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September 1, 2006

Andy Murray

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. I think it's fair to say that was quite comfortable, wasn't it?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I played well today. You know, I wanted to beat him after I lost pretty badly against him last time we played. So I wanted to go out there and play a good match. Didn't really do anything wrong. I played maybe one bad game in the third set. I think it was 30 Love up on his serve when he held maybe.
But apart from that, it was a pretty good match.

Q. What did he do to you last time? It was quite a decisive score.
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you know, I think I was 17 at the time. I was playing on clay in my third or fourth challenger main draw, and I think he was 29 years old or 28 years old at that time, and a lot more experienced than me.
So, you know, it's amazing how much difference a year makes.

Q. Was it just before the Davis Cup in Israel or just after it?

Q. A result like that, doesn't it just confirm in your own mind how far you've come and now what weapons you possess to do that to somebody like him?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I think I've always had the weapons. It's just when you're young you don't really know how to use them. Physically, I wasn't that great at the start of last year. You know, it takes you a little while when, you know, I have quite a lot of variety of shot. So when you are young and you're playing against guys that have a lot of experience and play as consistently as he does, it's difficult to know what to do with the ball all the time.
Once I start to play more and more matches against better players, I started to work out what I was doing right and what I was doing right. Although it has been a fast rise, it wasn't like my game wasn't there; it just takes a little while to kind of get into your mind how you should be playing every match.

Q. It's not going to be a Davis Cup tie, but I should think outside Americans, Chileans seem to come out on these courts many any other race. Do you think the match against Gonzalez is going to be slightly intimidating?
ANDY MURRAY: Depends how the match goes. If I don't give them anything to shout about, then it won't be as good an atmosphere.
He always gets great support. I mean, he's huge in Chile, him and Massu, having won gold in the Olympics. I think it was their first medal they'd ever got in the Olympics. He always gets great support everywhere. They're pretty noisy, which makes it fun. You know, the crowd's always been pretty loud in all of my matches whoever I've been playing against. I like playing in that sort of atmosphere.

Q. You've had a good, good summer, Andy, but he has, as well. Going to be a tough match?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, he's had a really, really good summer. He made semis in LA, semis in Toronto, semis in Cincinnati, and he's won his first two matches comfortably here. It's not a match that I'm expected to win. It's just supposed to be a close match.
He's the higher ranked player; he has more experience. First time I've been in the third round of a Slam outside Wimbledon. He comes into the match with not more confidence but experience. I'm feeling pretty good about my game. If I play like I did today, I've got a shot at winning.

Q. I know you didn't think you played particularly well in Basel when he beat you. How much have you improved since then?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, Basel was a bit different because I'd had a really, really long year and I was starting to get a bit tired. He, you know, obviously went on to win the tournament. I still did okay against him. It's just, I mean, he aced me four times in one game. He was hitting winners from all over the court. But then he made some just weird mistakes in the second set.
So, you know, I think I've obviously improved. This is my favorite court. I think, well, he's proved that he plays really well in these courts, as well. So it's going to be a really interesting match. I hope that I can play like I did today. If I do, I'm sure it's going to be a good match for everyone to watch.

Q. Do you think the fact that it's best of five will help? He can be a bit up and down, like Kendrick.
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know really. It depends because, you know, he's much more consistent than Kendrick and, you know, he's got much more experience. He can play some really bad sets but, you know, he normally plays, you know he sustains it for much longer.
It's not that he's inconsistent; he just doesn't give you any rhythm. Like some points he's gonna hit his forehand, you know, as hard as he can, and then next point he'll hit some sliced backhands and play slowly. You know, he just does different things on the court. It's difficult to get a rhythm. But it's not like he's that inconsistent. If he was inconsistent, he wouldn't have made semis in two Masters Series back to back and a semifinals in LA. So it's gonna be a different match to the one against Kendrick.

Q. Bearing in mind the quality of González, would you have preferred to have a harder match today, or do you always feel you'd always like to win every match as easily as possible?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think it's better to go into a match like that being well rested. It's not like I haven't had any tough matches the last few weeks. I'm pretty match tight. I've beaten some guys that have been on really good form and playing well, so I wasn't too bothered that I dropped two games today.

Q. Do you sense that you got a kind of growing fan base here, that kids really warm to you? It seems as though when you walk around after matches, in the parks here, kids are kind of running around you and want to be, you know, saying, You're my hero, that kind of stuff. Is that quite interesting, an interesting development in your career?
ANDY MURRAY: I think I'm probably more popular this year here because, you know, partly because of Brad. You know, everybody loved Brad's commentating on TV. He's got you know, he's pretty big over here. I'm sure that's probably helped.
But, you know, at the same time, you know, I think I'm probably one of the few players that, you know, at the end of the match I try to, you know, sign as many autographs as possible. On my days off, I do it as much as possible. The kids come here, you know, a lot of the kids will come back to the tennis, you know, two or three days here. If you sign their autograph, the tennis ball, if you sign it for them, it makes them happy. You know, once you probably they probably want you to win if they see you play.
If they stick it in your face and you just walk past them or you tell them to get out of the way, you know, you're not gonna like someone as much. Maybe because I do that, they like me. But my style of play, I think the Americans like, as well.

