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December 31, 2013

Matthew Ebden


M. EBDEN/A. Kuznetsov
6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Matt.

Q.  Long time between main draw matches, wasn't it?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Here?  Yeah, well, I mean Brisbane only comes once a year.  What can you do?
No, yeah, I feel pretty good.  Like I said to Fitzy there, it's probably only four weeks ago I was playing a final in Japan, so still feel like I have had a lot ofmatches behind me even though it's a new season.
It's nice to come in still feeling in the swing of things rather than feeling like I haven't played a match for two months.
Today I was able to stay relaxed and enjoy it out there and start the year off on a good note.

Q.  Quarterfinals from 2011.  Familiar territory.  Is it possible to gauge how you felt now compared to where you where then?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, feels very different.  Back then, like you said, it was pretty fresh and new to me.  I was sort of coming onto the scene a few years ago.  I think experience helps in a lot of ways.  You think you're a bit more experienced, but as you get older you realize you.
I think experience helps with just being able to stay more calm and enjoy what I'm doing out there, rather than worrying too much or feeling too much nerves or pressure.
Always going to be bits of nerves and pressure.  That's normal.  But just looking at it in a little bit of a different light I think and just enjoying being out there.  Feel fortunate to be out there.

Q.  Who are you working with now that you're not working with Peter McNamara?
MATTHEW EBDEN:¬† Mark Shanahan.¬† He's actually‑‑ well, he's a great nephew of Margaret Court.¬† His dad, Phil Shanahan, their whole family is from Albury.¬† I'm pretty close with Margaret Court obviously in Perth.

Q.  Did she broker this arrangement?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  She didn't, she didn't but I'm always talking to her.  Actually, Mark has been sort of part of my coaching team last two, three years.  Last year he was on tour with me for about three months actually, and I think the year before for about six weeks.
He's been ‑‑ he's one of my best friends as well, which really helps.¬† We get along great.¬† He was a groomsman at my wedding actually.¬† We've known each other long time.¬† Sort of always been around me and the coaching team.
It helps to have someone just really relaxed.  He's a good friend as well.

Q.  Nishikori next.
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, played him a couple times, couple interesting matches.  Last time was at Wimbledon about six months ago.  He came out playing unbelievable.  I didn't have much time on the ball at all.  He really came out going for it.
I'm expecting a very tough match.  Just looking forward to playing another match in front of the Brisbane crowd.

Q.  Was the serve one of the most exciting things out there today?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, I think it's definitely one of my strengths.  Did you say exciting?

Q.  Well because it looked like you were hitting aces.
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, the first serve.  The second serve, had a couple bad games there in the second set.  I don't know if it was concentration or just getting into the swing of things.
But, yeah, the serve is definitely a strength I've been working on a lot in the last couple years.  Yeah, just looking to play to my strengths, the serve, the forehand, in my movement, and getting to net here and there as a well, and putting pressure on guys like that and taking my chances when I can with the weapons or things that I've got.
So yeah, it's going to be no different.  Just going to keep trying to build and improve my game these next few weeks and into this year.  I really enjoy that side of it, trying to improve physically and with my game.
So, yeah.

Q.  What sort of advice has Margaret given you when you do talk to her?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Since I was 14 years old I've been lucky to be around her.  We attend her church.  She runs a church actually in Perth.  Our families have always been relatively close.  If I ever needed advice or whatever when I've gone back there, I spend a couple hours talking to her now and then.
She's an incredible woman.¬† It's amazing to get advise from someone‑‑ she brings a different angle, I guess being‑‑ she's obviously a bit older now.¬† I think she's in her 70s.¬† You know, she obviously such of a great champion, but it was so long ago, so just the different sort of angles get and you start to see, I guess, more sort of angles and insight into the game than just the way you think.
She's a really calming influence and she really believes in me a lot.  She's, yeah, just a nice woman to be able to know.

Q.  So you win six challenger finals this last season, 2013, 12 or 13 ATPs.  How are you going to do your schedule this year?
MATTHEW EBDEN:  Yeah, last year was a bit mix and match.  The first sort of six months working with Pete, we experimented with some things in my game, but also working really hard physically through that period, so we even knew it might have taken six months for some rewards to come.
And then I won Nottingham before Wimbledon and started to play some better tennis then.  Played some ATPs in the States.
But then still feel like I needed to put my game together a bit, so, yeah, I think I won four and maybe a couple other finals.
That was key for me to just get all that match practice.  I played almost 40 matches and won most of them, so that was just good for me to be able to have time to work on my game and keep winning and still come back the next day and keep sussing things out.
I think that was a really important period for me.  Obviously for my ranking as well.  More for my game and understanding how best for me to play.  So I feel sort of very settled with how I want to go about things.

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