Andy Murray dropped his third successive Grand Slam final this time to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open title match Sunday night in Melbourne.
Q. How hard is it for you at the moment?
ANDY MURRAY: It’s better than it was last year. You know, it was obviously tough, disappointing. You know, I thought Novak played unbelievably well. And, yeah, it’s tough, but got to deal with it.
Q. Why do you say you feel better this year than last year?
ANDY MURRAY: I just do. That’s it. I was in a much worse state last year than I was this year. I don’t know why. That’s it.
Q. Did you have a feeling at any time you were going to get back into it?
ANDY MURRAY: You always have to try and find a way to get back in. You always have to try and believe. I mean, you know, he defended, I mean, unbelievably well tonight.
So when I got ahead in some games, you know, and even just in points, uhm, you know, he was sticking up lobs that were landing on the baseline, passing shots that were very close to the lines.
So it was quite difficult to find parts of the court where I was getting free points from. You know, I think I broke his serve maybe twice in the third set and still lost it 6 3.
So, you know, I was trying to find a way; I just wasn’t able to put enough good points together.
Q. The first two sets, on his serve you only made six points in the first set and again six points in the second set. How do you explain that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don’t know. I just finished, so I don’t know exactly why that would have been.
But, you know, he played a great match. He hardly missed any balls. You know, it wasn’t like I was missing loads of returns or making a lot of mistakes off returns. You know, we were getting into a lot of rallies.
I saw the stats up on the thing at the end of the match. Not like he hit way more winners than he. I made way more mistakes than him and he defended very well.
Q. You didn’t seem to move as well as you had done in this tournament. Were your energy levels down? Was there an injury problem at all?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I would say the semifinal match was a tough one, a long one. But I felt okay. You know, when it’s a Grand Slam final as well, the adrenaline helps. You feel a lot better with that. That definitely helps.
No, that definitely wasn’t the reason why I lost.
Q. Can you put your finger on why it just didn’t click for you? Wasn’t the real Andy Murray out there, was it?
ANDY MURRAY: It was. But he played great. I mean, I would have liked to have played better. But, you know, I think he would have beaten every other player on the tour if he played like that tonight.
He served well. He didn’t make many mistakes from the back of the court. He moved really, really well. He hit the ball very clean. That was it.
Q. Agassi lost three finals before he went on to win a career slam. Do you still have belief you can win?
ANDY MURRAY: You know, I want to keep working hard, try and improve. You know, but I said before the final, it’s not something that, you know, I don’t lose sleep over at night. You know, it’s going to be tough for sure for a few days.
But, you know, I want to try and win one, of course. But if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. You know, I’m just working as hard as I can. I train very hard. You know, I take tennis very seriously.
But, you know, I love my life away from tennis, as well. You know, that’s why maybe this year, compared with last, I’m very, very happy off the court. I’m enjoying myself. There’s other things to look forward to, too.
Q. Did you get the sense that the first set was always going to be the crucial one today, that that one getting away from you gave him that extra incentive to go for his shots?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think he definitely loosened up after the first set and started playing better. You know, it was a long first set. The match was even quite long for the scoreline. There was quite a lot of long rallies and stuff.
But, yeah, the first set of all matches in majors are important. But just because you lose the first one, you still have a lot of time to get back into it. You know, I wasn’t able to get back into it.
Q. Can you describe how different it is physically and mentally playing in a Grand Slam final as to a regular tour final?
ANDY MURRAY: Physically there’s no difference to playing any of the other matches. I mean, mentally, you know, there’s a bit more pressure and stuff. But that gets less, you know, after you start the match. It’s more the buildup in the beginning of the match.
You know, the pressure is different obviously to playing the first round of a Grand Slam because you’re playing to win it. But physically it’s the same as all the other matches.
Q. You said off the court you’re very happy. Is there a sense of frustration having been there three times and not getting one yet?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, anyone who played in three finals would have loved to have won one. But I haven’t. And, yeah, I mean, I just need to keep working hard and, you know, try and do it.
