Maybe Andy Murray and the Australian Open are just never meant to be. Earlier this morning for the third time Murray was denied the Australian Open title losing to rival and top seed Novak Djokovic 67, 76, 63, 62 in 3-hours, 40-minutes.
Murray had beaten Djokovic in the US Open final, but after a five set win Friday over Roger Federer, Djokovic was the better player in the end. Murray couldn’t convert on break chances in the second set then a feather drifted just as he served early in that set’s breaker. Murray’s paused to collect the feather then proceeded to miss his second giving Djokovic the mini-break.
He was also unable to break the Serb in four tries.
Murray though has many positives to take from his recent play. His been a finalist at the last three Slams and he won the Olympics. He also finally beat Federer.
Murray is now just 1-5 career in Grand Slam final matches.
Here’s what Murray said to the press afterward.
Q. Did you feel if you were going to win it, you were going to have to win it quicker than you won the US Open given the physical demands of your semifinal?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, you never know. I think it was extremely the third set was very competitive. You know, a lot of the games that I lost in the fourth set as well were pretty tight games.
I was getting like quite a few Love 15s, 15 30s, Love 30s, and, yeah, I couldn’t quite capitalize on my chances on his serve. That was a disappointing part.
But, I mean, obviously when you go two sets to one down, you know you really need to get off to a good start the beginning of the fourth set because, you know, most of the guys at the top of the game, when they get a lead and momentum, it’s tough to stop them.
You know, like in the second set with me, I played a good second set. I created quite a few chances; didn’t quite get them.
But that was the difference.
Q. Could you tell us what happened to your toe and if it restricted you in any way?
ANDY MURRAY: It’s just a pretty large blister which, I mean, you get them. I mean, the US Open final I had two black toenails. I mean, it happens. It happens often, especially when you’re doing that much running.
Q. Had it been an issue throughout the tournament or just today?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, today. But, I mean, when you’re playing the points like we were there, the positions you’re sort of getting yourself into on the court, you expect those sort of things.
Q. How did you pull up after the Federer match?
ANDY MURRAY: I was okay. I mean, I was stiff. It was a four hour match. You don’t wake up the next day and feel perfect obviously. You know, especially when it’s one of the first tournaments of the year, too.
You know, it’s the longest match I played in six months probably. So, yeah, you’re gonna feel a bit stiff and sore. I obviously felt a bit better today than yesterday. Yeah, I mean, I did all the right recovery stuff, ate well.
Yeah, it obviously wasn’t an issue, you know, today. I mean, I started the match well. I thought I moved pretty good throughout.
Q. Why do you think it took you both so long to get a break in this match? It took over 30 games.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, that’s the thing that was surprising. You know, I think the first two sets I had more of the chances in games on his serve. I think I had Love 40 the beginning of the second set.
Then obviously the third and fourth set, I think he broke at 4 3, got up Love 40, I saved a couple of them, and then he managed to break.
Yeah, that was obviously one of the differences. He just returned a little bit better. But it was surprising that there was so few breaks the first three sets.
Q. Was it a matter of serving better than usual or not returning as well as usual?
ANDY MURRAY: I think it’s not the easiest court to return. It was playing fairly quick this year. Could be a combination of a lot of things. I don’t know exactly why that would be.
Q. Did the blisters restrict you?
ANDY MURRAY: No. It’s just a bit sore when you’re running around. You know, it’s not like pulling a calf muscle or something. It just hurts when you run.
But, yeah, it’s not something that stops you from playing. You saw one of the guys at the beginning of the tournament, the guy Tomic played, I don’t know if he burnt himself, but there’s certain things that hurt when you run or hit the ball, especially blisters, but it’s not something that stops you from playing or stops you from running for balls.
Q. When you talked to the umpire, were you suggesting people that were shouting out maybe be taken out of the court?
ANDY MURRAY: No, no. I didn’t suggest that at all. I just said it’s important, rather than wait till it gets to an extremely important point, to try and make sure you’re a bit more vocal, you know, rather than waiting until it’s 5 3, 40 Love for Novak in the third set.
That was all I said to him.
