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March 25, 2007

Andy Murray


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was it good?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was good. The first set was a little bit tricky. I had a few chances on his serve early in the set and didn't take them. It was hard in those conditions, because, you know, you have to kind of decide what sort of tennis you're going to play.
You know, you play ultra aggressive or play pretty conservatively. I chose to focus on putting a lot of balls in the court and not going for the lines. He played sort of high-risk tennis, you know, made more mistakes than me. But yeah, it was a pretty good match.

Q. Do you feel good physically?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I felt fine; no problems.

Q. They used to say John McEnroe had the rage for perfection. You seem to have a bit of that. Not that you berate linemen or anything, but you seem that you hate to lose any points. Is that kind of your mentality?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't particularly like hitting bad shots. I can accept losing a point when my opponent hits a winner or when I get aced. I don't particularly like, you know, hitting bad shots.
But I think every player kind of knows it's impossible to go all match without losing a point. So it's not really worth getting into an argument over a point.

Q. Does that help you play better when you constantly get on yourself and berate yourself?
ANDY MURRAY: I wouldn't say I constantly berate myself.

Q. What would you say?
ANDY MURRAY: My game's been going pretty well this year, so whatever I'm doing on court I'd like to think is more my tennis. But I don't know if it helps me or not.

Q. Are you ready for a breakthrough? Do you feel that you're on the cusp of a breakthrough? Top 10, that type, beating the top players?
ANDY MURRAY: I'd say I'm pretty close. I mean, I've started this year pretty well. There being a lot of the top players already -- beating a lot of the top players already.
The ones I haven't beaten I've lost close matches to. So I'd say I'm pretty -- well, I am close to the Top 10. I am. I'm 12th in the world. I'm pretty close in the rankings so, yeah, I guess I am getting close to it.

Q. Anything separating you and Novak from some of the other young guys right now?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I don't know what it is exactly. I think both of us work pretty hard to start with. Maybe a lot of the young guys kind of put a lot of pressure on rankings and results and stuff.
But it's like you kind of know in the back of your mind where you're ranked and everything, but I think both of us understand the most important thing is to improve your tennis. When that happens, it's not always about the results, it's more about whether you're getting better as a player.
And if you're getting better as a player, then your results are going to improve. So maybe that's the main thing.

Q. Does it feel like you have also a fewer highs and lows maybe than some of the other guys you're often lumped together with?
ANDY MURRAY: Have more what?

Q. Fewer.

Q. Fewer ups and downs, a little more consistent?
ANDY MURRAY: I guess this year so far, yeah. Last year both of us had a few ups and downs. You know, he had a little injury here and there. You know, this year we both played very consistently.
That's one of the things you learn from being on the tour for a couple of years. If you want to be one of the best, you can go and have bad weeks and you have to perform in these big tournaments. It takes a little while to learn that.

Q. What do you feel you need to get to the next level? You seem like you have all the shots. Maybe is it fitness or anything like that? Something to improve on? Anything to improve on?
ANDY MURRAY: I think I can improve everything. I don't think fitness is a problem. I don't think it's my strokes. I'm still young. Nobody plays their best when they're young. You improve everything when you get older. You gain more experience. You work on your game. You add extra little bits and pieces, like your serve-volleys.
You know, being more aggressive sometimes, whatever it is. Hitting your second serve harder. It's just little things that make you that little bit better, and that's what makes the difference between the best players in the world, and the ones that are not quite in the Top 10.

Q. You see JP doing his rescue act?
ANDY MURRAY: I didn't see him go over. I mean, I knew what was going on, but I didn't see him go over and do anything.

Q. If it is Gonzalez you meet next, do you expect that to be very different to the US Open?

Q. He's got a new coach and all the rest of it.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, when he started with Stefanki he made semis, semis in Toronto, semis in Cincinnati. I beat him in the third round of the US Open, and he finished the year great: The finals in Madrid, finals in Vienna. You know, and I think final in Basel as well.
Since Stfanki's been working with him he's had a good year. He did well in Australia. But I've improved as well, so I would say it's going to be a completely different match.

