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February 24, 2023

Andy Murray

Doha, Qatar

Press Conference

A. MURRAY/J. Lehecka

6-0, 3-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You've had a lot of crazy matches in your career, but this one for sure is ranking at the top. I mean, you were ecstatic after winning. What does it mean to you to be in another final right now?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I just can't believe I managed -- I don't know how I managed to turn that match around. I mean, I actually, in the 5-4 game, I think I played most of the match points really well. You know, he missed one bad shot on the deuce point in that game at 5-4, but, you know, played the match points pretty well.

Then, yeah, the tiebreak was very back-and-forth, as well. Just managed to come up with, you know, a great serve on the 6-All point. Although he probably should have made the volley on the match point, like, I hit a pretty tricky return off what was, you know, a great serve.

Yeah, just laughing because, yeah, it's been an amazing sort of start to the year. I have never experienced this in my whole career, like this many matches. You know, talking about it yesterday in the press, like, you know, at some stage, you know, there is going to be a quicker one or whatever.

It was sort of looking that way for 30 minutes and then turned into something completely different. Yeah, just amazing that I managed to turn that around.

Q. Did you expect to reach a final before coming to Doha?

ANDY MURRAY: That's a difficult question. I mean, I knew I was playing well. I had been practicing very well. The two weeks before coming here I was feeling good on the court. I told that to my team, and also, you know, when I was talking with the guys I was practicing with that, you know, I was feeling good about my game.

But, I mean, this week we could have ended very differently, as well. I was match points down in the first round. You know, could have lost against Zverev. Could have lost tonight, as well.

But the way that I have played in the really important moments, in the critical moments, has shown that there is a confidence there and a belief in my game that's been missing for a while. I'm really happy about that.

Q. You won many matches this week with difficult beginning. This time you started perfectly, but again, a crazy ending. At the end, you saved eight match points during the week. What's your secret?

ANDY MURRAY: (Smiling.) Yeah, like I said, I don't know, because this is not something that I have been doing, like, every week of my career. This is something that I haven't experienced before, which is really cool for me at this age and this stage of my career to have new experiences.

Yeah, something that, I guess, when people have asked me a lot over the last few years, like, Why are you still playing, or, What are you looking to get out of, you know, the last few years of your career, it's like, yeah, for moments like that in big matches, you know, the latter stages of events.

There hasn't been that many of them over the last couple of years, but I have kept working and kept believing in myself and my team. Yeah, it's been a crazy start to the year, so, yeah, I don't know. There is no secret. There is a little bit of luck involved, obviously, as well. Yeah, just working hard and, you know, continuing to believe in myself.

Q. For the pleasure of dwelling on the same topic again, when you have saved so many tight matches, match after match after match, do you feel you get some sort of momentum, edge, when it comes to the crunchy points that in the back of your mind, you're like, I have done it, I've got a little extra?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I think as well, yeah, definitely how you approach those moments, like there is a certain calmness to those situations, because you have been in them a lot in a short period of time. So you know how you need to try and play in those moments, and, you know, it becomes a little bit of a habit. Maybe it's a little bit in the back of the opponent's mind, as well.

I know there has been periods in the year where someone like Novak, you know, has come back from very difficult situations, and certainly it has appeared that, you know, players think about it a little bit when they are getting close to the finish line. That's something that I'm feeling a bit just now. Obviously will try to keep that going.

Q. We see that you touch your ankle at the end of the set. Can you tell us a little bit, it hurts you or it was just a moment and nothing?

ANDY MURRAY: It was just a bit of a fright, because I was very close to twisting the ankle. He hit like an unexpected dropshot on the match point. He hadn't had many in the whole match.

Usually when players hit dropshots, you're running to them on an angle. Whereas that one was very central on the court, and I had to try and stop myself before hitting the net. Usually I'm someone who stops with my right leg all the time, and there I had to try and stop with the left leg.

Yeah, I had that feeling that my ankle was close to twisting. But I wear the ankle braces which helps protect it. So I'm sure it will be fine.

Q. From 5-3, the score, when did you experience which game or match that you think that I find the silver lining, I can do it? Is it like 4-5, 5-All?

ANDY MURRAY: In the 5-4 game when I got back into that game at like 40-30 and then when I got back to deuce, like, well, I know myself this is where experience can help is that I know being in that situation that if you're serving for a match and you lose three match points that, yeah, you feel the nerves and you feel the pressure. It's normal to feel that.

So I knew once I got back to deuce in that game that it wasn't going to be easy for him. Yeah, he made a couple of mistakes in that moment. Obviously after that, the momentum was on my side at 5-All. We got new balls, as well, for me to serve with. I was able to get some free points with the serve. Kept the pressure on him there.

Q. I have noticed in the third set you look tight and a cramp? I was very near to see when I have seen there is some tiredness in your body.

ANDY MURRAY: Are you asking if I was tired?

Q. It looked in third set. And there was some cramp, looks like cramp in your leg.

ANDY MURRAY: Oh, no cramping today. I mean, definitely some fatigue. Definitely a bit tired because of the matches, but I felt, and this is where like psychology plays quite a big part in how you perceive your tiredness, is that at the beginning of the third set, like, you still feel quite far away from the end of the match, so, you know, I was feeling, like, This is going to be tough.

But then at the end when you're very close to the finish line, like, I don't know. Like you forget about that, because you know the match is nearly finished and there is only sort of 5, 10 minutes left. So at the end I felt okay.

Yeah, definitely the end of the second set and beginning of the third set, yeah, I was feeling a bit tired physically and mentally, as well. But as I got closer to the end, I felt okay. Let's hope I feel good tomorrow.

Q. Do you feel that you are creating some kind of mysticism in the clutch moments of your rival? It's going to be, I have to put one more in, I have to put my best to defeat Murray? Do you think you're creating that mysticism in the clutch moment?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think so. That's definitely how it's felt, you know, the first couple of, you know, the first couple of tournaments I played this year. You know, it has felt that way.

Yeah, my year could have looked very different. I could have lost -- I mean, Berrettini missed a very easy shot in the match point in the Australian Open, and I could have lost my first two matches of the year. If Kokkinakis had served the match out at 5-3 in the third set against me, like, you know, as well, I could have been done in the second round.

Yeah, my year could have looked different (smiling). But that's, yeah, that's one of the great things about the scoring system in this sport is things can change very quickly. I had multiple conversations with my team in the middle to the end part of last year, and I lost lots of close matches.

You know, whether that was in Cincinnati or the US Open or in Gijon, in Paris. You know, it happened in the final of Stuttgart, semifinals in Surbiton. I had many matches where I was in good positions and couldn't win last year.

I said, As soon as I start winning some, that that's going to change quickly because of the law of averages, really, like I couldn't keep losing that many matches. If I kept working hard and kept improving just a little bit, then those matches would change.

So I'm glad that I was right with that, and I hope it continues.

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