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January 22, 2007

Andy Murray


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So many emotions going around in your head at the moment, disappointment, frustration. The way you played was just tremendous.
ANDY MURRAY: You know, I'm definitely not disappointed. I think, you know, you can come off matches, you know, when I played Baghdatis at Wimbledon, you know, I feel like I didn't play well, that my attitude wasn't as good as it should have been.
Tonight, I mean, I felt like I played a really good match. He came out with some great shots when he needed them. I'm glad that I went out there and played for 3 hours and 50 minutes with one of the fittest guys. It didn't come down to a physical thing.
Had game points in the first four games of the fifth set. You know, it just could have been a different match. Missed a few shots by a couple of inches. You know, it happens. You know, you just got to accept it, you know, live to fight another day.

Q. Are you proud of yourself?
ANDY MURRAY: Uhm, well, I'm happy with the way that I fought, yeah. I think it was always going to be a tough ask. Never played on Rod Laver before. Never played Nadal before. He's obviously a great player and he's going to be one of the best players ever, that's for sure.
I had chances to win. I'm going to learn a lot from this. He has a little bit more experience than me. You know, I was happy with the way that I fought. A few points here or there, it could have been a different outcome. But it wasn't. I felt like it was a -- I felt like the standard of tennis was excellent the whole way through.
As I said, I'd be disappointed if I came off and played badly, but I felt like I played well tonight, just a little unlucky in the fifth set.

Q. (Question regarding tactics.)
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, not really that hard to come up with a game plan against him because it's quite obvious: Don't leave the ball in the middle of the court to his forehand. If you do that, you're going to do a lot of running.
I wanted to try and keep the points a little bit shorter. Naturally not many guys want to trade shots ground for ground with him.
Yeah, my game plan was pretty good. I serve and volleyed well in the first set and in parts of the third set. You know, I had a few volleys off the tape. 2-Love, breakpoint in the fifth set, I came into the net and he hit slice backhand that I think was going wide. I hit the tape.
My game plan was good. You know, just a few points here or there. Again, it could have been different. I thought I played well and I executed the game plan that me and Brad set out pretty well.

Q. In the second set, you went for your side. Did you have a problem there?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't even want to say it was a problem. I don't want to make it out as if I was making any excuses. Didn't affect me enough to stop the match. I was serving maybe six, seven kilometers an hour slower. That wasn't the reason why I lost. He was better than me today. That was that.

Q. Now that you've played him firsthand, what is it that makes him so difficult to play against?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, you have to look -- I mean, I lost my last 12 breakpoints. I feel most of them, you know, 90% of them, were through his good play. He came out with some huge forehands that landed bang on the line. I had a few big shots that just missed.
I mean, he competes so hard. He moves great. He has a very good forehand. His backhand is consistent. He's quick around the net. Although his volleys can probably get better, he's really fast around the net. He makes his volleys. Guy is really mentally tough.
There's not too many things he can do better, I suppose. You know, he could probably maybe serve a little bit bigger. He still has a very good serve. He puts in a high percentage. He does everything well.

Q. You were saying your side didn't affect you, but did it affect your concentration at that point? You went through a spell where your level seemed to dip at the end of the second, beginning of the third.
ANDY MURRAY: Didn't really affect my concentration. Again, I missed some balls by a little bit that maybe I shouldn't have, I'd be making in the first set. Nothing to do with the side, why I lost the second set. I wasn't thinking about it that much.
I was just, you know, a little bit annoyed that I let the lead slip because, obviously, I was quite a bit ahead at that point. It didn't affect me.

Q. Anything about his game, playing him in a real match situation, anything surprising to you?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I mean, the guy's a great tennis player. I went on court knowing that he was going to play a really solid match and I was going to have to play one of my best matches if I wanted to win. I practiced with him before. I watched a lot of his matches.
The guy hasn't beaten Federer six times for nothing. He's an awesome player. Everybody knows how good his forehand is. I've watched guys leave the ball in the middle of the court to it before and seen the ball just, you know, go past them a lot. There wasn't anything that surprised me, no.

Q. Beat Federer last year. Took some other scalps. Do you think tonight was even a higher standard?
ANDY MURRAY: I'd obviously have to watch the match. I felt like some of the points tonight were unbelievable. I mean, both of us hit some great shots. Yeah, I felt like I played really, really well tonight, near to the best that I can play right now. There's still things I probably can improve on and will improve on the next couple of years.
But, yeah, I mean, I probably played better today than the day that I won against Federer. As I said, a couple points here or there, it could have been a different outcome. You know, I was happy with the way that I played.