Q. You haven't seen anything different in his game since you last played him?
ANDY MURRAY: He's probably playing more consistent than he was. He's still quite unpredictable because he does have such a big forehand and hits huge first serves. He can also slice his slow serves in. He has a lot of slice on his backhand as well, so...
I wouldn't say his game's changed that much. His actual style of play is maybe just a bit more consistent.

Q. Do you feel you've completely gotten over the physical problems of last week now?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I feel fine. I said it wasn't like I sprained an ankle or had a huge lot of inflammation and swelling, which takes a while to get rid of. It hurts when you stand on your leg, but when you do have a fall like that and you're badly bruised, it takes three or four days to get over it. I had a few days off, and I feel fine now.

Q. Not to overdo this, but can you give me an example of what you say to yourself when you're a little annoyed with yourself?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, it depends what I'm annoyed about, I guess. I mean, if I miss a serve I probably tell myself to make the first serve. If I miss a forehand return I'll tell myself to return better. It's nothing too major. It's just small, short things.

Q. You chose not to retire in your match with Haas in the last tournament. But are you aware of players that sort of tend to retire more in matches if they're losing and these kinds of things, or as a player?
ANDY MURRAY: It's not so much the retiring, it's more having to deal with adversity mentally. I think some guys, when they get behind, start to struggle a little bit and lose patience and start going for big shots too early in the rally.
There's more of that sort of stuff that you kind of think about. You don't look to see if guys retire when they get down, because I like to think that most of the guys will stop when they actually have a problem.
It's more some guys you look at the record, and it will be -- they'll lose seven matches, and the first set will be 7-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, and the second set will be easier, and that's the sort of thing you pick up on.

Q. But isn't it sort of sometimes a player that is maybe a little bit hurt and they're starting to lose, they don't want to give the other guy the satisfaction of having to win, so they sort of pack it in?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, what do you want me to say?

Q. Are you aware of that, of players that do that on the tour?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I think it's a professional decision. If you don't think you've got a chance of winning the match, there's no point in going out there. So maybe some guys will stop, or if they hurt themselves early on, I guess it makes sense not to play.
I think you learn that the more you go on. It's not normally the young guys that tend to pull out. It's kind of the guys that have a bit more experience.

Q. What is the best thing or the No. 1 thing that Brad Gilbert has been able to convey to you that you feel has worked?
ANDY MURRAY: I think just everything. He brings a lot to the table. He's a great player himself. He's coached a lot of good players. I would say tactically he's one of the best coaches in the game. So he knows how I should be playing against a lot of the players.
He's watched so much tennis, and I would say from the way he played, that was what he had to do well. He had to figure out his opponent's weaknesses, because his game wasn't as good as the other players. But he knew exactly how to get at his opponent's weaknesses, and that's what he's kind of taught me.
Obviously, it helps a lot when you go into these matches having such good tactics. You know, the most important thing in tennis is to be better than the guys on the other side of the net. And it's pretty simple.

Q. You ever read his book?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I don't like reading.

Q. As you said, you played quite conservatively today, but you attacked a lot at times. Does it also help you having played two very different ways, to have settled into a tournament and play differently like that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, that's one of the things that I worked on a lot in the off season was being able to kind of have a game plan, A & B, when I do play against guys.
Like Kendrick has a big serve and he's quite erratic and unpredictable. It's important to put a lot of balls back and give him the chance to miss them.
Against somebody like Goldstein, who gets every ball back and gives you chances to come to the net, you have to take them. I wouldn't say it helps so much during a tournament. It's just more for the experience of when I play like that, I know I can do it now in a match.
I hardly played like that at all last year, the way I played against Goldstein, so it was nice to play a match like that where I did come to the net a lot, and I was the one being more aggressive than my opponent.

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