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February 21, 2022

Andy Murray

Dubai, UAE

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium

Press Conference

A. MURRAY/C. O'Connell

6-7, 6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There was an outbreak of a celebration as you got to 40-Love in that final game. Was that an expression of getting over the line after such a match?

ANDY MURRAY: I think it was more that I played a great point to get myself to that situation. I was very frustrated during the match, not happy with how I was feeling on the court and how I was playing. Yeah, made it very difficult for myself out there.

Like at the end I was trying to be more positive in terms of my emotion like when I played a good point. Yeah, it was a struggle out there.

Yeah, just relief to get over the line. I did a great job to win that match. It would have been very easy for me to have lost that tonight. Yeah, came out with a great point at the end to turn the match.

Also, to be fair, when I was down in the third set, as well, some break points, I came up with some good stuff as well.

Q. How did the fans help you out there?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it's a really good atmosphere actually. You never quite know like right now, everything that's going on, how the crowds are going to be at the beginning of the week.

My feeling is that sort of towards the end, like semifinals and finals, generally crowds have been better recently. Sort of early on in the tournaments not quite so much. It was nice to have a big crowd from the beginning of the match.

Q. After the first set, how was it mentally for you to gather yourself?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I found it really difficult tonight. Mentally found it a very tough match. Obviously had a difficult loss last week so I think naturally you're probably going to be doubting yourself a little bit. Yeah, not that comfortable with your game. That certainly was the case for me this evening.

The positives are that physically I did well, I fought right the way through till the end. Yeah, certainly things I need to work on in terms of my game and also just trying to make it a little bit easier on myself by not getting frustrated from early on in the match.

Q. When you had time to reflect on last week, what do you think happened in that match? Was it difficult to kind of put it behind you and be centered this week?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was strange because I played really well in the first round. I was really happy with how I played the first match. I think Roberto plays very well in those conditions, there's no question about that. He obviously had a tough match in the semis. He won the other two matches very comfortably as well.

Yeah, I don't know, didn't find a way to, I don't know, do anything in the match to turn it around. Obviously once the scoreline starts going that way, you keep fighting, but it's like it's difficult when you're struggling to win games.

Yeah, but after a loss like that, what options do you have? Do you go away and sort of hide, take time off, whatever, or do you get some practice in and try and come back the next week and get some wins on the board and try to improve?

I don't know if I played way better tonight, but I got the win. Yeah, getting close to the goal that I've set myself for the last few months. Hopefully I can achieve that in the next round.

Q. At this stage of your career, given all that you've achieved, is it becoming more difficult to sort of come to terms with the fact that matches like tonight and last week are a struggle? What really keeps you going to overcome that?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, because I have goals, and I still believe I can play much better. I mean, since I came back from the hip surgery, I've won against Zverev, Berrettini, Norrie, Hurkacz, Alcaraz. There's a number of guys that are currently in like the top 25, top 30 in the world. I think I've beaten 12 or 13 of them since I came back.

The consistency certainly has not been there. I'm totally aware of that. But there has been times where I played well. The last sort of seven, eight months has been tough. I want to try and get my coaching situation sorted. That's not easy, as well. There's a reason why obviously mostly guys on the tour travel with coaches. Having some consistency and continuity there I think will help me get a bit of consistency back.

But yeah, obviously I'd rather play much better than I did tonight. Also the match against Bautista. The match against Taro Daniel compared to the Australian Open is night and day.

The inconsistency for me has been more frustrating because I'm not sure exactly why it's been so up and down. Yeah, I need to try and change that.

Q. How are you feeling ahead of the tournament? You're back in Dubai after a bit of a hiatus. Are you struggling with the inconsistency over the past few months? How are you feeling going into the tournament?

ANDY MURRAY: How am I? Yeah, I feel like physically I'm doing well in the matches in terms of I played some tough matches recently and came through them well physically, and that's really positive. I'm 8-5 on the year, which is not amazing, but there's a lot of guys on the tour that are significantly worse than that.

So I'm trying to sort of, yeah, not get too disappointed by maybe not performing as well as I would like, sort of accepting or trying to accept the situation that I'm in just now.

Like I said, I want to be doing better. But, yeah, obviously I have an opportunity now this week to achieve a goal of mine. I've been wanting to get to 700 match wins, which I think when it happens will be a great achievement. Yeah, I'm motivated to try to do that in the next round, so I'll focus on that.

Q. Could you please tell us a little bit about the playing conditions here. Is it the fastest court on tour?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think it's probably up there in terms of the actual surface itself. I don't know if it's the fastest because I don't play every single event during the season, but Shanghai usually is a pretty fast court as well. I think usually there it's a little bit more humid and the balls tend to be a bit heavier. It's actually quite a nice sort of blend.

Here, it can obviously be humid here, but I don't think quite as bad as in Shanghai. The balls are a little bit quicker. Yeah, it's definitely up there as one of the fastest on the tour.

Q. A question about Novak. I was wondering if you had a chance to sit down with him or speak to him? Are you happy with him, given that he's here, back on the tour, given he's reiterated his stance about not getting the vaccine?

ANDY MURRAY: Actually I've not seen him here yet. We shared a few messages whilst he was in Australia. Yeah, like I said at the time, I don't agree with his decision. I think it would be a lot easier for him obviously if he was to get vaccinated.

But I also didn't like seeing him in the situation that he was in Australia as someone that I respect, have known since I was a child. I didn't like seeing that. And yeah, I think it would be better for tennis if he was playing all of the major events.

There is consequences to the decisions he's made just now. Yeah, he obviously has to accept that. But I don't think it's great for tennis if our best player is not competing in the major events.

Q. This tournament, they're celebrating 30 years. Can you reflect on your debut here when you beat Roger, if you remember anything of that year, any other favorite memories from this tournament?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I just remember it being -- when the draw came out, I was ranked like 12 or 13 in the world at the time. I think he was No. 1. He was definitely No. 1 seed. But, yeah, it's pretty rare that you would ever get No. 1 player playing someone ranked 12 in the first round. It was obviously a brutal draw. This is obviously a place where he's played extremely well over the years and liked the conditions.

But yeah, I don't remember loads about the match. Obviously at the time for me it was a huge win. I hadn't had loads of success over him at that stage. Played him a few times, done pretty well.

But yeah, the tournament over the years, it's had some great winners. It's got a brilliant history. A lot of top players have played here over the years. Yeah, hope that continues.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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