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June 14, 2021

Andy Murray

London, England, UK

Queens Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Good to see you back. How are you feeling, and how has the preparation been?

ANDY MURRAY: I feel okay. I don't feel perfect, but, yeah, like, I have been practicing well over the last month or so, you know, pretty consistently. I have been training at Wimbledon, and we came out here the last few days and had a couple of good practices.

Yeah, the question mark is obviously whether the body holds up and, you know, I can't say with any great certainty right now whether that's going to happen or not, because I have been feeling good at different points throughout the last nine months or so, and, you know, practiced really well, felt good going into tournaments. Then, you know, something's happened or whatever happened in Miami.

Yeah, I can't say with any great certainty I will be okay. I mean, I hope I will be, because I'm sure and I have seen enough again in practice that my tennis is fine and in a good place, but, you know, physically I need to hold up under playing matches.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about Novak, obviously winning the French. You obviously bear the scars of some pretty brutal matches over your career, well-documented problems. Were you kind of amazed at the physical ability of him being able to come back after a match against Nadal, finished 11:00 at night, and do it all over again in five sets within 48 hours?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I have seen it before, so I wouldn't say I was surprised. I wouldn't say I was surprised by it.

You know, the match yesterday -- well, I didn't see the beginning of the match. I don't know how physical the first set was. I heard that it was good tennis. Yeah, I mean, obviously the match against Nadal was a brutal match physically. Nadal was obviously struggling right at the end of the match, I think the last five or six games, you know, physically struggling.

There was one point in the match where I think they played a game where the average rally length was something like 12 shots in one game. That's unreal really. Really, the level they were playing at was a brilliant match.

Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say I was surprised because I have seen him, you know, come back from tough matches before and play great a few days later. I think, yeah, the way he turned the match around is obviously impressive yesterday.

It was strange, though, because like as soon as the break happened beginning of the third, I didn't see Tsitsipas winning. You know, Novak changed his strategy, changed his game tactically, and I couldn't see the match going any other way than Novak's after that.

Q. Obviously beating Rafa at the French Open for a second time, I know you love tennis stats and talking about who's the greatest is always a conversation that's always quite interesting among fans, but he has a chance to equal Roger and Rafa in terms of slams, and he's beaten them at their favorite slams multiple times. He's the first man to win multiple majors at every slam. He's won multiple Masters events. Do you think it's become an overwhelming block of evidence that he's the greatest male player of all time now?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, none of their careers are finished yet, so I think obviously you have to wait and see what happens, but, I mean, all of them -- yeah, for me the fact he's won every Masters Series twice, is it? Is that it?

Q. Yeah.

ANDY MURRAY: And yesterday has won every slam twice, as well, which for him is something that that obviously stands out as where you could make that argument, well, you know, that is incredible what he's done.

Then, like, with Rafa you would then look and go, Well, on clay he's won 13 French Opens. You know, that's the most that anyone has won at a single slam. That's incredible.

You know, then with Roger, you know, he's been doing it all multiple kind of generations now. He's still able to compete at the highest level. He's 39 years old. You know, his record and his results on grass are unmatched. You know, all of them have, you know, things that or achievements that you could argue make them better than another.

I mean, I'm not, I don't know if they are, maybe they are, but I'm not that fast about who is the best. I think there is no doubt that it's been the best era in tennis history. I know people said the same thing like when Sampras won 14. It was like, God, I don't think anyone is ever going to beat that, or, It's going to take a long time for someone to beat a record of 14, and then you've got three guys that are probably going to win 20-plus majors in the next generation.

So it's incredible what all of them have done. It's been great to have played during that period and also challenging, but, yeah, I think as a tennis fan it's been a great, great time to get to watch it and play a small part in it as a player, as well.

Q. Good to see you back. I wanted to ask you, when you watched Nadal against Djokovic the other day and you see the standard that they were playing, does that have any impact on what you feel about your own tennis from here on? Does it make a difference? Do you think, my God, it's going to be even harder to get back?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, it depends what my goal is. If my goal is to get to No. 1 in the world or to win majors, if that's the only reason why I would continue playing tennis, which it isn't, because if it was then I would have stopped three, four years ago. You know, I got asked yesterday in an interview, like, At Queen's what's been your best memories, Queen's looking back?

The first memory, maybe because it was most recent, but I don't think it was because of that, but winning the doubles at Queen's with Feli. For me it was really special, and I still created a memory and something I will look back on and be very proud and look back on that fondly.

You know, you can still do things on the court outside of winning slams or competing with those guys, you know, which you can enjoy. Yeah, what I'm trying to do as well has not happened before, so that's my own part of, you know, my career and my journey that I like that, as well.

In terms of that match, like, look, it was an incredible match. You know, there is a bit of me that's jealous watching that, like I would love to be playing in those matches, I would love to still be competing with them in semis and stuff of slams, I would love that. I'm not going to try and hide that. But, you know, I also respect incredibly what they are doing and the level of tennis that they are playing.

