Andy Murray finally suffered his first loss at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. But it wasn’t easy for Novak Djokovic to put the Scot away. After winning titles the last two years, Murray fell today to the Serb 57, 76(11), 63 in 3 hours, 21 minutes.
Murray led Djokovic 75, 54, 30-0 at one point, and later held five match points in the pivotal second set tiebreak.
Murray talked about the match afterward, commenting on his chances for No. 1, dealing with tough losses and how close he came to winning today:
Q. It was one helluva match. Seemed to take a lot out of you.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. Matches like that tend to. There were a lot of long rallies, long points, long games. A very physical match.
Q. How do you comment on the organization of this tournament this year compared to last year? Do you think they improved this year?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, every time I’ve come here, it’s been very good, the facilities. I don’t think they’ve changed much, but they also didn’t need to. You have excellent food here. They have a lot of practice courts. They have a good gym on site. They’re very, very organized.
So that’s why it’s been one of the best tournaments on the tour the last few years. It doesn’t need to change much.
Q. Five match points came and went. How long is it going to take to get over that one?
ANDY MURRAY: Not long. You know, I maybe had one on my serve, I think. I mean, I said yesterday jokingly, but when you talk so much about serving matches out, going on and on about it, it’s bound to happen at some stage.
Yeah, it was a disappointing one to lose. I’ve lost tougher matches than that before in the biggest events. So I’m sure I’ll recover from it pretty well.
Q. And physically how are you holding up now? You seemed to be very stiff and sore, and that was a long match. Did you have any difficulties during the match?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was a long match. I’m sure he’ll feel the same. It was like 3 hours, 30 minutes. It’s not the first week of the year either. Also after the US Open, for me anyway, took a bit of time off and stuff.
You’re never going to be in 100% peak physical condition in terms of your endurance, so I struggled a bit towards the end.
Q. The match can go either way. Novak said on court he got lucky and you were the better player. Do you feel the same?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, the third set he played better than me. The first set, there were a lot of breaks. It was fairly even. The second set, I probably played a little bit better. But he came up, served very well on the match points. The one match point I had on my serve, he hit the forehand onto the edge of the line. I mean, on the game where I also served for the match, he also came up with some good shots.
It’s not like I threw the match away. I didn’t make I don’t think any real glaring errors or anything. When I had my chances, he just served very well and hit a couple of lines when he needed to.
Q. We’ve seen this year there’s not much between you and Novak. Is he for you the benchmark of where you need to get to to progress on?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I mean, on hard courts I think his game’s right up there. We played a few times on the hard courts this year. Most have been incredibly tight, very close matches. And, yeah, the one today, you know, like you say, could have gone either way.
I feel like my game’s there. If I had won one of whatever it was, one of five match points, I’d be sitting here in a slightly different mood. Obviously I would have liked to have turned that around.
But, yeah, he’s been at the top of the game now, likely to finish No. 1, that will be two years in a row. Of course, the No. 1 player in the world is what you want to get to.
Q. Some players can have a bit of a dip after the sort of summer you had, Olympics, US Open. I imagine you must feel pretty happy with semifinals in Tokyo and the final here?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I played pretty well for the most part. You know, the match against Stepanek wasn’t particularly good, but I played fairly well in Tokyo. Could have been a different story. I could have come away with two wins.
But, you know, last year I came away from Asia with three wins. I didn’t win a Grand Slam and the Olympics. Kind of a big year. Didn’t go necessarily as I would have liked. This year I would have signed up for the way I played here and having won the US Open.
Q. You obviously didn’t get the happy ending you were looking for in Shanghai. Is the emotion one of frustration for you getting so close?
ANDY MURRAY: No. To be honest, I don’t feel that frustrated right now. You know, maybe previously that would have been the case. There were obviously some moments in the match, I guess both of us showed a bit of frustration. We obviously wanted to win a lot.
But, I mean, I feel okay just now. I’m sure after a few days, you know, I’ll get over it. But, yeah, you’re disappointed to lose matches like that when you obviously had the chance to win them.
Q. You do sound incredibly philosophical about putting things into place very quickly. It’s still very fresh in your mind. Is that just purely because of having won a Grand Slam or is it because of the lady you’ve been talking to, or you’ve come to a realization?
ANDY MURRAY: Probably be a combination of a lot of things. I think also, yeah, I’m obviously disappointed I lost the match. But, yeah, I mean, it was a top quality match. Both of us played some unbelievable tennis at times.
Like I say, it was literally the difference of one, two centimeters in winning the match and losing it. You have to put things into perspective. It was obviously a bit frustrating, but it was so close and could have been a different outcome.
Yeah, probably having won the US Open may help a bit with that, being able to deal with it a little bit better. But it’s still obviously disappointing to lose.
Q. Have you heard that Roger Federer recently made a comment on you? He said you may be the future No. 1. What do you think of his comment? Do you still think you need to make some change for that goal?
ANDY MURRAY: I think I need to keep going about it like matches like tonight in the same way I have been the last eight, nine months really, being aggressive, going for my shots. Then, yeah, hopefully I’ll win more matches than I lose playing that way.
In terms of getting to No. 1, I’m going to say it all the time, it’s an incredibly hard thing to do and it’s not something right now I’m focusing on. I think mathematically this year it is impossible for me to finish No. 1, so I don’t need to answer that any more this year.
But, you know, it’s something I’ll try to achieve at some stage in my career, if I can.
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