Andy Murray: I Don’t Think Many People Are Expecting Me To Win On Sunday Against Novak
by Tom Gainey | January 29th, 2016, 9:30 am

Andy Murray survived the big serving of Milos Raonic to advance to his fifth Australian Open final Friday night. The World No. 2, though, was down two sets to one before rallying to take the fourth and the fifth over an injured Raonic 46, 75, 67(4), 64, 62.

With the lead and his serve clicking, Raonic injured his adductor early in the fourth set. After receiving treatment, he wasn’t the same as the fitter Murray ran away with the match to complete his best comeback ever at the Australian Open, and win his fifth semifinal.

Murray enters his ninth career Grand Slam final with a 9-21 mark against Novak Djokovic. He lost to Djokovic last year for a fourth time in Australia, and overall Murray’s just 2-6 in Grand Slam finals.

Murray talked about the match and about having to face his friend Djokovic:

Q. Very solid match. You only lost the first serve and never any more. Was that something important?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, for sure. When you play against someone who, you know, is tough to break like Milos, you need to protect your own serve to put pressure on them.

I think at the end of the fourth set I did very well. I won some of the breakpoints I faced. I came up with some good second serves. You know, changed the position of the second serves on a few points. Served close to the lines. That was big.

But, yeah, against anyone, is one of the most important shots, if not the most important, especially tonight.

Q. I know it is what it is, but Novak has had an extra 24 hours to get ready for the final rather than you. Do you think that should be changed or is it something you’ll just put up with?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it’s worked both ways for me. I played five finals. Definitely not every time it’s been me playing on the Friday. I think a couple of times I played the Thursday match.

I mean, I think obviously, you know, if you play a quick match on the Friday, it doesn’t really make a huge difference. Obviously you play the five sets it isn’t ideal, but Novak also won here the time we played five hours and then played a six-hour final.

So it’s doable.

Q. Were you surprised at all at the start of the match at Raonic’s level of play?
ANDY MURRAY: Not really. I’d seen him play a lot since I arrived in Australia. I saw his final in Brisbane. I even saw a little bit of his matches in the tournament in Abu Dhabi, and then obviously a little bit of his matches here. So I knew he was playing well.

You know, it’s tricky sometimes. I finished my match the other day indoors, we warm up for the match today indoors, and then it’s only literally 10 minutes before you go out on court you’re told that the roof’s going to be open. It’s a bit different.

He came out hitting the ball very clean at the beginning; I didn’t. He adjusted to that quicker than me. That was it.

Q. What was the information you were given about the timeline of whether the roof would be open or not?
ANDY MURRAY: We were just told, like as we were both warming up in the hallway before the match, that they were expecting rain, but they were going to start the match with the roof open.

If there was rain in the area, they would start to close the roof a bit like they did when I played against Ferrer I think to avoid any, you know, big delays during the match. If the court gets wet, obviously it takes time to dry.

But if they can close the roof before that happens, then it’s a bit quicker. It’s just seven or eight minutes really because they had the roof quite, you know, almost half closed for the whole match.

Yeah, that was what we were told just before we went on.

Q. Milos said he was heartbroken by the way it ended. Do you feel for a guy going out like that?
ANDY MURRAY: In which way?

Q. I mean, he was leading. He has a big opportunity for a young kid like him coming through. You were obviously the winner and you must feel elated. Do you also feel that he lost the opportunity to battle in the way he might have?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I guess as the opponent, you have to just try and play what’s on your side of the net. That’s something I’ve learned over the years of playing. When I’m playing a match, I’m not thinking about what he was going through.

I’m just trying to, you know, use kind of what he’s giving me on the court and try to make adjustments to my game if needs be. You know, obviously if the injury affected him significantly at the end, then that’s tough, especially at this stage of an event.

As the player, it’s obviously very tough when that happens. I’ve been in that position myself many times before, as well. It’s not easy.