That match, especially for me, was -- I mean, it was brilliant. They both played amazing. So many points in that match were just incredible.

Yeah, fair play to those guys that they are still out there doing it. But, yeah, like, I don't look at that match and think about my own career really, like I wasn't thinking that really as I was playing like what this means for me really.

Q. Regarding your physical struggles, I don't know whether you've thought, but people have generally thought if Andy is going to do well in singles again, if you'll have a chance, grass is it. You have kind of waited two years to get to this point because the grass court tournaments were canceled last year. I wonder how frustrating is it that still now you don't feel right physically? And also people might wonder if you're not right on the grass and you're putting all this work in and it's still not happening, how much longer can you keep doing that?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the other answer, but it's like the reason why I'm still playing is because I love playing tennis. You know, I spoke to a number of my ex-coaches who were players and played at high level. You know, I asked them about like when they finished playing or what it was like at the end of their careers and stuff.

Yeah, like, unanimously they were all, like, Look, it was extremely difficult to stop playing, and our advice would be to play as long as you can, so long as you are still enjoying it, you know, and providing your body can still do it. Which maybe there is question marks over mine in that respect. But, yeah, they were like, Nothing replaces it. It's difficult to replace, you know, being out there and competing on a tennis court and playing sport at the highest level.

Yeah, I want to keep playing as long as I can. I know that I can still compete with the best players in the world. I have been doing it consistently in practice, you know, over these last sort of six months, seven months, and certainly on the grass I don't see why not.

Like I said, you can speak to the players about that, as well. I have practiced with lots of them. Like my level is still good. It's just I need my body to hold up, and it's been extremely frustrating for me with all the different issues.

But, yeah, I want to keep trying and still have the desire to go out there and compete and to train every day to try and improve and give myself a chance to keep going. Yeah, create more memories on the court and get more wins.

Q. A question about Roger, please. A lot of people think this may well be the last summer that we see him at Wimbledon. I wonder if you could sum up what you think his contribution to tennis has been. Not in terms of what he's achieved in terms of Grand Slam titles or whatever, but what he's done for the profile and the image of tennis as a sport.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, so, I mean, I have heard quite a few times over the years that he was going to stop and people have been speculating on that different times over -- remember when he lost to Tommy Robredo at the US Open, people talking about that then. I don't know if that was like eight, nine years ago or something (smiling).

I mean, I don't know whether he's going to stop playing this year or not. I'd be surprised if he did the way that he is still able to play and compete. He seems like he still loves it.

But, yeah, in terms of what he's contributed, I think he's not the first one to do it, but he's certainly transcended the sport. He's a global sporting icon, which, you know, like I said, there has been some before in tennis, but I'm not sure how many have done it like him.

I think he's just, I don't know, he's extremely well respected in the world of sport, and it's not just because of the amount he's won, just obviously the way he's gone about things and the way he's played the game as well.

I think he's always felt that sense of responsibility to the sport and to the media and how he sort of presents himself and stuff. Yeah, he's been a great ambassador for tennis and a great role model I think for lots of young players to look up to.

I personally, like, I had always seen him as like a competitor and someone I was competing against and like a rival. I'm not saying -- I certainly haven't achieved anything near like what he has done, but a lot of my career was competing against him in big tournaments and important matches and stuff. So I didn't always look at him as like a role model. But, like, watching him at the French Open and stuff the other day, I was obviously seeing things on social media about it, but it's amazing what he's still doing and trying to do for, yeah, a sport he clearly loves.

Yeah, he's been brilliant, and I hope he keeps playing for as long as he can. Yeah, I just don't quite understand, because I have experienced it myself, this sort of why people want to always ask those questions about when someone is going to finish. Like, he'll do it when he's ready.

I wish everyone would sort of like encourage him to keep going and keep playing as long as he can, as long as his body can do it, because we'll miss him when it's over.

Q. Good to see you. You have touched on this, how you want to stay fit and enjoy it. Do you have any other hopes or expectations for this week and for this summer, especially at Wimbledon? What do you think other people's expectations should be of how you're going to do?

ANDY MURRAY: My priority, and I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but that I'm healthy. My focus is on that. Because I know I can still play high-level tennis. I'm convinced of that. But if the body is not right, I'm not able to do that.

So, yeah, like if I can get through these matches and feel physically well, I'm sure that I'll win tennis matches and, yeah, and do things that are maybe slightly not unexpected. I don't know exactly what everyone is expecting of me, but, you know, judging by what you can see on social media, a lot of people don't think that I can play and compete at this level anymore.

So I don't know what the expectations should be, but for me, my focus is on, you know, my body and that's my hope and my goals is to be physically fit. I'm still training well and practicing well, and I'm in good shape in terms of all the numbers and everything I'm producing in the gym. I'm aware that that stuff is really it's irrelevant. You need to be able to get through tennis matches and, you know, compete at the highest level. I have been unable to do that. So I have said at the beginning I don't want to promise anything in terms of that respect, because I don't even know myself exactly. Let's wait and see what happens, but my goal and priority is to be healthy.

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