January 14, 2006
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Had a chance to digest the draw and your first-round match in particular? What are your thoughts?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, he's obviously a very good player. He's been in the top 20 I think, won against a lot of good players. He beat Tim last year, I know that. He had a very close match with Hewitt at the Australian Open. I think he lost in five sets. There was a bit of a problem with those two on court. I know it's going to be very difficult. All the Argentinians are always very consistent. I'm going to have to play a good match if I want to win.
Q. You'd expect perhaps to be out there quite a long time with him getting a lot of balls back, wouldn't you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. Well, if I'm going to win, yeah. It would be easy for me to go out there and play really inconsistently. I'm going to have to work hard for all the points. I'm prepared to do that. I've been working really hard the last few months on my fitness, so I think it should be okay.
Q. How important do you think it will be to get the balance right between staying in rallies and going for the winners?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, that's normally one of the things I've always been quite good at, constructing points well. You know, I don't think that should be a problem. It just depends if the match goes on pretty long, you can start going for winners much too early in the rally. If I keep my concentration, I don't think that will be a problem.
Q. First time down here. What is the court surface? Suiting your game?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it's a bit different to playing on normal hard courts. It comes -- it doesn't absorb the pace. It gives it a little bit extra when it hits the court. You know, the kick serves jump up pretty high. I think you have to be aggressive on this court. You can't sit back too much. I mean, it suits my game quite well. It takes quite a while to get used to because it's not the same as hard courts. But I've been playing okay so far and hopefully I'll play well this week.
Q. How strange is it to have a Grand Slam so soon in the year? Your first experience at having to start a year and almost immediately you're into a Slam. How tough is it to get up for a Slam so soon?
ANDY MURRAY: It's not difficult. A Grand Slam is a Grand Slam. If you can't get up for that, you're not going to get up for any tournament. It's not going to be a problem for me. I've been really looking forward. I've worked really hard to get in good shape for when I came over here. My tennis hasn't been as good as what I wanted it to be when I first got over here, but I've been playing better in practice. Hopefully, come Monday, I'll be playing my best tennis.
Q. You said at Wimbledon, then at the US Open when you qualified, that you still feel a little bit of an outsider. Now you're an integral part of the main draw. Do you feel much more part of things here now?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, a little bit. I mean, I'm still going to go into a lot of the matches an underdog. I think people have gone a bit over the top in expecting me to win matches against guys who are much higher ranked than me, especially when I've, you know, hardly played any ATP tournaments. So it's quite difficult for me going into the tournaments knowing that I'm expected to win a lot of the matches. But, again, I'm part of the tour now. I'm going to be playing against these guys week in and week out. When I do beat a top guy, it's not going to be so much of a surprise.
Q. What would be your message to those people that do expect you sort of win a Slam within the year and be No. 1 within two years? How far from the truth would you say they are?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, not every 18-year-old is Rafael Nadal. You know, Federer, it took him three years before he won a match at Wimbledon, and now he's pretty much unbeatable there. You know, it's difficult because you can't expect to win so many matches so early. I'm looking to have a good career when I'm older, when I'm 22, 23, and not just winning matches now. I want to try to develop my game. I think everybody just has to keep everything in perspective. I had a great year last year, but I'm still only 18 years old and I'm playing against guys who are still higher ranked than me and have much more experience. It's not the end the world if I lose to them; it's just better experience for me. Although, I do expect a lot of myself, so I can see why people do think I'm going to do well. But everybody just has to realize it doesn't happen that easy. It's going to take a while before I play my best.
Q. What would constitute a satisfactory year for you?
ANDY MURRAY: If I finished in the top 50, I think that would be a good effort. You know, I've got a lot of points to defend after Wimbledon, but I've got a pretty big gap up until then where I don't have many points to defend. If I start the year well, my ranking could go up quite high. I think if I can get myself seeded in some of the tournaments, that makes life much, much easier because you're not playing against the higher seeds in the second round. I think playing in the Masters Series, winning two or three matches in the main draw there, can really boost your ranking. I think I've got a good chance of doing that.
Q. Do you have any goals or expectations for what you can do in this event?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I'd like to get through my first match. That's all I'm concentrating on right now. I'm playing against a guy who is in the top 50 in the world, and plays well on these courts. It's going to be difficult for me, but I think if I play one of my best matches, I've got a decent chance of winning.
Q. Do you speak to Tim, as he has experience of playing him?
ANDY MURRAY: I haven't spoken to him since I got here. We're practicing tomorrow. Everybody approaches tournaments differently. Everybody has a different mindset going into a Grand Slam. I've not spoken to him yet. I may have a chat with him tomorrow. It's best to go about things your own way.
Q. How are you coping with the whole sideshow that comes with being the next British hope in tennis?
ANDY MURRAY: I've dealt with it okay so far. There's a few things that are always going to be pretty difficult. But I'm just going to have to get used to that. There is a lot of pressure on me. People expect me to win matches and beat a lot of the top guys so early. I'm trying not to think about that. I just want to keep developing my game and make sure my ranking's going where I want it to.
Q. Is managing your time on the tour something you have to deal with, as well? You only practice for an hour or two a day, presumably some gym work as well. How is keeping yourself from getting completely bored?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I never really got bored when I've been traveling. I get on very well with Mark, so that makes it easier. There's a few things that you get used to the more tournaments you play, that is how often you practice, how much you go to the gym, what gym work you do, if it's weights, if you're out early in a tournament or if it's sprints when you're getting closer to the tournament. There's things you learn as you go along and what works for you. I wouldn't say I've been bored so far.
