August 17, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.
Q. You took a set off a current Grand Slam titleholder and played a good match on a center court. Do you not feel you're starting to belong now?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I didn't think it was a great match, to be honest. I made a lot of mistakes. I didn't do what I wanted to do very well. I didn't put enough first serves in, and the games where I got broken I made too many mistakes off easy balls. It was quite difficult playing against someone like him because he puts a lot of pressure on your second serve and he's got such big ground strokes and it's quite intimidating. So when you get behind in the games - I was behind in a couple of my service games 30-Love - it is pretty difficult to come back from.
Q. His extra power, was it difficult to cope with early on?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I was actually -- I thought the ball was coming through slower than what it was going to. I think the court was pretty slow. The one I played on yesterday I felt was quite quick. At the start, it was pretty slow. He does hit the ball hard, but I didn't feel like the shots were like unbelievable. But, obviously, I don't think he played one of his better matches today, and I don't think I played so well.
Q. Was intimidation a factor for you early on? Maybe you started to overcome it once the second set started.
ANDY MURRAY: A lot of it, I suppose. I mean, when you're playing against somebody like him, I mean, he's absolutely massive. He's obviously a great player. It's difficult to sort of settle down early on. You have so much respect for his shots that you can sometimes go for too much or try and stay away from his -- like his backhand I think is his best shot, and you try to stay away from it too much and you play to his forehand and, I mean, that's a great shot as well. So it was pretty difficult at the start.
Q. You had some treatment. Are you all right? What was it?
ANDY MURRAY: It's okay. My shoulder, I hurt it in the third game of the match hitting a serve. And after that it was one of the reasons why I didn't serve so well. Every time I hit the ball, I got a bit of pain just at the front of my shoulder. It's not too bad, but it was a little bit annoying.
Q. Any idea whether it's just a niggle?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don't think it will be too bad. I've never had a problem with my shoulder before. And, obviously, I could still continue the match and I was still serving hard-ish, but it was just a little bit sore. The physio doesn't think it's too bad and I should be okay to play the quallies at the U.S. next week.
Q. Did you feel the third set slipping away quickly?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I got behind early. I was 3-Love down pretty quickly. I played a bad game at 1-Love. I served two double-faults, I think, to get broken. And then at 4-1 I played another bad game. I was still getting close on some of his service games, but I just didn't serve so well. It's always tough to come from behind against someone like him.
Q. For the younger players like yourself, how much of that is just match experience and thinking in the game more than when you were a junior? Do you feel like you have to think more when you're out there?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, and also, obviously, he's got a better game than me; he's a better player. So it's difficult to keep up with him for three sets. I think there's a little bit of experience and then just getting used to playing against guys like him week in, week out.
Q. How is the stamina and your fitness compared to how it was six or seven weeks ago?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I don't -- I didn't see it as a big problem at Wimbledon. I don't see it as a problem now. I've played seven weeks in a row and my worst result is a second-round loss, and I played a lot of matches. I feel pretty fit. I mean, maybe my shoulder got a little bit tired, but I think that's normal. Not many players can play six weeks in a row like I've done and win as many matches. I don't see it as a problem.
Q. Yesterday I think you said you feel like you belong here. I think you were kind of joking in saying that it doesn't feel real. Can you just describe what it's like for you going from Juniors to, you know, just moving up the rankings and just the whole journey that you've taken over the last year from Juniors, futures, whatever, to...
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, it's obviously completely different playing here. It's much easier to get yourself up for the matches because, well, one, you're normally starting as an underdog; two, you're playing against somebody who you've been watching for the last three or four years on the TV. And to play against somebody like Safin is a great experience. I mean, playing on the center court here against Safin compared to playing in a futures tournament where there's three or four players watching against someone who's ranked 500 is just completely different.
Q. Do you get nervous or excited playing in front of a big crowd?
ANDY MURRAY: I normally get pretty excited. I never really played badly in front of a big crowd. It's more I felt a little bit nervous today before I went on because I never played against anyone as good as him. Obviously, he's quite intimidating. He hits the ball pretty hard, and he's won a Grand Slam this year. So you don't know how you're going to play or how you're going to deal with everything that you can do because you never played against someone as good as him. But I think I did it okay.
Q. Do you feel the gap is not as wide as you might have thought?
ANDY MURRAY: Uhm, I'd still say the gap's pretty big between the guys outside of 150 to what it is the guys inside. Then obviously the guys in the Top 20 are all great players. I think between 20 and 100 there's not that big a difference, but the guys inside the Top 20 are very consistent; they don't give away cheap points. To get into the Top 20, you have to win a lot of matches so it's always going to be difficult to beat them.
Q. Did Marat have anything in particular to say to you at the end?
ANDY MURRAY: No. He didn't actually say anything to me. I thought he might have said "well-played" or "thanks," but he didn't say anything (smiling).
Q. Do you travel with your parents or anything, or just your coach?
ANDY MURRAY: No, just my coach.
Q. What has the traveling been like for you? Are you pretty much used to it?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I've been doing it since I was about 12 or 13. I've been away from -- I've been practicing in Barcelona since I was 15, so I'm pretty used to it. I don't get homesick.
Q. Have you had a "Welcome to the ATP Tour" moment yet, anything funny happen yet? You talked about walking in the locker room here and it being different. Anything that kind of...
ANDY MURRAY: No, no, not really. I have not -- I still don't really know any of the players. I think it takes a while to get the respect because, obviously, I'm still not inside the Top 100. Until you start beating some of the best players, you don't get the respect of the top guys. So I've not really had any different feelings from when I played my first ATP tournament.
Q. You talked a bit about the experience of playing your first Top 10 opponent and what that could do for you. Are there any other plus points that have come out when you visit here and the last few weeks?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I won a match against someone who's ranked 22 in the world. I won two challengers in the last six weeks which I never got past the quarterfinals before. So I'm obviously playing much better than what I was before Wimbledon. I feel like my game's getting better each tournament. I'm just going to try and get myself into the Top 100 by the end of the year.
Q. Do you hang out with younger guys then? Who are some of I guess your friends on the tour?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I know Monfils pretty well and Djokovic, who's my age. They're the only two that I really -- well, that I played the Juniors with that are doing well just now. Then obviously Tim and Greg are the only two that I really speak to.
Q. Is it comforting, though, to have a couple of the younger guys that you can relate to, hang out with?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. It's much easier when there's somebody there apart from Tim and Greg and somebody who's your age as well. Obviously, it's a little bit different for him because the French have got maybe nine or ten players in the Top 100, so he knows a lot of the guys. But for me it's still pretty difficult.
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