Andy Murray tried for a second straight victory this season over Novak Djokovic, but the Scot fell short losing 6-1, 7-6 to the World No. 1 in the Sony Ericsson Open Miami final.
Murray, who beat Djokovic in Dubai last month, entered the final under unusual circumstances after receiving not one but two walkovers, from Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal.
Q. It’s been kind of an odd tournament all around, hasn’t it? You not playing as many matches as you thought you probably would. How did you feel going into the final today? Fully up for it and ready to go?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I felt up for it, no question about that. It could have taken me whenever, a couple of games to get used to sort of the pace of the rallies and stuff, but, yeah, I was up for it.
I mean, if you look at the start of the match, you know, the game where I got broken, I was up 40 Love in the game and had game points and then I had a break point point in the next game and then another long game after that.
You know, there was three or four long games there, all deuce games, that I had the chance to win and didn’t. That was the difference in the first set, and then the second set was much closer.
I didn’t return well today, which is normally one of the best parts of my game. That was the difference, in my opinion.
Q. Did you feel sluggish at all? At times it looked like you were a little bit sluggish. Perhaps it was just frustration.
ANDY MURRAY: Um, no, I didn’t feel sluggish. Like I was saying, maybe it take took a few games to get used to the pace, but after, you know, the first few games I mean, there was a lot of close games in the first set. He played better on the big points in the first set.
In the second set, it was a very close set. It was like an hour and 30 minutes, hour and 40 minutes for one set of tennis. I mean, if I was sluggish and I was only a couple of points away from winning the set, I’d say that’s a very good sign because playing against the best player in the world.
You know, if it appeared that way, then I didn’t feel like I was on the court.
Q. You said in Australia that you felt the gap was closing. Two months along, do you feel that’s still the sort of direction you’re headed?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I beat him once in Dubai comfortably and lost to him, which I thought you know, I’m sure he’ll say the same thing. Second set was incredibly close and could have gone either way, I think.
You know, after that who knows? But, yeah, I mean, I feel like I’m a lot closer than I was at this stage last year. At the end of the match I was able to dictate a lot more of the points, which I wasn’t doing early on in the match.
Yeah, if I had returned better today, which normally is the best part of my game, maybe it was because I didn’t play for a few days. I have no idea, but if I had returned a bit better, I think I would have been right in the match.
That’s the only thing that I’m surprised that I didn’t do well, because it’s normally the strongest part of my game.
Q. Is it hard for you that it seemed like in the longer rallies you easily held your own, perhaps won more of the longer rallies than he did.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think once I got myself into the rallies, it was, you know, it was good. It was a lot of long points, a lot of close games.
Once I got into longer rallies, I felt fine. It was a very hot day, tough conditions for both of us.
Um, yeah, I mean, it was not getting into enough of his service games because I missed too many returns. You know, if I was able to get into more longer rallies on his service games, then maybe it would have been a different result in the second set.
But because I missed a lot of returns, second serve returns, I didn’t return them that way well, that’s it. That’s the difference when you play against the top players.
Q. What makes him so good? Why is he so tough to beat?
ANDY MURRAY: Ah, well, he’s very I mean, he moves very well, hits the ball solid from both wings.
I mean, he doesn’t have many holes in his game. So therefore, when you play against him, it takes, you know, normally six, seven, eight shots, like 15 , 16 shot rallies to, you know, to win a lot of points.
You have to be very patient, pick your moments to go for the right shots. That’s why he’s been so good the last 18 months to a year.
He was exceptional before then, but he’s playing better tennis with more confidence and not making that many errors.
Q. Apart from the return, was there anything of your original game plan that you didn’t manage to execute?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, maybe early on in the match I made too many mistakes, beginning of the rallies. You need to extend the rallies against him, and I didn’t at the beginning of the match.
That’s the one thing I would have liked to have done better early on, but, you know, for whatever reason I didn’t do that.
Once I did, I had way more success in the second set and was, you know, very close to winning.
Q. In the second set, there were a couple occasions where you caught your toss and then you double faulted, which turned out to be the difference in the tiebreaker. Was there anything going on at that point?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s very sunny on the far end of the court when you walked on, so you have to adjust your ball toss often for that. Sometimes it’s coming in and out of the cloud. It’s difficult for everybody.
You know, Novak didn’t catch any ball tosses, but he hit a few serves way long or right in the base of the net, because it’s very tough to see when you’re basically it’s like you have a light bulb right in your face. It’s not easy to serve.
Q. Did that contribute at all to your double faulting, do you think?
ANDY MURRAY: Double faulting? I wouldn’t have thought that was I don’t think that made the difference in the match, no.
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