Q. Forgive me if you have been asked this before. There was a little controversy after your win against Federer. A television reporter claimed that Federer basically tanked the match. Have you been asked about that match and about that take on the match before? I don't know. If not, could you please address it?
ANDY MURRAY: I didn't actually get asked about it but, you know, I mean, someone's tanking, you know, they don't fire balls out of a stadium. You know, I don't think he would have broken me seven times if he wasn't wanting to win the match. I think when you lose five, six matches a year, I think it's fair to say you don't tank very often.
Federer's lost one match in straight sets since 2004. So the matches that he has lost, he obviously hasn't given up in. You know, she can say whatever she wants, but I'm sure Federer wasn't too happy hearing that a guy that has won eight Grand Slams and loses as little as he does getting told that he tanked.

Q. Everything you've done here so far, do you feel you're now playing the best tennis of your career, and also physically do you feel fitter now than you've ever been?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I feel like I'm playing the best tennis of my career. I think that's shown in my results. It's my favorite part of the year, the American hard court stretch. You know, I knew well, I was looking to play my best here. I have done so far.
Physically, I haven't had any problems so far. I played in some hot conditions in Washington and in Cincinnati. You know, I've won a lot of matches. You know, maybe my stamina needs to get better, but I think I've showed that I can play a lot of matches on back to back days and come back and keep winning.
You know, Federer even said he was tired after, you know, he won in Toronto and then came to Cincinnati. You know, I managed to play I got to the finals in Washington, I made semis and then quarters, so I think physically I am in good shape, I just need to mature a little bit more physically. Maybe my muscles aren't as strong as they should be. I need to work harder at that. But I'm definitely gonna do that in the winter. That's one thing that I want to get absolutely perfect going into next year. I don't want to have any matches where I come off the court having cramped 'cause it's embarrassing. I don't like it. I don't like people saying that I don't work hard. I don't like it when people question my, you know, dedication to tennis. I can't handle that at all. I don't think it's fair, you know.
So at the end of this year, I'm gonna work harder than I've ever worked before, and I won't cramp again for the rest of my life, I hope, after this year.

Q. Do you think, therefore, you might be a little peeved when you see that Baghdatis in the fifth set against Agassi yesterday cramped and his reaction was, Come on, fight? Perhaps if it were you, it would have been a slightly more negative reaction to cramping?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, it happens to everybody. You know, pretty much every player when they're young cramps. You know, I've only cramped once in a three set match. But, I mean, I think my condition going into that wasn't great, in Monte Carlo. And apart from that, it's only happened to me in the fifth set of matches. So for four sets, I've always been good, but then I just need to work that little bit harder so for the last half hour, 45 minutes the matches I'll be okay.
I just think people need to understand that it happens to young players. People get tired sometimes. And the way that I play is quite physical. I do a lot of running. I run for every single ball. I don't give up on points. You know, it's something that I want to get, and you know, I want to get in perfect condition so next year I can go on court and if somebody beats me it's because they played a better match than me, not because physically I was struggling.
But, you know, I've won two five set matches. I proved I can win over five sets. I just need to have maybe a little bit more stamina and work that little bit harder, and that's going to get me into the top 10 hopefully.

Q. Have you noticed a difference in the way that your opponents handle you? Do you notice sort of a growing respect over the last few weeks and months as you continue to shoot up the rankings? Is there a difference around the championships, on the court, in the practice areas?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, here it's a little bit annoying because I'm ranked, seeded 17, and until you're seeded 16, you have to play four on a court. Here, the practice has been not as good as I would have liked because I'm one place away from getting a full court to myself.
But the players, I mean, all the players, I practice with a lot of the good players now. You know, I speak to all the players. I don't really have any problems with any of the guys, you know. So, yeah, I think I do have a bit more respect from the players. I think it's normal with most sports people that, you know, when you do win against big players or you beat a big team or you win a big championship that you are gonna get more respect.

Q. What specifically can you point to in your game that has changed or improved since Brad's come on? I talked to you in Toronto. That was only two weeks after Brad came on. Now it's been four. What's changed? What's helped you?
ANDY MURRAY: I haven't changed too much in my game. I mean, I said from the first week that I haven't worked on anything technically. We haven't changed any of my strokes. I've been in the middle of tournaments pretty much the whole time. You know, tactically, it's the best part. Just having him there, he's so positive. He scouts my opponents. He knows how pretty much all the guys play. He's watched so much tennis that, you know, he knows when there's gonna be a momentum swing in the match, you know. He knows that you can't let guys off the hook at, you know, even 6 Love, 6 1 and 2 1. You know, he's made me just maybe a little bit more professional all around.

Q. How so?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, just with like things like that, you know. When I'm 6 Love, 6 1 up and 2 1 and a break, I don't want to let a guy break me and get to 2 All. I want to win as quickly as possible. You know, mentally on the court, I'm not really getting frustrated like I used to. I'm just a little bit more level headed. I still get fired up sometimes and I don't let my emotions get the better of me in my matches.

Q. Did you read "Winning ugly"?
ANDY MURRAY: I didn't, no. I actually had it, but I never read it.

Q. Is this the first Slam that you've come into thinking actually you can beat anybody in this tournament? I'm not saying to win it, but you could beat anybody that's in this tournament? Is this the first time you've genuinely gone in thinking you can do that?
ANDY MURRAY: I probably thought I could beat everybody except Federer before, probably. But until you win against a guy like that, there's always a bit of doubt in the back of your mind whether you can win against him, you know. Although I always believed I could, until you actually do it, you never know if it's quite possible.
So, yeah, I mean, probably now I feel like I can win against the best players in the world consistently. You know, it's just a matter of keeping up for two weeks. I've never had to do it in a Grand Slam before, how to manage my off days here and get myself in the best shape for my matches. I do feel like I can win against most of the players, but whether I can do it for two weeks is a different story.

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