Q. When you look back a year ago, January of last year, are you where you expected to be over that 12-month period?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I said at the start -- well, it was actually the end of 2004, that by the end of 2005 I wanted to be top hundred. I finished the year in the top 65. Yeah, I'd say I wasn't really expecting to be.
Q. Your actual tennis as well, has that come on the way you wanted it to?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think so. I've worked on quite a few things the last couple of months with Mark when I've been playing in practice. I've not done it so well in matches yet. Everything I've worked on is getting better. I think I have improved everything that I wanted to. Hopefully it's going to keep getting better and better the next few months.
Q. What sort of things have you been working on?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I've been working on my first serve percentage and coming to the net more than what I was last year, 'cause I was getting myself into long rallies when I was hitting a big shot and not following up, and the guys would defend so well in the tournaments they could get the ball back deep in, so you have to start over again. I've been working on coming to the net much more. I think I've been doing that well so far.
Q. How do you feel in yourself? Relaxed? Confident? Happy? Settled? Everything as you'd like to be?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I feel fine, yeah.
Q. You said about people's expectations. Your own expectations are pretty high. You're a competitive man. When you go out against Chela on Monday or Tuesday, do you expect to win? What attitude do you take on court?
ANDY MURRAY: I'm going to try 100%. I'm going to try my best to win the match. If I don't, it's not the end of the world. If I do, then great. The guy's top 50 in the world. He's beaten a lot of good players. He has much more experience than me. I know it's going to be a difficult match. I think if you asked all of the other players, I probably wouldn't be expected to win. I think it's probably 60/40 to him on this court. You know, if I play my best and he doesn't play so well, then I've got a chance of winning.
Q. Does the thought of playing Australia's No. 1 here beyond Chela --
ANDY MURRAY: I've not looked that far. I've not looked that far.
Q. You know he's there, though?
ANDY MURRAY: I didn't know.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.
ANDY MURRAY: That's okay (smiling).
Q. I know you can't change the draw, but when you saw it, did you think, "Bugger, it could have been better for me"?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, it could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse. When you're not seeded, I could have played against Federer in the first round, Roddick, whoever. I could have played any of the top 10 players. Chela is obviously not seeded. Well, now I know if I win, I could play the No. 3 seed. It is a tough draw, but you can't expect to have easy draws in Grand Slams. All the guys play well now. I can't really complain.
Q. What was the nagging name that you thought you would get put out against?
ANDY MURRAY: Chela. I told Mark I thought I was going to play against one of the Argentinians. I said I played Chela. He set me up to practice with like four right-handers. I said to him, "I'll probably end up playing a left-hander." I did at first say I was going to play Chela.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on who is going to actually win this tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: I'd probably put my money on Federer (smiling).
Q. Have you looked at any tapes of Chela or anything yet?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I've seen him play a few times. I watched him play against Tim in Cincinnati last year. He's very solid. He's got a good forehand. He doesn't make many mistakes off his backhand. His serve's probably not his strongest part. All the South Americans are just very consistent from the ground and have big forehands. I'll try to keep it away from his forehand. It's not always that easy when you're playing guys who are as good as him.
Q. Are you aware he sometimes resorts to a bit of gamesmanship? You had that with Stepanek. Are you ready for that eventuality?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't think Chela is as bad. I think if you start something with him, he might come back with something of his own. If it happens, it happens. It fires me up more if somebody's like that on the court. If he is, it's probably not the best thing for him to do.
Q. What of your experiences of Grand Slam tennis so far is the most important to take you into this third one you're playing?
ANDY MURRAY: I'd probably say Wimbledon was the best experience for me because after my first match, all of the pressure was on me to win. That was where I really felt I had to go out there and perform. I think last year was a little bit different because it was my first year. I could go out and play. There wasn't too much pressure. But this year I think there's a lot expected of me, so I know I'm going to have to go out and play well in each of my matches, and everybody's expecting me to do well in these sort of tournaments. I think Wimbledon was probably the best because I got the best feel for that sort of pressure.
Q. How are you relaxing? Andy Roddick hits the casino in the evening. Have you found any way of passing the minutes?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I don't gamble. I've not really done anything, to be honest, since I got here. Played a bit of backgammon with Mark. I played against -- I got the little PSP computer games I've been playing against him on the golf, and he's terrible. But, yeah, I've not been to the casino yet. I've been in to watch people lose their money, but I don't gamble my own.
Q. Other players have more knowledge of your game now.
ANDY MURRAY: Probably. I think because I played against a couple of South Americans, when you play against like different nationalities, obviously if I play against Berdych, for example, he's going to -- if I play against Stepanek or Novak, I think everybody is going to get to know your game the more you play. I would say that everybody knows how I play a bit better.
Q. What about your throw-away comment last week in Auckland? Teach you about the commercial realities and perceptions that you have to live up to now?
ANDY MURRAY: I'm not going to make any more jokes any more because there's no point in dealing with the hassle. I mean, I didn't know it was a problem. Everybody that I've spoken to thought it was quite funny. I'm not going to say anything else like that any more. I apologize to anyone if I offended them. It was just a joke.
Q. Did you actually get quite a lot of hassle last week?
ANDY MURRAY: A bit too much for the sort of thing it was. I mean, if I said something bad, I think maybe I would have deserved it. But not something like that. I think it got blown out of proportion a little bit.
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