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January 18, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You must be pleased, but also relieved you were able to win that in straight sets. It was quite a tough match, wasn't it?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, he's a really, really tricky guy to play against. You know, he's beaten a lot of top players, and you can see why. He's got a really good first serve, obviously lefty makes it tougher.
He's got really sort of an unpredictable forehand. His backhand is really solid. He moves well and competes hard. It was really difficult, and I was expecting it.
So, yeah, I was happy to have won in three sets. If it had to go longer then I was willing to stay out there. But it was tough conditions today, because after the first set the court started to warm up and it kind of burned your feet and your legs start to get a little more tired. It was difficult.
Q. Do you think a year ago there may have been a different outcome?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah. I wasn't very good a year ago. You know, I was ranked 65. Didn't have a lot of experience. You know, this year, maybe I wouldn't have broken him when he served for the set, the first set.
When I went 15-40 down at 6-5, when I was serving for it, you know, I might not have come back from those situations. I might have let it slip. And this year I think my experience, you know, is obviously much, much greater. So that helped.
Obviously since last year I've improved a lot. He probably would have beaten me a year ago.
Q. How do you benefit from a match like that? What do you take out of it now?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, just knowing that you can beat a very tough opponent in straight sets, in conditions that, you know, are difficult. I played a lot of matches, you know, in Grand Slams where I'd be the one calling the trainer out, you know, having to -- you know, having to get the medical timeouts. He was obviously the one that was feeling it a bit more than me out there.
I take a lot of confidence from it because, as I said, he's a very, very good player. I think he's ranked 34, 35. Just missed out on getting seeded. To win against guys like that in Grand Slams is a very good win for me.
Q. You asked for an ice towel. Did you consider an ice vest?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I didn't want to use one of them. I like having it on the back of your neck, kind of on your forehead to sort of cool your head down a little bit. I just feel with an ice vest, if you're constantly changing the heat on your shoulder and stuff, it's not very good for your serve. You might get a little bit stiffer.
But on your neck it was fine. It kind of helps you concentrate a bit better when you use them, whereas if not you kind of take a bit longer to catch your breath. It just feels so hot out there.
Q. When was the last time you played in conditions that hot? We were boiling where we were. You must have been feeling it big time down there.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it's definitely tougher on court for me (smiling). I mean, it is really hot on the court. Washington last year was much hotter than that and more humid, but it's just the courts here, they get so warm.
Like in Washington and stuff you get a bit out of breath. It's kind of tough to breathe. Your muscles, your legs don't get as tired. Here, the court is so hot that you feel your feet burning. They're sore when you come off the court. Your legs, a lot more lactic acid buildup in your legs. They feel a little bit more worn out.
I've played in hotter conditions. It's just the court here. It just makes it so much tougher.
Q. You've now played three matches here, all on the same Vodafone. Would you rather play somewhere else? Are you getting used it and it might be an advantage?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I'd love to play on Rod Laver. It's something -- I want to play on all the big courts at the Grand Slams. I played Centre Court at Wimbledon, Center Court at French Open. I've now played on the second biggest court here. Obviously at US Open.
If I get a chance to play on Rod Laver, that would be great. Probably won't get the chance to do that in my next round. The further you go in the tournament, the more chance there is of you playing on it.
Regardless of what court it is, you just have to adapt. The Vodafone court is a nice one to play on. It's a really good atmosphere. It's a big stadium. I enjoy it.
Q. Is your serve -- do you think that's the area that -- to get you up to the real elite of the ATP, that's the area that --
ANDY MURRAY: So I'm not in the elite yet?
Q. Well, Slam winning let's put it.
ANDY MURRAY: Okay. Well, in the first set, I didn't serve that well. I served well in some big points, you know, at 6-5 in the second set, and deuce I aced him on the set point. I think 215 kilometer serve down the T on the deuce point.
So the consistency in Doha was there. I was serving up at 69, 68% in a couple of my matches, whereas last year I was probably serving at 50%. I feel now this year when my first serve does go in it's much more effective than it was last year.
I feel like I can improve all parts of my game, but when my serve's on I think it's a pretty dangerous shot. I think it's more a strength thing, not a technique thing. The stronger I get, the better my serve will get.
Q. You beat Chela the end of last year. How much will you relish the opportunity to play him here again, get a bit of revenge against him?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a tough match. He plays really well on these courts. He's obviously used to the heat. Had a good win today. He beat Hewitt here last year.
It's going to be really difficult, but I feel like I'm much better than I was last year. I'm in better shape than I was. As I said, I got more experience.
