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March 10, 2006

Andy Murray


THE MODERATOR: When you're ready.
Q. I'm sure when you heard about this place you thought you'd be playing in 100 degree heat and it was more like home, isn't it, today?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, except when it's like that, we normally go indoors, but, yeah, it was. It was pretty chilly. I wasn't expecting that because the last two days, it's been perfect, like not too hot, but it was sunny. And then this morning I was warming up with Safin, couldn't hit a ball on the court. It was so windy, and then obviously, just about to walk onto the court and it started raining.
And it was quite tough to keep focused because there's not so much you can do accept just kind of mess around in the players' lounge. There's so many people in there when the weather is like this that it can get pretty stuffy. So it was kind of tough to keep my concentration, but I got off to a pretty good start and it was quite easy after I got the first set.
Q. Have you learned to handle all the expectations that have been put on you?
ANDY MURRAY: Really, everybody told me in Australia nobody put any pressure on me, so I don't know about that. I didn't -- I mean, I've been playing well since I came over here and sorted a few things out back home after Australia. I think I'm dealing with everything okay. I'm a bit more relaxed about everything. You know, life's pretty good, so there's not too much to complain about.
Q. Did you find quickly out his forehand was the weaker side? He has a pretty nice one-handed backhand, did you know anything about his beforehand?
ANDY MURRAY: I practiced with him on my 18th birthday, yeah, 18th birthday last year in Germany, and I actually lost against him was quite comfortably on clay, so I was expecting a pretty tough match. I think I played -- it wasn't the forehand that was such a bad shot, I just think I played pretty consistently. I think he normally expects the players to go for the winners and I played pretty solid, used my slice, and I made him go for it. When he did, he started to make the mistakes.
Q. Is there a kind of specialty clause coming into an event as big as this having not been here before? Is there a little kind of adrenaline shock coming into this?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously, it's not you feel a little more extra pressure, but because of the way the points and the way the rankings work, the way they're structured, you have to perform well in the Grand Slams and the Master Series, especially the ones you get into because you only have five other tournaments apart from them to get your points from.
So you know you have to play well in the big tournaments. You have to be consistent, you know. I practiced really hard, practiced for, you know, eight hours the last three days and, yeah, I mean, I think it kind of paid off, so I'm really looking forward to the rest of the tournament now.
Q. How easy, in that situation, is it to go against rush? You might have wanted to get the match down, on and off court given the circumstances, is there a tendency to rush ahead of it?
ANDY MURRAY: I'm really not too used to, you know, having to stop matches, and when it starts raining, to come off, so, you know, I wasn't really too sure how to react. But I think the best way to play is keep being consistent and try and slow yourself down because I think it can get quite easy to start rushing and go through winners early, but almost the way that the match was going it was better for me, the points would have been -- or the games would have been even quicker if I played for solid. So, you know, I think the way that I played tonight it kind of -- I kind of slowed -- slowed the pace of the match down, which I think was much better. Because if I started rushing, I think he could got back into it.
Q. So had you ever been through a rain delay in that amount of time?
ANDY MURRAY: At the US Open juniors, the year I won, there was one day where it got completely rained off and I had to hang around the whole day to wait for my match to get cancelled because I was the first match on. But I've never really had to wait four or five hours and then go on and play a match, no.
Q. In Great Britain, do you suppose you would have just played through the sort of rain you had today?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't think it would have been the best idea. The courts get pretty slippery when it's wet, so we would have just moved indoors I think.
Q. Andy, where did your slice come from, the variety in your game? A lot of guys your age wouldn't have that. You developed that kind of enjoyed it. Is there a tactic or where did it come from?
ANDY MURRAY: I used to like -- my slice a couple years ago wasn't a good shot really. And I used to have a lot of dropshots instead and I kind of just developed it because I always had quite good feel on my dropshots. Now I'm coming through the ball a bit more and I think when I went over to Spain to practice on the clay, the slice is a really important shot to get yourself out of trouble when you're defending.
I think I did learn when I was over there it really does help, because if you're in a bad position you get the slice and it's going low over the net, it's tough for the guys to come into the net and hit, you know, good volleys. Because I'm pretty quick around the court, I can normally get to it and have a good pass, or if they're staying back, it stays low enough they have to play high, and I get the chance to attack. So it was one of my best shots I think.
Q. Did you find it not to (inaudible)?
ANDY MURRAY: Find tennis boring?
Q. Well, it makes it more interesting to have the variety, not hitting the slice?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, suppose it does make it a bit more interesting if you have more shots than just having one or two. But at the same time, it might take me a little bit longer to find my game or my best game because if you have more shots, it's difficult to decide when to use them. And I think it will take me a couple of years before I completely decide when to hit over it at the right time and when to play the slice, but just now, it's working pretty well. So, yeah, I think it is a big asset.
Q. What years did you spend and can you talk about the decision to go there to train.
