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August 28, 2021

Andy Murray

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously being unseeded, tough draw. What is your reaction when you found out you probably get Stefanos? Feels like you can't catch a break.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I was on the bus on the way in to practice. Yeah, saw the draw. That was it. Yeah, obviously was not the easiest draw out there.

And, yeah, like you said, when you're not seeded, these sorts of things can happen. Yeah, well, it will be a good, good test for me to see kind of where my game's at, where it's progressed to from when I arrived in the States really.

I've been practicing hard, obviously got some matches in. Yeah, we'll see where my game's at.

Q. How would you describe US Open crowds and what they mean to you?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, they've always got a ton of energy. Like always when you play here, there's always noise on the court, even during points, which that to me would be the difference between like if you compare Wimbledon to here. It's obviously silent when you're playing. Here there's always a like constant murmur. You sort of notice it a bit more. Now with the roof in there, it's always pretty loud.

But when I was a kid and came here for the first time to play like in the juniors, it was different to what I'd sort of experienced and kind of been around before.

They're more into sort of the entertainment side of things around here, like with the fan cam, the kiss cam, the music. I don't know, they've always got some actors and actresses or comedians doing things at the end changes and stuff, so...

Yeah, that's what I like about it. It's different. Yeah, New York as a city, obviously it's a pretty hectic place usually. It's a little bit quieter this year.

Yeah, especially at the end of a long season, it's always quite hard to manage your energy and stuff. You need to be careful with that because, yeah, there's a lot going on.

Q. Does the crowd instill energy in you when you're playing in front of it?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, it has done certainly. I played a lot of brutal matches here over the years. Yeah, the crowd's always helped. They like people that fight, give their all, show their heart and emotion and energy and stuff on the court.

I think over the years here I've had very good support, so I've enjoyed that.

Q. Listening to what you've been saying when you were playing in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem, would you say you're happier the way your body is holding up than the way you're playing at the moment?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, physically I've been good since I've been here in the matches. That was also the case through Wimbledon, as well. I was a little bit fatigued towards the end of Wimbledon because of the longer matches that I played in the first couple of rounds, having not played for a while.

Yeah, over here in the matches, my body's been good. I pulled up well the following days after them and stuff. That for me has been really positive.

But, yeah, I would obviously like my game to be in a better place. Yeah, it's interesting sometimes that you don't feel like you're playing particularly well, but I've had opportunities in my matches against top players in the last few weeks and not quite taken them. Maybe if I do, I'd maybe be sitting here with a slightly different take on things.

Yeah, I'd like to be playing and doing better.

Q. I don't expect you to claim you knew back when you were 11 or 12 that Novak was going to win 20 Grand Slam titles, have a shot at a calendar Grand Slam. In hindsight, can you think of any qualities or an anecdote about Novak from years ago that maybe marked him as being a little bit different, special, that you can think back and say this guy showed something that made him stand out from the crowd?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, look, I think it would probably be the case with -- actually maybe Rafa was a bit different. But I've spoken to players that competed against Federer when he was sort of 17, 18 years old. A lot of them said he was very good but never expected obviously him to go on to do what he's done.

I think Rafa from a very young age was always pretty special, was right up at the top of the game and winning slams at a very young age. Maybe he was a bit different.

Yeah, with Novak, I mean, he always had lots of qualities on the court, had a very solid all-around game. But again, I don't think many people would have predicted that he would go on to win 20 Grand Slams, trying to do what he's going to do here.

Yeah, like if you look at his game over the years, the things he's improved, he's turned himself into a complete player. He plays great on all surfaces. He has an underrated serve. He's the best returner of all time.

I think his movement and his athleticism is something that maybe would stand him out from other players, maybe something you could have seen when he was younger. He had, like, unbelievable flexibility and stuff, was able to defend the corners extremely well, which I think is a bit different maybe to the other two. Not that Roger and Rafa don't defend very well, but it's more the way that Novak moves, it's quite different. The way he can slide into his backhand like even on hard courts and stuff, he shrinks the court that way.

So, yeah, I don't think at 19, 20 years old, and when I knew him when we were 13, 14, I would have anticipated he'd go on to do what he's done. Knew he was a great player, but to be doing what he's doing is very, very special.

Q. On the issue of your level, I think you said after the Tiafoe match you felt like you were playing like 50 or 60 in the world tennis. Do you feel like you're being held back a bit by the amount of hours you can put on the practice court? Are you still limiting those? Is it still holding you back a little bit?

ANDY MURRAY: That was pretty quiet, but I think I got the gist of it.

Well, I mean, the positive thing in the last few months is that I haven't been held back really from what I can do on the practice court. In terms of the amount of time, it was something we spoke a lot about post Wimbledon, was that I'd sort of done all the preparation and everything in the gym, and hadn't really had anywhere near enough time on the practice court before then. It was always getting sort of limited by... Well, you know all the various issues.

But when you're building up from a niggle, you can't go from doing 30 minutes a day to two hours the following day. It's like a gradual process. Just was not getting the opportunity to get consistent practice, whereas for me since Wimbledon it's been really positive that I've been on the court.

Obviously there's been the odd travel day, some days off here and there, but been able to practice most days and had no physical issues that have stopped me from doing that. So that's been really positive.

But again, yeah, like it's the matches where you need to ultimately go out there and perform. Yeah, I haven't done that as well as I would have liked. That's what's been frustrating the last few weeks.

The positive thing is that I have been on the practice court and I have been training, yeah, doing all the things I wanted to do from a practice perspective.

Q. I presume you were aware of this development last night whereby spectators are now being mandated to have a vaccine in order to enter the grounds. I'm wondering, do you think it's a sustainable position whereby some players are vaccinated and others aren't, and you have a situation in a stadium where you don't really know which players are vaccinated? From your point of view, sharing locker rooms and stuff like that, do you think it's sustainable?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, over the next few months things are going to probably end up changing quite a bit. I know the conversations with regards to the Australian Open and stuff are already happening. The players that have been vaccinated are going to potentially be able to -- well, they're going to be having very different conditions to players who are not vaccinated.

Yeah, I can see it's going to become an issue over the coming months. If tournaments are going to go ahead and be held like the Aussie Open, a lot of the tour is not vaccinated, but for them to go ahead and host it, they're going to be, yeah, allowing the players that have had the vaccination to train and move freely between the hotel and stuff, potentially not having to quarantine and things like that.

Yeah, there's going to have to be a lot of pretty long, hard conversations with the tour and all of the players involved to try and come to a solution.

Yeah, like even here in New York, you've got the situation with gyms and stuff, need to be vaccinated. Eating in restaurants and things, obviously have to be vaccinated.

I feel like I'm enjoying kind of a fairly normal life, whereas for the players that haven't, it's different. I'm sure they'll be frustrated with that.

Ultimately I guess the reason why all of us are getting vaccinated is to look out for the wider public. We have a responsibility as players that are traveling across the world, yeah, to look out for everyone else as well.

I'm happy that I'm vaccinated. I'm hoping that more players choose to have it in the coming months.

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