Q. Did you have a problem with your left hamstring?
ANDY MURRAY: No. When I played Roger, I kind of he had kind of like a low slice serve. I missed that and it kind of tightened up a little bit. It feels fine just now.
It’s just, yeah, a bit sore when you’re running around. But that’s what happens with fatigue. You get sore; you get tired. You know, you don’t feel perfect when you step on the court every single time.
When you play the rallies like we did tonight, you know, along with the match with Roger, that’s what happens. It’s part and parcel of playing these big events against the best players in the world.
With how physical the game is just now, that’s just part of it.
Q. Would it be fair to say you were more upbeat after this than after your other losses here?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, there’s going to be some obvious reasons for me feeling a little bit better. I mean, the last few months have been the best tennis of my life. I mean, I made Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the US Open. You know, I was close here as well. It was close.
So, you know, I know no one’s ever won a slam, the immediate one after winning their first one. It’s not the easiest thing to do. And I got extremely close.
So, you know, I have to try and look at the positives of the last few months, and I think I’m going the right direction. This is the first time I’ve beaten Roger in a slam over five sets. I think I dealt with the situations and the ebbs and flows in that match well.
I felt much more comfortable on the court today than even I did at the US Open, so that has to be a positive.
Q. Have you had a chance to have a chat with Ivan? And what has he said to you if you have?
ANDY MURRAY: He said, Bad luck. That’s it. There’s no point going into huge detail about the match two minutes afterwards. We’ll go away and spend a bit of time apart.
When I go to start training over in the States, we’ll discuss not just this match but the start to the year and the things I need to improve on if I want to keep getting better.
Q. The way you and Novak play defense, is being a great offensive player sort of a losing proposition at this point? Roger in some ways is a relic.
ANDY MURRAY: No. I mean, I think the thing is I don’t know if it’s because of the racquets or whatever, but I’ve been using pretty much the same racquet for 10, 11 years now.
You know, but, yeah, I don’t know. Guys have had to adapt the way they play because of the conditions, the balls, the courts slowing down.
But if you look at maybe not right at the top of the game, but guys like Isner and Raonic, you definitely need a massive weapon that can sort of take away the defensive play, you know, that you just can’t get your racquet on balls.
You’ll probably see more and more of that. The players certainly seem to be getting taller every year. There’s obviously Isner, Raonic, Janowicz, he’s a big guy. That seems to be the way the game’s changing a little bit.
But I’m obviously not going to grow, so I hope it doesn’t change too much the next few years.
Q. You said you felt more comfortable tonight than you did on court at the US Open. In what respect?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I said before the US Open match I was unbelievably nervous beforehand and was doubting, you know, myself a lot.
I didn’t go on the court today having those doubts. I went on the court and felt pretty calm from the beginning of the match.
I was obviously still nervous, but I think I just felt I don’t know more at home in a match like that on a court like that when you’re playing, you know, for a Grand Slam title.
I mean, the first few times I played for a Grand Slam, US Open and here, you know, I definitely struggled with it. Now I feel more comfortable.
Q. Given the long time difference between your semifinal and Novak’s, do you think in the future the tournament should look at having semifinals on the same day?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, that’s something for the tournament to look at. Obviously, the US Open have made some adjustments with their scheduling, you know, to try and make it easier for the players to recover.
But I’m sure, like I said on the court, Craig knows exactly what he’s doing, and they’ll make the right decisions in that respect.
Q. The feather that drifted into the court, did that distract you?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I could have served. It just caught my eye before I served. I thought it was a good idea to move it.
Maybe it wasn’t because I obviously double faulted. No, you know, at this level it can come down to just a few points here or there. My probably biggest chance was at the beginning of the second set; didn’t quite get it.
When Novak had his chance at the end of the third, he got his.
Q. Just to be clear, the blister only occurred in this match? It wasn’t a remnant from the Federer match or earlier matches?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I had no taping on my foot during Roger’s match, and then obviously I had to have it done today. I very rarely get blisters.
But, I mean, 90% of the players on the tour will have played this tournament with some sort of blister or problem, you know. It had no bearing at all on the result. It just hurts a little bit when you run.
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