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June 24, 2021

Max Purcell

Eastbourne, England, UK

Devonshire Park

Press Conference


6-4, 1-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Can you just talk about the week here in Eastbourne coming in as a Lucky Loser and now through to your first ATP singles semifinal.

MAX PURCELL: Yeah, I'm over the moon. I managed to get through my last three main-draw matches after being a break down in the third set, which in itself is pretty hard to break back and win the match, especially on a surface where it's so hard to return. But I'm really pumped, and I still have two more matches to get the job done.

Q. After winning only one game in the second set, did you change up your tactics in the third or did you just play better?

MAX PURCELL: I couldn't get a ball past him in the second set. He wasn't missing, and I kind of was just like if he could keep up that level the whole time, then sure, you can have it, but I tried to, I guess, change the intensity a little bit with my attitude at the start of the third set, see if I could kind of spark something. And I think it did.

I knew going into it, he had nothing to lose in the second set and he's got more skin in the game after winning the second so there was a bit more to lose in the third set.

Yeah, I just tried to mix it up as much as possible and make it as difficult as I could out there for him.

Q. A question on grass, do you rate that as your best surface?

MAX PURCELL: Definitely. Terrible that on basically the surface that tennis started on, we've only got about three or four weeks of the year to play on it, but I guess I'm just making the most of it here.

Q. Growing up, did you get a chance to play much on grass? Was the quality of the courts of varying quality?

MAX PURCELL: Not as much on grass, but basically all my tennis still as about 12 was on synthetic grass, so similar enough game style. Obviously it's not the same, but a lot of the slice, redirecting, you know, there is a variety of different ones, slow and fast, in Australia with the synthetic, but I grew up on that, and for sure that's helped shaped how I play on these courts.

Q. Have you played on any of the traditional Australian grass courts, Kooyong, White City, Kings Park?

MAX PURCELL: Kooyong, yes, practice. I played in Mildura, those courts. I've played in Albury-Wodonga, and Sydney University in Sydney, and I'm going to say that's it.

Q. What sort of age did you start playing on those?

MAX PURCELL: All those, about the earliest probably would have been like eight or nine through Albury and stuff. Then after that it was more professional, all money tournament stuff, so maybe 16 or above.

Q. Does it feel like different grass in England compared with the grass in Australia?

MAX PURCELL: The level is a lot better, like the courts here are, especially the center court, that court and like more of the stadium courts, they're in unbelievable condition here. They're are a lot flatter. You'll find Sydney Uni is basically like a hump, basically don't want to hit anything that's not out of the air.

But, yeah, I mean, I just feel comfortable on it. As Australians, we love playing on grass. I have looked and we've got a great history of players who have done well on it.

Q. I was going to ask you whether the history is a factor in you liking grass.

MAX PURCELL: Yeah, I think so. I think it already gets put in your head that I like this surface, it's more fun. And I think also the fact you only get four weeks on it a year kind of makes you think like let's make the most of it, let's have some fun. So, yeah.

Q. What would you put down to having everything coming together this week and some of the results you have had? Is there any one specific thing?

MAX PURCELL: Well, I took nine weeks of training after the Australian Open this year, just because I knew with no real way of getting out of that two-week quarantine coming back to Australia that I was going to have to stay over for the whole year, so I tried to shorten that for as long as I could by staying at home.

Me and my coach just got a lot of quality sessions in, and I think we finished that thinking, like, my game's at a really good spot. Obviously we have got a lot to still get better at, but was in a really good spot.

I was just hanging to play some singles events. The first couple of events I got in over here, I did my back really bad in Parma against Gombos, first-round quallies, and after that it's been a bit topsy-turvy with needing physio treatment, but if I pull out a week in advance, how do I get accreditation to get into the tournament to then see the physios? So just managing my body has been a bit of a wreck during these times.

But, yeah, I mean, it's coming together. Yeah, credit it to the work and the discipline me and my coach put in back home. And I think that sense of belonging as well has really helped out there.

Q. How much of that has also come from the success you have been having in doubles and that transferring across to the singles court?

MAX PURCELL: About the only thing that doubles has been useful for has been feeling out like these bigger venues, because I have played most of the biggest tournaments in the world now being on the doubles side of thing, not singles, but I'm getting used to playing on the bigger courts and the bigger occasions.