Q. How much have you seen of Novak’s matches here, in particular his semifinal and what you made of his performance then?
ANDY MURRAY: I saw quite a bit of his match with Simon, and I saw the first two sets of the match last night. Obviously he played extremely well yesterday from the tennis that I saw. Played very well. Came out hitting the ball extremely clean from the beginning and put Roger under pressure immediately at the beginning of the match. Played extremely well there.

Obviously the match with Simon was a bit different. Didn’t play so well. But it was a completely different matchup: different game styles; different stage of the tournament, as well. Even though he didn’t play so well in that match against Simon, still managed to find a way to get through.

He’s definitely played better the last couple matches.

Q. You’ve talked a lot in the past about mental strength as well as physical strength in situations. After the battling that your body takes over a fortnight and all the distractions you’ve had, when you’re down two sets, where do you get the strength come from to get yourself back to the level you got to?
ANDY MURRAY: You just try and use different things when you’re on the court. Obviously losing that third set was tough. He played a good tiebreak. He didn’t miss a first serve in the breaker, I don’t think. That was tough.

I mean, I was starting to hit the ball better in the third set. I was hitting the ball cleaner from the back of the court. I wasn’t allowing him to dictate as many of the points as I was at the beginning.

Yeah, just tried to keep going, keep making as many returns as possible, and continue to make it difficult for him. Eventually I was able to engage in more baseline rallies and dictate more of those points, which made him do more of the running.

Obviously if his injury was restricting him, you know, I wanted to keep the rallies like that. I wanted to be the one dictating. That was it. I wasn’t thinking about too much on the court, to be honest.

You just try to concentrate on what you’re going to do on the next point and not think too much about the past.

Q. Is there anything you’ve learnt from the last couple matches against Novak that gives you confidence you could get the edge on Sunday?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, we’ve played obviously a lot in the last couple of years. Last year here is a good match for me to look at because the tennis, in my opinion, wasn’t miles apart. It was a very close match for three sets.

Same thing in Miami when we played there. A couple sets were very tight.

French Open was close, as well.

Obviously managed to get the win in Canada in another very close match.

Yeah, the most important thing for me is to sustain my level for long enough, not just for one set here or there, a few games here or there. I need to do it, you know, for a very long period if I want to get the win. That’s my challenge on Sunday.

Q. How proud are you that you and Jamie are the first brothers to reach the finals in the same slam? What will you do for his match tomorrow night?
ANDY MURRAY: I haven’t watched any of his matches here. I try not to watch. I find it pretty stressful to watch, so I won’t watch the match.

But, yeah, I mean, for it to be the first time to happen is, yeah, incredible really. I never would have expected that. I mean, even at the beginning of last year Jamie had only maybe made one quarter of a slam before Wimbledon.

Now that he’s made three in a row, he’s playing great tennis and is moving right up to the top of the rankings. So very proud of him.

Yeah, obviously something that’s going to be extremely rare. You’re not going to see it very often. We should enjoy it and be proud of it because it’s a tough thing to do.

Q. How will you find out the score?
ANDY MURRAY: Just check online.

Q. On a similar theme, over the next three days, you have three Scots in four Melbourne finals. Yourself, Jamie, and Gordon Reid. That’s got to be something.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it is. I spoke about it the other day, as well. Gordon has obviously had some big wins here. 9-7 in the third. I saw him in the locker room today before my match. He was 5-4 in his doubles when the rain came.

Yeah, like I said the other day, it’s amazing that we’ve all done well at this tournament. Since then, in the last couple of days, we’ve continued winning. Hopefully we can keep it up over the weekend.

Q. Knowing you’ve had four previous disappointments in the finals here, do you look at the past in a positive light? What do you tell yourself to not feel the disappointment and tell yourselves you can do something different?
ANDY MURRAY: Five finals is a great achievement. You can’t take that away from me. I should be happy about that. There’s very few players that will have made five Australian Open finals, so I have to be proud of that achievement.

Obviously when you get to the final you’re disappointed if you don’t win. But, I mean, I’ve obviously played very good tennis here. I’ve given myself many opportunities to reach the finals. Seven straight quarterfinals, as well.