ANDY MURRAY: I was there -- it was when I was 15 and a half to about 17 and a half. I stopped going there in April last year and it was -- it was really because the weather wasn't really good enough. And the atmosphere I didn't like too much when I was practicing back home. So I decided that, you know, I either had to -- I had to go to London to practice, stay at home, or go to Spain.
And I thought it was the best decision because the weather is great, the -- you've got a lot of clay courts and I think for young players, that's the best surface to develop their game on. And also there's so many players practice in Barcelona, and I had kind of 10, 15 guys that were ranked between 300 and 18 -- I'm sorry, 300 and 800 to practice with, and usually at that age, 15, 16, to play guys bigger and stronger and to have a lot of variety. So you learn how to play against a lot of different players.
They're really the main reasons why I decided to go there. I think -- well, I think you can see by the results of the Spanish that it probably is the best place to practice when you're growing up.
Q. Did you find your training methods different than in Great Britain?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, you know, they do a lot of basket drills, you know. It's like maybe 40-shot drills. It is very, very repetitive and I think for a year and a half, it was very good. But after, you know, I got to 17, I started to get a little bit -- a little bit too repetitive and, you know, I started to get a little bit bored, and you need to -- you kind of need -- I think once you get to a certain level you have to be able to decide when you do the basket drill, when you play points, when you do kind of just hitting cross-courts and hitting down-the-lines. And I think that was -- that was kind of why -- the reason why I left, though, because it was getting a little bit too repetitive.
Q. What do you mean by basket drill?
ANDY MURRAY: Basically there's like a, yeah, well, basket, tub of balls, whatever, and just stands there feeds one to your forehand, one to your backhand, and you have to hit targets.
Q. Is that in England or --
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I never practice in England. I practice in Scotland, so I wouldn't know.
Q. (Inaudible)?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, yeah, I mean, I think it's kind of difficult because we play indoors so much back home that to do basket drills when the courts are so quick is kind of difficult. And for me, that's one of the big problems to practice back in Britain because the weather is so bad, because it's easy to develop a big first serve and kind of get the points over with pretty quick.
But when you're practicing outdoors against guys who are really consistent, you have to find three or four ways to win points and not just with your serve. You have to develop big forehand dropshots, use the angles and also come to the net when you have the chance. So I think that's really one of the big issues that Britain have, really.
Q. When is your next match?
ANDY MURRAY: Yep, well, I think I'm playing Davydenko, so it's going to be very difficult. He's played really well in the summer. Last year he obviously got to the Master's Cup and he's got possibly some of the best ground strokes in the world. He moves really well. He doesn't volley unbelievably, his serve is not huge, but once he gets into the to rallies from the back of the court he's pretty tough to break down. So I'm expecting, well, a really, really tough match. I'm not -- I wouldn't say I was expecting to win, but I think if I play really well, I should have a pretty good chance.
Q. (Inaudible)?
ANDY MURRAY: Not really. I think I just have a bit more belief that when or if the match gets tight, I know that I can win the match, whereas before I'd lost a tight -- lot of tight matches against the top guys. So I'm going to change my attitude going to the match.
I'm still going to try and play my own game, obviously vary the pace, use my slice, try and bring them to the net a little bit. So, I mean, I've got -- I've got my tactics sorted, but I'm not going to go into it any different than my other matches.
Q. Do you practice with him?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, I watch him play quite a lot on the TV. I know he's got really good ground strokes, but I've never -- you know, I don't know how hard he hits them or if it's just accuracy. Obviously find out. I'm not sure if I'm playing tomorrow yet, but I'll find out when I play him.
Q. You seem extremely relaxed. Do you feel that way?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I feel much better about myself because there was quite a lot of question marks when I was in Australia. I'd lost quite a few big matches against the best players. I went to Zagreb, had a chance against Ljubicic and I obviously didn't win that match. Last year I lost in three sets to Safin, five sets to Nalbandian, had a tight match with Federer. Had a big chance against Johansson.
I pushed all the best players close, but I never obviously won against them. Once I won San Jose beating Roddick and Hewitt, I think I kind of showed people, yeah, I can play, and I can play really well.
But I'm not going to play like that every single week just now. It's going to take me a while to get my consistency and I'm going into every match trying to play my best. But if I don't, it's not the end of the world. To be ranked on the 40s at 18 is not a bad position to be in. So, yeah, I just feel much better about everything. I'm seeing all the positives and not really thinking about the negatives just now.
Q. What's the thing you've got to do to your game to improve, to be a top 10 player?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think everything has to improve but -- it's quite a tough question to answer, because I think I can improve everything. But if you look at all the players in the top 10, all of them play not completely different, you know, the Spanish and the Argentinians play kind of similar, but your Federers, Roddicks, Hewitts, Agassis, they all play completely different and I just think I have to keep working on my game, improving it, and I think if I keep doing that and winning matches, my ranking is going to go in the right direction. I believe I will get into the top 10.

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