In the 2011 final rematch Andy Murray came in second again this time just by a hair today losing in an epic 5-setter 6‑3, 3‑6, 6‑7, 6‑1, 7‑5 to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals.
Murray led the defending champion by two sets to one after winning an incredible third set breaker. But Djokovic, who has won the last two Grand Slams, rallied to take the third then fought off Murray in the fifth to win his 13th straight match at the Australian Open.
Murray had been a finalist the last two years suffered his first loss with new coach Ivan Lendl.
Here’s Murray’s complete presser following the 4 hour, 50 minute grueling match:
Q. I think most people were astonished you had it in you to come back from 52 in the fifth and have those chances. It was an unbelievable performance.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, it was obviously a very good match. Yeah, I mean, I had the chance at 5All, 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.
Again, 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.
Yeah, it was tough at the end ’cause, you know, obviously you come back, then you get close to breaking. To lose, yeah, it’s tough.
But a different player, a different attitude to this time last year. Yeah, I’m proud of the way I fought.
Q. Where does that match rate for fluctuations in emotion, drama? Must have been very hard to keep pace with it. Can you tell us what it was like.
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, I didn’t think he played that well at the start. I thought I was poor the first set. Then I started to play better and managed to turn around the second set playing better, and the third set, some of the points in the second and third set, they were brutal. They were so long.
I guess it was maybe normal there was a letdown in the fourth set. That was something that I would have liked to have done better, though. 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. You know, once you get 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 upanddown match. Both of us played well. He was just a little bit better.
Q. 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?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of things that go into it. You know, 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, yeah, I mean, 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 think through like three sets he only hit 14, 15 winners.
So, you know, I was moving well and dictating a lot of the points, which is important.
Q. You said that your new coaching arrangement is going to take a while. What kind of things will you be doing?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, 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. Something I’ll need to keep improving.
You know, I mean, you can always make every shot more consistent, and there’s one thing I need to do way better, because that’s how close I was this evening. It’s minor things.
I haven’t sat down and spoke to Ivan, you know, about what I’m going to work on next two or three months in the buildup to Indian Wells and Miami yet, but I’m sure we’ll have that conversation when the time is right.
Probably not tomorrow, but a week or so.
Q. How would you describe your feeling right now?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, disappointed obviously. You know, 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 ’cause you’ve let yourself down.
I don’t feel like I’ve let myself down today. Just a bit annoyed that I’ve already I know the players go on about it a lot, but they’ve changed these rules with the drug test. I’ve just done the drug test, the urine test.
They just told me I need to sit down for 30 minutes before I can give blood. I want to get out of here, so I’m annoyed with that, which on top of losing a match like that, it’s really a frustrating thing to have to go through at 1:00 in the morning.
Q. Did you think you had the match at any moment during the competition, that you were going to win this match?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah. If you don’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.
So, yeah, I fought well; I believed all the way through. Just about got it at 5All. Next time I’ll make sure I do.
Q. 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?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t think I necessarily went away the last couple of years with a negative attitude. You know, it was more, I don’t know, like it knocks your confidence a little bit. I wasn’t, like, really down on myself.
It’s just like once you get back on the court again, you know, you’re doubting yourself a little bit. I wasn’t beating myself up. It’s just like, Am I going to get there or not?
You know, 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.
Q. 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?
ANDY MURRAY: No. There was not really any really close, close balls. Yeah, I mean, 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.
Q. Nadal has an extra 24 hours’ preparation. What effect do you think that will have on the final Sunday night?
ANDY 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 mean, I’m sure both of us will be sore tomorrow.
I mean, I hope it’s a good match and he recovers ’cause he deserves to have a good final. That’s the thing, you know, unlike the US Open when you play the Saturday, Sunday finals.
I mean, I wouldn’t be fancying his chances if he had to play tomorrow, that’s for sure. But we’ll wait and see.
Q. When you’ve had time to reflect on tonight’s match particularly, do you think you will feel that you’re closer than ever to winning a Grand Slam title, better equipped to do that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think so. You know, tonight’s match was important for many reasons. Obviously I wanted to win first and foremost.
But, you know, also sort of after last year, the year that Novak’s had, I think there’s a very fine line between being No. 1 in the world and being 3 or 4. I think that gap, I feel tonight I closed it.
My job over the next two or three months is to surpass him and the guys in front of me. So take a lot of hard work, and hopefully I can do it.
Q. You and Ivan haven’t been together long, but has he had an impact during this slam already?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I enjoyed it. I feel like, you know, when you look up at someone like that in the stands it helps.
You know, obviously for me, I want to try and repay the sort of 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, you know, I haven’t spoke 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.
Q. Was there kind of one little nugget before the match tonight that he said or did?
ANDY MURRAY: He told me it was going to be painful. And, yeah, I mean, 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.
Tactically, I mean, 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. So many long points. He’s obviously a great mover. I move well, too, so it’s very difficult to penetrate our defense.
Q. What are your plans at this point for the next four weeks?
ANDY MURRAY: I’m going to go home. I’ve been away since December the 5th or 6th, close to two months now. Go home, 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, like a nervy [oops] thing in my back that ‘s not really gone away. I need to get that fixed. Hopefully I’ll do that sooner rather than later.
Then I need to decide on Davis Cup first, ’cause that’s the next thing that’s coming up. I’ve got a bit of time off after that.
Q. How well were you aware of his physical presence, especially in the fifth set? He was breathing heavy.
ANDY 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 just kind of got to put your foot down on the accelerator and not wait for him to miss because he’s hitting the ball so cleanly, as well.
If he is tired, which both of us will have been tired at different points during that match, you know, he’s hitting the ball so cleanly, he’s going for shots and making them, shortening the points.
I was ready for that. He was similar in the last match. But he moved fine.
Q. The external pressure on you playing in Australia compared to Wimbledon, what’s the difference for you?
ANDY MURRAY: To be honest, when you’re on the court it’s more of like a blur. You’re not thinking about anything else. I mean, 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.
I mean, it’s just that you’re not in the paper every day. Everyone’s more interested in Novak and 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. So I guess that helps a little bit.
Q. What was Ivan putting in your drink?
ANDY MURRAY: Ivan is not doing it. It’s my fitness trainer. It’s just an energy drink that I’ve been using for four years now.
Q. If you give yourself a score, how would you score your performance tonight out of 10? What would you give yourself?
ANDY 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, yeah, it was close to a really great match.
Q. It’s 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 of the match?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, that’s the thing. I actually felt okay towards the end. You know, I was tired. You have the huge adrenaline rush at the end of the third set. Then you have a bit of a letdown and things start aching and are sore.
Towards the end of the fifth set I was actually feeling okay 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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