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January 16, 2010

Andy Murray


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.

Q. You changed your preparations this year. How do you feel coming into this Open that change has worked for you?
ANDY MURRAY: Obviously, I have to see once I start playing. In terms of being acclimatized and whatnot, I feel a lot better in that respect.
You know, got good practice over in Melbourne. Played eight matches, practiced outdoors there on all the days off. You know, it was nice and hot, so I feel a lot better in that respect.
My game feels good.

Q. By dropping out of the top four, it's created more challenging setups for you. Big quarterfinal against Rafa. How does that tie into your preparation mentally?
ANDY MURRAY: It makes no difference unless I get to the quarters, so I try and take care of the results before then. You know, if I have to play Rafa, then, you know, it's obviously a very, very tough match, but one that I feel like I could win.
But I need to focus on the matches before then. I'm sure he'll be doing the same thing, as well.

Q. Do you like this court surface and how different do you play compared to other surfaces?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I always liked hard courts. I grew up playing on them. They're a little bit different to US Open hard courts. They bounce a bit higher. US Open courts are a little bit faster.
But, uhm, you know, with the conditions here, it obviously can get very hot. When it's hot, the court plays quick. So I do like it. I feel like I can play well on these courts.

Q. You've been described as a great counter-puncher, which you don't seem to like. Looks like you have been focusing on other areas of your game. Can you speak to that a little?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I like it. I like being a counter-puncher. I never said that. Just everyone tells me I shouldn't play like that so (smiling). I always played that way since I was growing up. It's a little bit different than a way a lot of the other guys at the top of the game play.
You know, it's given me a lot of success. But there's obviously things I still need to work on, practice, keep adding to my game. I did that in December and the first tournament I played at the Hopman Cup.

Q. Seems you were coming to the net a lot more. Have you been working on your net game?
ANDY MURRAY: Not so much the actual net game, the volleys when I get there. It's more the times to come to the net, making sure you pick the right shots and coming in, you know, off the correct balls 'cause the guys are so quick now and pass so well, guys return so well, you can't just charge forward nowadays and expect to get away with it.

Q. How do you see the level of the other top 10 players at the moment and who do you think is in the best shape for this tournament now?
ANDY MURRAY: You never know the first big tournament of the year. You don't know if guys have had problems in December when they were training or whatever. But, you know, the guys I'm sure will be in pretty good shape, you know, when the tournament starts.
But, you know, this is one tournament where there's always a few surprises. You know, you never know quite what to expect. But I'm sure everyone will be feeling fine when the tournament starts.

Q. Do you think Del Potro or Davydenko can make it a little bit different for the rest, due to the last few months with their levels?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, both of them are great players. Davydenko has been in the top five, six players in the world for the last four or five years at least. But, you know, he's had a couple good wins over Federer. Del Potro has beaten Federer as well the last couple times he played in big tournaments. So there's no reason why those two can't have great tournaments.

Q. You were in Miami Christmas Day, right?

Q. You weren't?

Q. Where were you?
ANDY MURRAY: Landed actually in London on Christmas Day.

Q. So you were just at home in Surrey, were you?
ANDY MURRAY: I was planning on staying out the whole time in Miami. Then, like a few days beforehand, decided I was going to do some physical tests. Because obviously last year when I came over here, and Dubai at the start of the year, I had a few different illnesses that I picked up probably from traveling. I just wanted to make sure, you know, after a training block, I was going to be a bit tired, that there was no problem, there wasn't going to be a problem this time. So I did a lot of physical tests, blood tests and stuff. That was why I went back.

Q. So you went back to Miami, then on to Oz, did you?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I stayed in London till Christmas Day and then stayed four days in London and then went back.

Q. What do you take from last year's tournament here?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, I felt like I was playing well, you know, coming to the tournament. You know, I had a good start in Doha and then played well -- felt like I played pretty well the first three matches. Didn't lose a set. Against Verdasco, I had a lot of chances to win and didn't take them. So a few things from that match that I improved on throughout the rest of the year.
You know, I feel like I learned a lot from what happened last year, you know, and I'll try and play better and go deeper in the tournament than I have done in previous years - that's getting past the fourth round. That will be my first goal.