I basically practice no doubles while I'm away. I try and practice with as many of the top singles guys as I can, putting my name down when anyone's looking, having no manager help me sorting out if anyone needs practice, just getting a feel and getting my name out there with a lot of these guys. I'm feeling a lot more comfortable every time I get a practice session with somebody good.

Also, last week playing doubles with Aslan, who has had an amazing jump to stardom basically in this last year, just being around him and his coach and picking their brain a bit was really great. They've been cheering me on here, which is also great. Yeah.

Q. Has he actually said much to you? Because he's normally, when we speak to him, you don't get much out of him.

MAX PURCELL: Oh, no, yeah, I think that's just the kind of person you'll find he is. Him and his coach have been really nice and saying "Congratulations" and whatnot. As friendly as they can be.

Q. Can I just ask on the financial side how this is going to help your career, this big win, this big run this week? You were saying you've got to pay to get coaches to go with you, et cetera. Is this going to be a huge boost for you?

MAX PURCELL: Yes and no. I mean, still with doubles I'm picking up some decent paychecks. That's really not an issue. Then the run from the Australian Open the other year has kind of helped.

The fact I haven't been able to bring a coach with me at the end of last year or anything this year because of the whole two weeks coming back means I'm not really spending a lot while I'm over here.

Yes, it will help in the future when I can eventually bring my coach with me so he doesn't have to worry about the two-week quarantine, but at the moment, I'm not really worried about any of the money. It's kind of all just relative.

Q. Inside you, did you ever expect a week like this to come around the corner? I mean, you play week in, week out, you look to get into a tournament. Did you believe that this was going to happen at some point?

MAX PURCELL: I think you kind of have to believe, otherwise who wants to go out there and be a tennis player that doesn't believe in themselves?

I mean, I'm believing in the practice and work I have been doing with my coach. I have just been waiting for the right opportunity. Everyone is on their own path. There is no right or wrong age to start to make strides on the ATP Tour, so I have just kind of been under the impression that everything is happening for me, and this just happens to be the week where I'm making a little bit of a start.

Q. Have you had any sort of comeback feedback from Tennis Australia or anybody else?

MAX PURCELL: Oh, no, still yet to get a congratulations from any of them.

Q. No holding your breath?

MAX PURCELL: Definitely not (smiling). It's okay. I have my own team, I build my own team around me, and I have a lot of friends and family who supported me, and that's all I really need.

Like many people, you're not meant to be liked by everyone. I guess some people like you for who you are and some people hate you for the same reasons or dislike you for the same reasons. I'm just trying to be who I am, and, yeah, that's all I can ever want to be.

Q. Did Alex De Minaur say anything to you? You could potentially be on course for a final meeting.

MAX PURCELL: Yeah, he wished me good luck before I went on court, and the same I wished to him when we, I guess, walked past each other today. Alex, I don't spend a whole lot of time around him at the tennis. He's got his team with him, and I feel I'm not going to bother him. He's doing really well, and I'll just leave it to him.

Q. Can I just ask, how does it feel to have No. 16 seeding for Wimbledon in the doubles? Does it mean anything to you?

MAX PURCELL: Um, it means I don't have to play another seed until the third round if we're lucky enough to get there. Other than that, not a whole lot.

I'm just trying as much as I can to enjoy my doubles lately. Hopefully I don't have to play as much, or when I do play, it will be because of my singles ranking getting into it rather than my doubles ranking, but getting into the tournament in doubles and being seeded doesn't really do a whole lot of difference, because I feel like the level of depth is just so much out there, so anyone can really beat anyone.

Obviously, again, nice you don't have to play a seed the first two rounds, but if you want to win the tournament, which I turn up to every tournament wanting to win the tournament, you're going to have to beat them anyway.

Q. What are you setting yourself as a ranking target and within what space of time?

MAX PURCELL: With how everything is now and the whole point system how it's just absurd how many points you need to get to the top 100, it's like an extra 300 points than what it should be, I'm not really going to put any pressure on myself end of this year to get to the top 100 just from limited events on the surfaces I like to play on, and the whole not being able to go home to reset and then come and attack loads of tournaments and have my coach there with me, but it would be nice to get close to 150 to finish the year, and then potentially, you know, set me up really nicely. Maybe Australia is more open so I can then bring my coach and we can start strong next year.

Q. Who are you working with?

MAX PURCELL: Nathan Healey.

Q. Oh, okay. Nathan has got good experience and he's a good guy and easy to get on with.

MAX PURCELL: Yeah, definitely. Been working with him since the start. Just been over two-and-a-half years now.

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