Andy Murray: I’m a different player to this time last year

A transcript from Andy Murray's news conference after his five-set Australian Open semi-final defeat by Novak Djokovic

andy murray
Andy Murray was beaten 6-3 3-6 6-7 6-1 7-5 by Novak Djokovic Photo: Mirsasha, via Flickr

andy murray

Reporter: “I think most people were astonished you had it in you to come back from 5‑2 in the fifth and have those chances. It was an unbelievable performance.”

Murray: “Yeah, it was obviously a very good match. I had the chance at five-all. On one of the points I missed a backhand into the net. But if you look at the stats from that game, it was probably like four or five deuces. He missed one first serve. He served really well on those points, so he was able to dictate them, which when I was getting myself into the rallies, I was dictating a lot of the points. It was tough at the end because obviously you come back, then you get close to breaking. To lose is tough. But a different player, a different attitude to this time last year. I’m proud of the way I fought.”

Reporter: “Where does that match rate for fluctuations in emotion? It must have been very hard to keep pace with it. Can you tell us what it was like?”

Murray: “I didn’t think he played that well at the start. I thought I was poor in the first set. Then I started to play better and managed to turn around the second set playing better, and in the third set, some of the points were brutal. They were so long. I guess it was maybe normal there was a let-down in the fourth set. I would have liked to have played a better fourth set, got off to a better start – that would have helped. But physically both of us were obviously tired. Once you go behind in a set, you have to weigh-out whether it’s worth trying to get yourself back into it or saving yourself for a fifth set. It was an up‑and‑down match. Both of us played well. He was just a little bit better.”

Reporter: “When you say “different player, different attitude” – is that something that has just happened or something you think you’ve been working towards over a period of time?”

Murray: “There’s a lot of things that go into it. Everybody matures at different ages and different rates. I feel now like, yeah, I’m ready mentally. Physically I can still get better, for sure. But in comparison to how I played last year, it was much, much better. Everyone always says to me, Andy’s too passive; he doesn’t go for his shots enough. I think tonight I did that. I probably made more mistakes than him, but I’m quite sure I hit more winners. I was moving well and dictating a lot of the points, which is important.”

Reporter: “You said that your new coaching arrangement is going to take a while. What kind of things will you be doing?”

Murray: “I want to work on all parts of my game. I thought I played pretty well up at the net this tournament, which was good and something I’ll need to keep improving. You can always make every shot more consistent. I haven’t sat down and spoke to Ivan about what I’m going to work on next two or three months in the build-up to Indian Wells and Miami yet – but I’m sure we’ll have that conversation when the time is right, in a week or so.”

Reporter: “How would you describe how you’re feeling right now?”

Murray: “Well, disappointed obviously. But sometimes you come off the court and you’ve played really badly, you haven’t quite been there mentally, and then you’re really disappointed with yourself because you’ve let yourself down. I don’t feel like I’ve let myself down today.”

Reporter: “Did you think you had the match at any moment, that you were going to win this match?”

Murray: “Yeah. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have come back like I did in the fifth set. I wouldn’t have got myself into a winning position after going behind after the first set. I fought well – I believed all the way through. Just about got it at five-all. Next time I’ll make sure I do.”

Reporter: “You’ve gone away from the Australian Open feeling low after the last two years. After the performance tonight, do you think you’ll be in a more positive frame of mind leaving this tournament?”

Murray: “I don’t think I necessarily went away the last couple of years with a negative attitude. It was more…I don’t know…like it knocks your confidence a little bit. I wasn’t really down on myself. It’s just once you get back on the court again, you’re doubting yourself a little bit. I wasn’t beating myself up. It was just like, Am I going to get there or not? I think after the matches that I’ve been through ‑ I’ve lost a lot of tough matches ‑ that I’ve learnt to deal with them better. I bounced back well from most of the tough matches that I lost last year. Obviously not after the Australian Open, but after the French, Wimbledon, US I did well. Hopefully that will be the same again.”

Reporter: “Towards the end of the fifth set, if you had any other challenges in your back pocket would you have used any of those in the last couple of games?”

Murray: “No. There were not really any really close, close balls. The linespeople were excellent tonight. They didn’t make any mistakes that I’m aware of. They were really good. No one ever talks about them doing a good job. I thought tonight the umpire was great, and I think the linespeople did really well.”

Reporter: “Rafael Nadal has an extra 24 hours’ preparation. What effect do you think that will have on the final on Sunday night?”