But, yeah, I would have preferred to have won one than lost three.
Q. Were there any improvements in Novak’s game that surprised you?
ANDY MURRAY: He’s a very good player. I haven’t played him for a very long time, you know, but I’ve played him when he’s played well and when he hasn’t played so well.
He served well tonight in comparison to how he had been the last year or so. That’s definitely helped him.
Q. Do you think you can still get close to his level when you’re at your best? Is there a gap there now that you need to bridge?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think I could have played better this evening. Yeah, I mean, I’m going to need to improve. You know, obviously I lost in straight sets, so I’m going to need to get better.
Q. Is it tougher for you to have lost in straight sets like the other two finals, or it doesn’t change that much because what is important is to win?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t think it changes that much. Uhm, you know, obviously, you know, if it’s sort of a five set match, you feel like you’re very, very close to winning, I’m sure that’s very difficult, you know, when you get so close.
You know, I wasn’t particularly close tonight. I mean, it’s disappointing I’m sure every time you lose, whether it’s three sets or five sets.
Q. Rafa when he came in said he didn’t want to talk about injury. He did eventually say he did have a problem. Are you saying you were a hundred percent?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, I thought I moved decent. I think I could have moved better. But, no, like I said, yeah, I wasn’t injured.
But, you know, I had a tough match in the semi. I moved very well the whole tournament. I felt like I could have moved a bit better tonight.
And against someone like Novak, you know, you need to be firing on all cylinders, and I didn’t move as well as I would have liked.
Q. I know it is what it is, but this idea of playing, you’ve got 24 hours less…
ANDY MURRAY: I think they do a great job at this tournament. Last year I had some extra time. The US Open you have both players don’t have any time really. You play Saturday, Sunday. I mean, I think it’s fine the way they do it here.
Q. What were you talking about to the umpire in the first set? You seemed to get into a discussion with the umpire.
ANDY MURRAY: No, I hit a backhand cross court, and I think it was quite clear in the end they called it out and he overruled. I just said to him, like, you know, I thought that was like almost inside the line. You know, he sort of like bit back at me even though he’d overruled it and we were agreeing.
I just said to him, like, to get defensive toward me, I was just saying I thought it was a quite clear mistake. That was it. It wasn’t anything more than that.
Q. You’ve played him a lot. Has he ever been better at retrieving and playing defense?
ANDY MURRAY: No, he always moves great. But, you know, tonight there was probably five, six times when, you know, I got into good position. He stuck up a lob that landed right on the baseline. You know, so it’s difficult to smash because you don’t know whether it’s going in or not.
Then a couple of times, you know, we played I think at 5 4 in the first set we had another unbelievable point at 15 30. You know, he did some unbelievable retrieving in that point. You know, he came up I think to break me in the third set. You know, I had him going side to side. He hit one backhand passing shot down the line from way back in the court.
When he was on the run tonight, he hit the ball very, very well.
Q. You changed to Plan B against David Ferrer. Did you have any tactical changes that you would have liked to have made tonight?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I started trying to go for my shots more as the match went on. You know, at the beginning of the match, both of us, you’re sort of trying to feel each other out a little bit. As you work your way into the match, you start to find patterns and go for your shots more.
Started taking more chances. You know, managed to break serve a few times, but wasn’t able to keep it up for long enough.
Q. It took you a little over three months to recover last year, yet you seem to be saying you can handle it better now, not have the same effect.
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. Might do. But right now I feel better than I did last year. I’ll see what I do from here, you know. I don’t know, I might not play for a few months. I might feel like playing in a week’s time. It depends. See how I feel.
Q. Is the other way to switch it around to say, first major tournament of the season, another final?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I look at the tournament as a whole, it was excellent. I don’t think anyone would say that reaching a slam final is a bad achievement. It’s a very, very good achievement.
Obviously right now there’s disappointment because you just lost the match. But, you know, when you look back over the tournament, you know, there’s not many people that can say they’ve made slam finals.
So, you know, I’ll be very happy with the way the tournament went. But I would have obviously liked to have gone one step further.
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