Q. Do you think you went places and discovered things about yourself tonight?
ANDY MURRAY: I learnt I could hit the ball much harder than I thought consistently (smiling). I hit some huge shots tonight. I did miss a few, you know, that maybe I wouldn't normally. But I was trying to play more aggressive tonight than I normally do.
I feel like I showed, you know, I'm not just a counter-puncher, I was being the aggressor for a lot of the match, hitting a lot of winners. Although I was making some unforced errors, that's what you have to do against him.
I definitely, definitely realized that. In Grand Slams, over five sets, I can play, you know, close to one of the best players in the world. Hopefully I'm only going to get better, and I'm sure I'll learn from it.

Q. Is the overwhelming feeling of pride in your performance or disappointment you couldn't win the match?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, as I said, I'm definitely not disappointed. I wanted to win. You know, I was always going to go out there and try my best. You know, the thing that I was most happy about was it didn't come down to a physical battle at the end of the day. I lost matches over five sets, got tired at the end, got cramps.
Tonight, as I said, I had four game points in the first four games. I could have been up 4-Love instead of down 4-Love. Not disappointed. I'm happy the way that I fought and physically that my body held up. I'm glad that all the work that I put in in the off-season has paid off, but I definitely still need to get stronger.

Q. Leaving aside the results, was the experience of being out there in a night match, Rod Laver, against a big player, everything that you thought it would be?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I had watched matches like that before. I'd always wanted to play in night matches. I love the atmosphere. The crowd, they were a little bit drunk towards the end. It makes it more fun to play in that sort of atmosphere, against someone like Nadal who is a shot-maker.
I think both of us hit some big shots tonight. The whole match, I just enjoyed the whole atmosphere, because I don't think I played in a match as big as that. The Roddick match at Wimbledon was a little bit different. But tonight I think everyone was expecting it to be, you know, probably the best match of the tournament so far. You know, I think it lived up to it. I definitely enjoyed playing.

Q. Is this the start of a new rivalry?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I hope so. I'm nowhere near as good a player as him and haven't achieved anything close to what he has so far. But, I mean, with matches like that, I think the next time I go on court against him everyone will be looking forward to watching it.
I hope that I can get to a level where I'm getting the chance to play against him deep in tournaments. Still got a long way to go. When Federer's gone, which I hope is pretty soon (smiling), I hope we can play against each other a lot.

Q. You're going to be probably knocking on the door of the top 10 come the next rankings. You've played almost all of them; beaten most of them. Do you feel this is where you belong, that you are a top 10 player?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, I don't want to say. It's for everyone else to judge. I'm still not there yet. I'm going to have to win, you know, some more big matches if I want to get there. And it takes, you know, a whole year of consistency to stay in the top 10.
You know, if I play like I did tonight week in, week out, then I've probably got a good chance of doing it. I've beaten a lot of guys in the top 10. You know, obviously I have a chance of getting there. But it's up to me to kind of keep focused, keep working hard, and then hopefully it will come.

Q. Why do you think of your generation he's the one who has done things first, had the big achievements first at the age he has?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, the guy's ridiculously like strong. I mean, he's been like that since he was 16, 17. A lot of us guys, you know, Gasquet said when he played him at the French he felt like he had to do a lot of growing up. You look at his body, you look at me, Djokovic, Gasquet, Monfils, you know, we're obviously not as physically strong as him.
I think that's natural. He says he's never done weights before. I think that's the main difference between all of us. But, you know, about a year, year and a half, I don't think there will be any physical differences. I'm going to work as hard as I can to try to get to that level.

Q. What did he say to you at the end of the match?
ANDY MURRAY: He just said, Great match, you played unbelievable. I said, Thanks, it was great to play against you. Good luck for the rest of the tournament. I hope you win it. Which I hope he does. Everyone wants someone to come along and sort of rival Federer. I think he could be the one to do it.
You know, I hope that he does play well the rest of the tournament. That was pretty much it. But, yeah, a bit of language barrier to get past. We kept it pretty short.

Q. What is next? Where do you go from here?
ANDY MURRAY: I never had a blister before in my life. In the second set of my match against Chela, I mean, it's probably about this long. I cut the whole of my skin. I probably want to try and let that heal first before I do anything.
I'll take a few days off. But I'm entered in Zagreb. I'll see how the foot is. If that kind of heals up, the skin grows back together, I'll play in Zagreb. After that, I've got San Jose and Memphis before Indian Wells and Miami.

Q. You mixed up the pace a fair bit, kept the ball deep on either side. That is the optimum way of playing Nadal in a match?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it depends what sort of game style you have. I do that against most guys. But I played maybe 20, 30% more aggressive tonight than I normally would.
Someone like Max Mirnyi is not going to stay at the back, try and play high balls, change the pace. He's going to be serve-volleying, coming to the net. It depends what your game style is.
You know, there's probably not just one way to beat him. You know, you have to do everything well and you have to play a really, really solid match if you want to win.

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