It's probably going to be a completely different match, but one that's definitely going to be very close. Not an easy one for me if I want to win.
Q. What does it mean to you personally and professionally to have your brother on tour with you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it's great. All of the other sort of brothers, sisters on tour I'm sure will say the same thing. It's great to have someone in your family that's going to be around at all of the big tournaments, someone that you can hang out with, have fun with, get the chance to play with him.
I would love at one stage to play doubles with my brother at Wimbledon. That would be great. Not too many brothers or whatever can say they played in one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world with someone in their family. I would love to do that.
Just having him around is great. I enjoy it a lot. It makes things much easier, and it takes a bit of strain off the relationship with the coach. You can go out for dinner with your brother and your coach. It's not just one-on-one all the time. That makes it much easier.
Q. What sort of doubles team would you make? Are you on the same wavelength? Do you complement each other?
ANDY MURRAY: We've played a few times together on tour. I think we played three times together. We made final in Bangkok. No, four times. Final in Bangkok, quarters in Tokyo, semis in Doha, and we lost in the first round in Newport.
We play pretty well together. Return is the best part of my game. The volleys are the best part of his game. We did play pretty well together, and I think the more we do play the better we'll get.
Q. Does it feel a bit strange being on the other side of the world, getting such strong support from thousands of people?
ANDY MURRAY: I was just saying in the on-court interview I did afterwards that's it's amazing to kind of come to a tournament that's not at home and you feel like the crowd's for you almost.
Obviously I'm not going to get that sort of support everywhere, but I think the support I get here is unbelievable and I'm very grateful for everyone that comes to support. It makes it much easier for you.
It is difficult, especially in this heat, if you -- I'm sure the people that play against Hewitt will tell you, it is really difficult when you've got that many people kind of screaming against you. So it does make it much easier. I can't believe so many people enjoy watching me play 'cause it's definitely not very interesting (smiling).
Q. Did you hear the chorus of, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"?
ANDY MURRAY: I did, yeah.
Q. Are you doing that more now perhaps?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I definitely look on the bright side of life much more. I read some of your articles. You tend to be a bit the other way (smiling).
Yeah, I mean, compared with last year, as I said, I'm much happier and definitely having more fun on the court. I did question a few line calls today. There was quite a lot of close ones that I felt maybe went against me, whereas I didn't let it affect my game. I just felt like there were a lot of calls really close, and none of them really went for me. I dealt with it pretty well. It was all good out there.
Q. Some of the people have been saying maybe Hawk-Eye is not such a good thing now. Federer was saying he didn't like it yesterday. Bjorkman was saying the umpires kind of hide behind it. I guess you would have liked Hawk-Eye out there today, wouldn't you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I saw the thing that happened with Mauresmo yesterday when the Hawk-Eye called the ball in when the mark showed that it was pretty clearly out. I mean, that does put a bit of doubt in your mind. The most important thing is that the fans enjoy it. At the end of the day, if it's going to make more fans come, then that's obviously better for us.
Some people like it. Some people don't. I do think that the umpires, you know, you don't see them overruling anywhere near as much because of the Hawk-Eye. You know, it's something that the fans definitely enjoy, and that's why we should keep going with it.
Q. You hadn't played Verdasco, but obviously had seen him play.
ANDY MURRAY: Sorry, I had played him before.
Q. What was the tactical plan?
ANDY MURRAY: I played him when I was 16 in a challenger in Segovia. I twisted my ankle against him, lost 3-1. I remember coming off the court, just realizing how much spin the top players put on the ball. It was at altitude. I felt like I was hitting every ball above my ahead.
I felt like today, you know, I knew he served well and had a big forehand. I wanted to, when I did go into his forehand, hit it a little bit bigger and flatter, not give him the chance to use his spin as much. Also when I came into the net, I wanted not to come into his forehand because it's much nor spinny, and therefore he can create much more angles.
I thought I did a pretty good job of serve-volleying today, which I think changed the match a little bit when I was 4-1 down in the second set. It was something definitely I had spoken about with Brad. It wasn't one thing in particular, but I wanted to focus on serving well on the big points, playing aggressive when I did go into his forehand and approaching into his backhand. I think they all worked pretty well.
Q. 12 months on, where do you think you made the biggest improvement? Is it mentally or physically going into the Chela game?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know if it's one for sure. I think kind of everything. My game has obviously got better. Physically I'm definitely stronger. Mentally I feel like I'm keeping it together much more on the court than I did maybe last year.
I don't know if there's one thing in particular, but I definitely felt much sort of stronger out there on the court than I did last year because it was obviously tough conditions today and I came through it pretty well.
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