Murray: “It’s going to help. Novak has recovered well before; sometimes he hasn’t. You never know how you’re going to pull up. I’m sure both of us will be sore tomorrow. I hope it’s a good match and he recovers because he deserves to have a good final. That’s the thing, it’s not like the US Open when you play the Saturday, Sunday finals. I wouldn’t be fancying his chances if he had to play tomorrow, that’s for sure. But we’ll wait and see.”

Reporter: “When you’ve had time to reflect on tonight’s match, do you think you will feel that you’re closer than ever to winning a Grand Slam title, better equipped to do that?”

Murray: “Yeah, I think so. Tonight’s match was important for many reasons. Obviously I wanted to win first and foremost. But after last year, the year that Novak’s had, I think there’s a very fine line between being No1 in the world and being three or four. I feel I closed that gap tonight. My job over the next two or three months is to surpass him and the guys in front of me. So that will take a lot of hard work, and hopefully I can do it.”

Reporter: “You and Ivan Lendl haven’t been together long, but has he had an impact during this slam already?”

Murray: “Yeah, I enjoyed it. I feel like when you look up at someone like that in the stands it helps. I want to try and repay the faith that he’s shown in me by coming to work with me. So I would have liked to have done obviously better here. But I haven’t spoken to him too much yet. Hopefully he was happy with the way I did and how I acted on the court. Hopefully at the French Open I’ll do a little bit better.”

Reporter: “Was there one little nugget before the match tonight that he said or did?”

Murray: “He told me it was going to be painful. He said: ‘You’ll win, but you’re going to have to go through a lot of pain to get there, so be ready for that.’ He told me a couple nights ago: ‘Prepare yourself mentally for that, to go through a lot of pain, a lot of tough points to play when your legs are sore and your legs are burning.’ That was probably the main thing. By the end of the match you’re not really thinking about the tactics. You’re thinking about where you serve, and then you’re kind of going on instinct after that. So it wasn’t one specific thing that I would have changed tactically tonight. I don’t know if Novak would say the same thing. There were so many long points. He’s obviously a great mover. I move well, too, so it’s very difficult to penetrate our defence.

Reporter: “What are your plans at this point for the next four weeks?”

Murray: “I’m going to go home. I’ve been away since December the 5th or 6th, close to two months now. I’m going to spend a bit of time with my family and friends, and then see what I do after that. My body’s sore. I’ve had a few problems during the tournament, niggles and things. I had a problem with my back and I need to get that fixed. Then I need to decide on the Davis Cup first, because that’s the next thing that’s coming up. I’ve got a bit of time off after that.”

Reporter: “How well were you aware of his physical presence, especially in the fifth set? He was breathing heavy.”

Murray: “He’s done it many times before. He runs very well even when he’s breathing heavy. That’s something we spoke about before the match. Even if he looks tired or he’s breathing heavy, you’ve got to put your foot down on the accelerator and not wait for him to miss because he’s hitting the ball so cleanly. If he is tired, and both of us will have been tired at different points during that match, he’s hitting the ball so cleanly, he’s going for shots and making them, shortening the points. I was ready for that.”

Reporter: “The external pressure on you playing in Australia compared to Wimbledon, what’s the difference for you?”

Murray: “To be honest, when you’re on the court it’s more of like a blur. You’re not thinking about anything else. The crowd were excellent here tonight. That always helps. I didn’t feel like there was a huge difference from playing at Wimbledon to playing here, it’s just that you’re not in the paper every day. Everyone’s more interested in Novak, Rafa and Tomic than they are me. So that’s something that I’ve always preferred – to be out of the spotlight rather than in it. I guess that helps a little bit.”

Reporter: “How would you score your performance tonight out of 10?”

Murray: “Like eight-and-a-half probably. I think for a lot of the match it was close to a 10, but at the start of the match I didn’t play as well as I would have liked. And then start of the fourth set I would have liked to have been a bit better. But apart from that, I can’t really complain too much. I think I can still improve, and that’s why I can’t give myself a 10. But it was close to a really great match.”

Reporter: It was a match of almost five hours. Novak said it was one of the hardest matches he ever played. How did you feel physically towards the end?”

Murray: “That’s the thing – I actually felt OK towards the end. You have the huge adrenaline rush at the end of the third set, then you have a bit of a let-down and things start aching and are sore. Towards the end of the fifth set I was actually feeling OK because the adrenaline gets back up and everything feels all right. I’m sure that when I stand up from this seat, my body’s going to be pretty painful.”

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