perspective, do you think in the current structure that the issues of compensation and the distribution of compensation and the possibility of working closer with the women's tour can be worked out and resolved or is your feeling more that it has to have a total restart?
ANDY MURRAY: I'm really sorry. Ask me that one more time. I didn't quite understand.
Q. I'm trying to take the issue at hand and put it in a perspective. My question is, do you think in the current structure of the ATP, the issues of pay and the distribution of compensation, and the issue of working with women, the women's tour, can be worked out or do you feel more it has to be a restart, total new structure?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, that's a good question.
I mean, I don't know is the simple answer. My understanding right now is that the prize money split towards the players, in the tournaments outside of the Grand Slams, is at a level that the players should be comfortable with. The Grand Slams are where the player compensation I feel should just be a higher percentage.
For me, again, it's not just about the money. The players' understanding right now at the slams is that it's something like 16% to 18% are what the players are getting. I think I speak for all of the players, that we feel like we are worth more than that to the event.
Obviously if the revenue dropped, and our percentage was higher, we're also fine with losing prize money. It's just how much are the players worth, what percentage are the players worth to the event. I think that it's higher than 16%.
I don't know if that's necessarily an ATP/WTA issue. You know obviously the Grand Slams are not part of that. I think we've come together in the past and worked together to try to improve the player compensation, basically the split of the revenue before. Obviously we got some improvements. Still a lot of the players feel like it should be more.
I think that it's possible to do that under the current structure. I think for the ATP and WTA tournaments there's always going to be some issues there. So, yeah, a little bit more unity I think would be a positive thing between the ATP and the WTA.
Q. Coming into the US Open, physically how are you feeling? Mentally how are you feeling, not just tennis but with everything going on with COVID?
ANDY MURRAY: I think, like, physically right now I feel pretty good, so I'm really happy about that because it's allowing me to practice and prepare properly, enjoy my time on the court basically.
I think mentally it's going to be difficult for the players. I mean, obviously Novak won the tournament this week. There's people saying that some of the players will find it challenging playing without fans and stuff. It is difficult, but the level of tennis is what's important. If you can sort of block all of the weirdness of playing without a crowd, like, on big stadiums and stuff. I actually felt okay doing that last week. It didn't feel too bad in the matches.
Yeah, it will be tricky. I play my first match on Arthur Ashe. I played some of the best atmospheres that I've ever played in tennis has been on that court. To go out there on such a huge stadium and have literally no one in the stands is going to be weird. I know that's going to be the case, so at least I can prepare for it mentally.
It's different, but I'm just looking forward to getting to compete in a slam again.
Q. As somebody who's been coming to this tournament for more than 15 years, what has it been like walking around the grounds, seeing the changes that have been made, the concessions to the pandemic, more outdoor space, but it's almost around there? What has struck you the most as you've been around the grounds?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, so there's times like today, I actually hit indoors today because it's been raining. But when you're walking to and from practice, you have to get somewhere for a certain time, it's nice. You know that there's no one around, that you're not going to get stopped. Yeah, it's very quiet and very relaxed.
Then there's also been times like after one of my practices last week where I finished practice, I was walking back to the locker room, I was walking through the grounds. I was like, Wow, this is pretty sad because usually this place is just filled with energy and atmosphere like before the tournament starts. Now it's tennis players and their teams walking around with masks on. It's just all very different and a little bit sad.
Like I said, the fans are what -- I don't know. They give life to the tournaments and everything. They give life to your matches and your practices. Yeah, sometimes it can be a bit hectic, as well.
On the whole, I'd way rather this place was filled with people that are excited to come and watch tennis. Yeah, I miss that.
Q. With all that you've been through to get to this point, from a physical standpoint how would you describe that road and what you're feeling about what you've accomplished just to get back to here?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, look, it's been hard for sure. But since I managed to get back on the court and start competing again, like, I don't know, I try not to think about my hip and things when I'm out there, the fact that it's metal, things like that. I try not to think about it because I'm not feeling it that much right now when I'm playing.
Yeah, it's been a long kind of journey to kind of get back to this point. Hopefully actually you're going to compete at a slam in a few days' time where I'm not worried, I don't know, about how I'm going to be, how my hip's going to feel, things like that.
The last time that would have been was in the 2017 French Open. It's a long time ago. I know I've played a couple of slams since then, but that wasn't really me on the court. Whereas now, yeah, I'm not as quick probably as I was before, but I'm able to go out there and compete and focus on the tennis, hopefully be able to last a five-set match without my performance seriously deteriorating as it goes on.
Yeah, it's been tough to get to this point, a lot of hard work, lots of ups and downs. But I made it back. It would be nice to go out there and get a win on Tuesday.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports