In the Australian Open men’s semifinals Andy Murray defeated David Ferrer 46 76(2) 61 76(2) to reach the final Sunday in Melbourne where he’ll face Novak Djokovic.
Q. How satisfied is it for you to get to the final?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, very. I mean, it’s a very tough match tonight. I expected a very, very tough match. You know, it was a little bit up and down I thought. I changed my tactics well in the second set, second and third sets.
But, yeah, very happy to come through, because it was a really, really tough match. It could have gone either way.
Q. Can you talk us through the way you changed your game.
ANDY MURRAY: I just started playing closer to the baseline, taking his time away a little bit. I started slicing a little bit more, like changing the pattern of the points. You know, we were playing a lot of sort of cross court backhand rallies in the first set. He wasn’t missing a ball.
I started slicing up the line, changing the passing of the points, was able to dictate a little bit more with my forehand. I used my backhand down the line well. Just went for my shots a bit more. I came to the net a lot. Finished a lot of points off at the net.
There was a lot of changes. But I was just going for my shots a bit more.
Q. In the tiebreaks, you must have been really pleased with the way you stepped it up and won them both pretty comprehensively.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I served well in both of them. Went for my shots. You know, I got off to a good start in both really. Yeah, that always makes a big difference in the tiebreaks.
Yeah, tiebreaks were good. Third set was very well, it’s not like the first set I felt like I played badly. It was just I had my chance in the first set; didn’t take it.
And, yeah, I mean, it’s gonna happen in a five set match against someone as good as him.
Q. You said you changed string tension. Did you go on court with two different racquets strung with different tension?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I always go on with two different tensions. I wasn’t really feeling it at all. You know, I went up in tension even though it was getting colder, so I felt like I could really swing hard at the ball just give it just a bit more of a crack, and I helped.
Q. Yesterday Novak said that it’s good for the game to have some people who can beat Roger and Rafa and not have those two all the time. Now we have a final without either one. It’s to your advantage to be in the final. Do you agree it’s good for the game itself to have that?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, personally, yeah, if people thought it was better for the game if Roger and Rafa were in the final, then I’m not really bothered. It’s better for me if I’m in the final.
But I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s better for the game or not. You know, I think, I mean, those two have been great for the sport, and I’m sure they’ll continue to be for the next six, seven years however long they’re both playing.
You know, but from a personal point of view, I would rather be in the final than be watching Roger and Rafa at home playing again.
Q. You played Novak seven times on the tour. You maybe played with him as a junior or something. Can you talk about the rivalry between you and Novak.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, because we’ve always been like 3 and 4 the last few years, we’ve always been on different halves of the draw in every tournament we’ve played. So, yeah, we haven’t come up against each other I think for over two years now.
So, you know, we practice a lot together. We get on well together. We’re good friends. You know, so in terms of a rivalry, I think this will be the start well, I hope it’s the start of us playing each other in big matches.
Q. Can you take us back to when you first met? What were some of your earliest memories of meeting Novak as a teenager?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, we both went quite different routes. I played him the first time I think when I was like 13 maybe. You know, it’s not like you speak that often to the foreign players and stuff. There’s normally a pretty big sort of language barrier.
We played each other up until we were like 15, and then he improved a lot faster than I did. Then I managed to catch up. It wasn’t really until we got back on the tour that we started playing together a lot and practicing together again.
Yeah, the first time I played him must have been, yeah, when we were about 13. So it’s been a long time we’ve known each other.
Q. Was that first match in Tarbes?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.
Q. Do you know who won?
ANDY MURRAY: I won 6 Love, 6 1 maybe. So, yeah, a lot’s changed since then, I’m sure. It will be just a bit tougher than that on Sunday.
Q. Do you think the fact that Novak will have had 24 more hours to prepare will be a factor at all?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I think it helps. Yeah, it’s not really an excuse. I had it last year. You know, I think the more rest you can have, the better.
But it’s not like, you know, at the US Open where I would have where I’d be playing, in 13, 14 hours. I have the whole of tomorrow. I won’t practice till late tomorrow, and then I’ve got the whole day to get ready on Sunday.
So I’m hoping physically I’ll be okay. But, yeah, I’m sure every player in the draw would rather have an extra day.
Q. Can you take us through the sequence where you said you lost track of the score tonight.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I thought it was 4 3 in the second set, and then, yeah, it wasn’t until the umpire called 5 5 that I realized that, yeah, I just saved a set point.
Q. What did you think when you saw it was 5 All?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I was obviously a bit surprised. But you need to sort of get back into focusing. It was quite a big stage of the match. So, you know, it hadn’t really happened to me that often before.
But sometimes, you know, when you’re in the match, you know, you sort of get in a bubble, in a zone, and you don’t well, normally you know exactly what the score is, but tonight I obviously didn’t.
Q. When you’re in the rhythm of play in a tournament, very much in your routine, is it quite easy to sort of shut out the historic significance, how big a match it is? In some ways is it possible to treat it like any other match?
ANDY MURRAY: It was until you brought it up.
But, no, I mean, first of all, it’s more like, you know, a personal dream or a personal goal of mine. So that’s really what you need to sort of keep in check and not let yourself get ahead of yourself.
You know, the historical thing, it’s not something that I’ve thought about that much, but it’s something that obviously for me personally I want to try and win.
You know, but I also don’t want to sort of get myself so amped up that, you know, I play a stinker of a match. I think if you go in thinking like, Yeah, no one’s won for 60 years, I might never get another chance.
I’m going to make the most of the opportunity, for sure. I’ll give 110%. But, you know, I also need to make sure I’m relaxed and calm on the court. I don’t want to get myself sort of too worked up.
Q. You didn’t play against him in almost two years, but you won the last three matches in two sets. Does it mean something or not much after all this time?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I’m sure if I lost all of them in two sets, I mean, I would have been seven matches down. So, you know, they were big moments for me. I won against him a couple of times in Masters Series finals. When I won my first Masters Series in Cincinnati, you know, that was a big win for me.
The wins meant a lot to me at the time. I don’t know if they’ll have a bearing during the match on Sunday. But at the time they meant a lot to me. You know, I expect a very tough match. I’m not expecting him, just because he’s lost the last couple of times, to hand the match to me. I’m going to have to work incredibly hard.
Q. Did you watch Novak’s match last night?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I watched all of it. I didn’t see that much of the first set, but I saw from the second set onwards.
Q. It’s going to be hot on Sunday. Novak has had some problems in the past with heat exhaustion. Do you think that might be an advantage for you?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I mean, it’s in the evening. I wouldn’t expect it to be too much of an issue. If it is an issue for him, then that’s obviously an advantage for me. But I’m not going to the match thinking that will be a problem for him. You know, you just have to see what happens when you’re out there.
Q. When draws are made, I think probably we tend to assume that the toughest draw is likely the way it turns out. We figured it would be Soderling to play Nadal to play Federer. Do you get any more sense of gratification that you’ve came through people like Dolgopolov and Ferrer today, maybe even tougher matches for you mentally?
ANDY MURRAY: There’s definitely a slightly different pressure. But, yeah, from my side I was very surprised. I did one hour of press after my last match. I didn’t get asked one question about Ferrer. The guy is ranked 7 in the world. After this week, he’ll probably be higher.
I have a lot of respect for all of the players on the tour. I have a lot of respect for him. I played him many times. Had very tough matches. I practiced with him. I’ve seen him train. The guy’s in unbelievable shape.
Yeah, it’s important, I think, for everybody to respect, you know, all of the players. And he, yeah, pushed me. It was an incredibly difficult match, like I was expecting.
There has been slightly different pressure going into the matches, because against Dolgopolov I didn’t really know his game that well and I was favored. You know, you’re expecting to get to the semis, but last two matches have been the hardest two in the draw.
So I’m sure Sunday’s going to be very tough, but I’ve been very focused on just playing my opponent and not getting ahead of myself.
Q. The other day you said you were very conservative about your money investment. How conservative do you consider yourself as a player?
ANDY MURRAY: I think tonight I showed that I did what I needed to do to win. I think a lot of the players now are very patient on the court, because you can’t just be trying to hit winners because the guys are too fast and it’s all played from the baseline, it’s a lot slower.
I don’t know. Depends how you view being conservative. You know, I think I try a lot of different shots. I have a lot of variety, dropshots, came to the net a lot, change the pace of the ball. I don’t hit the same ball over and over again just because I think I’m going to make it. I do hit a lot of different shots.
I don’t think the match tonight was conservative. Some matches you need to be conservative. You just do what you have to do to win.
Q. Djokovic yesterday said that this surface is the best for him because it’s not too fast and it does give him some options when he has to choose the selection of his shots. What about you? Do you like this surface a lot, too? Would you like it a little faster?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, it changes. The surface here does change a lot. Not the surface, but the way the court plays changes a lot depending on the heat. Because it’s been quite cool here, that’s slowed the pace of the court down a bit.
But, I mean, for me the court here is the best for my game. You know, I can see why Novak would really like the court, as well. The balls here are very different to what they are at the US Open. The US Open is very, very fast compared to here.
So I think this is along with the French; the French can be very quick, too, for clay it is slow.
Q. You seemed a bit gimpy working the autograph line after the match. Is everything all right health wise?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I just played 3 hours and 45 minutes. I was a bit stiff and sore when the adrenaline wears off of just playing a fourth set tiebreak. You stiffen up quite quickly. It wasn’t warm out there. I was a bit stiff and sore. I jumped in the ice bath, had a warm bath afterwards. I feel better.
Q. How significant was last year? You tasted the bitterness of defeat, but you must have gained experience making the final.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was tough for me, but something that I think overall would have made me a better player, stronger mentally. You know, they’re all experiences that you need to deal with sort of playing at the highest level of sport. You know, you definitely lose some tough matches. You know, I hope that it will help me on Sunday.
But I’m sure I’ll deal with everything better than I have done in the past on Sunday.
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