Q. What is the difference between the US and Australian Open for you?
ANDY MURRAY: The bounce on the court is different. And also the balls get quicker as they get older at the US Open, whereas here they slow down a lot. And also obviously the conditions here can change like hugely during matches almost. You know, it can change sort of 10, 15 degrees in the space of 20 minutes, and that obviously changes the way the ball plays and stuff. So there's a few more things you have to deal with on the court here.

Q. So can you say which of the two conditions you prefer?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I play more tennis over in the States, as all the guys do. So going into the US Open I guess you're a little more used to the conditions.
But this year I've been over for a couple of weeks before the tournament for the first time and I feel like I'm a lot more used to the conditions than I have been going in in the past.

Q. You obviously play a qualifier. The Irish guy that has just qualified said he was at Barcelona for a little while at the same time as you. Do you remember him at all?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know if he was in the same academy as me. I actually remember him more from when I was a lot younger, like at tournaments at Solihull and stuff, which I was like 11, 12 years old. He was one of the better ones in those tournaments.
But I didn't see him. Could be right. I think he went over to the States. I might be wrong.

Q. He said he remembers hitting with you a couple times in Barcelona.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don't remember. Sorry (smiling).

Q. You said a few moments ago this is the most unexpected the of the majors, you don't know what people have been doing in the off-season, had a good training in the off-season. When you go on the court, do you have to be more concerned of maybe something that somebody has added to their game or is it unrealistic that someone can make a significant change in the offseason?
ANDY MURRAY: Guys can definitely make changes in their game. It's something that I've tried to do in December and stuff. You know, spoke to Pat Cash a little bit in the Hopman Cup, '87 Wimbledon champion, about coming to the net, coming forward, because he was obviously commentating there, and watched a few of the matches. It's just interesting speaking to those sort of guys about, you know, what it was like back then and now.
I feel like it's a lot harder to make those sort of big adjustments. Guys can improve little things, but it's so much harder to serve and volley now and come to the net now.
You know, but guys are always looking just to add small things. It's not like you're going to be, I guess on the court, hugely surprised when you play against them. But guys might have improved a few bits and pieces.

Q. But you never think, I've never seen him hit that shot before, where did that come from?
ANDY MURRAY: Last year when I played against Verdasco, I played him a lot of times in the past, you know, he was always, you know, so talented. But, you know, he went from being sort of very talented and erratic to, you know, very consistent and hitting the ball huge off both sides.
He obviously worked hard on his fitness, which makes you stronger and more stable. That was a little bit surprising that he was able to maintain that level for such a long time.
But it's not like, you know, you see one shot and guys have improved it through the roof. Maybe it happens a bit more with young guys that have got maybe physically stronger, whatever, but not the guys at the top.

Q. The big stat about Britain waiting for its men's Grand Slam champion for 74 years. You've played under this weight of expectation for a few years now. Is this something that you even think about anymore?
ANDY MURRAY: I obviously get asked about it a lot in the buildup to all of the slams. But, I mean, it's so irrelevant to the way I play or approach my matches. You know when I'm on the court, it's the last thing I'm thinking about. I'm not thinking how many years it's been since a Brit won a Grand Slam. You know, I'm just thinking about how I'm going to win the match, how I'm going to win the next point.
But, you know, obviously I'd like to try and end that sooner rather than later. But, you know, if I think about it all the time, put more pressure on myself by thinking about it, that's not gonna help.

Q. Talking about pressure, you've been written up in one of the local papers as one of the favorites. Is that a big pressure to take into a tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I mean, I think it's a good thing, you know. I feel like I'm playing well enough to win the tournament. It would be different, you know, if I felt like I was playing rubbish and then was expected to do well.
But I feel like I started the year well and physically I feel good. I just need to make sure I play my best tennis. If I do that, I got a good chance.

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