I have a very good shot on Sunday if I play my best tennis, like I said. I need to do it for long enough to have a chance. I’m aware of that. I don’t think many people are expecting me to win on Sunday. I have to just believe in myself, have a solid game plan, and hopefully execute it and play well.

But, you know, the previous disappointments, it’s one tennis match. Doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past really. It’s about what happens on Sunday. People like to read into what’s happened in the past, but Stan beat Rafa in the final here. I don’t know, I don’t think he’d ever won against him in like 13 attempts. When he beat Novak here, the same thing, as well.

There’s no reason it’s not possible for me to win.

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19 Comments for Andy Murray: I Don’t Think Many People Are Expecting Me To Win On Sunday Against Novak

skeezer Says:

“I Don’t Think Many People Are Expecting Me To Win On Sunday Against Novak”
Truth. Just don’t serve any scond serves.

Ben Pronin Says:

Murray is supposed to be one of the smartest players on tour. I wonder if he’ll be smart enough to attempt Simon’s tactics.

Margot Says:

Lol. Andy channelling his inner MMT. :)
Skeeze, second serve improving….stop sniggering at the back….

RZ Says:

@Ben – he should just keep lobbing Djokovic. If nothing else, all of the Djokovic overheads might give him a chance.

skeezer Says:

Thought that Simon match was very interesting. I thought hitting it back into the middle of the court would be just feeding the ball to Novak, but it is a strategy that paid off somewhat as Novak could not create angles as well as he usually does. Also noticed that Fed got back into his match by first holding serve….by hitting serving more AT Novak. This created some doubt as to where Novak anticipated a return and opened things up a it. Novak excels in returns off both corners of the service box and looks for it against Fed.
This brings me back to Feds stubborn game plans whereas he just goes out on the court thinking of no game plan(so it seems). He just fires away and feels his way through most of the times basically saying my game as it stands will win most of the time. Ugh!
The way to stop a great returner is to aim at em, that gets them guessing.

skeezer Says:

“stop sniggering at the back….”
Yer not from around these parts are ya?

Margot Says:

Didn’t just mean you Skeeze, tho it came out like that.
Meant the whole class.

MMT Says:

I don’t think he believes he can be Djokovic, Margot.


Giles Says:

Soooo, it has come to light that the faker sits in the EGG and watches films.

RZ Says:

Not expecting but I am hoping.

kriket Says:

Why is “obviously” the most used crutch word by tennis players? I mean each and every one of them says “obviously” in every other sentence, sometimes twice in one sentence. Do they learn how to speak from eachother or what?

calmdownplease Says:

He just fires away and feels his way through most of the times basically saying my game as it stands will win most of the time. Ugh!’

Well, quite
A rather astute observation Skeezer, particularly for a Fed fan.
Roger is a dancer on court he has his rhythms and sequences.
He doesn’t usually have to bother with changing and being the most successful player ever one can’t really blame him.
Andy likes to think strategically, sometimes to0 much but he can adapt at least.

chrisford1 Says:

Kriket – on other things we disagree but on “obviously” you are dead on. It is OBVIOUSLY a word used too much by ATP pros, even the eloquent Novak Djokovic. And if Rafa could say it well, he would be using “obviously” in every other sentence, too.

I propose a shift. Tell Rafa his English has deteriorated a bit in the last few years and he needs to learn how to say obviously and pepper his talk with it.
And I propose that Djokovic, et al., learn to say “No?” in place of “obviously”.

Q- SO NOvak, why do you hit volleys right back at people still
Djoko – “Well, I am still learning net play, no?” You know I know that I should not, no?”

Q – SO Milos, the racket smash after many matches?
Raonic – “You can understand my frustration, no? Until the adductor injury, I was cruising, no? And of course any athlete would share my level of disappointment and frustration, no?, if it happened to them.”

chrisford1 Says:

RZ Says:
@Ben – “He should just keep lobbing Djokovic. If nothing else, all of the Djokovic overheads might give him a chance.”
Give Novak too many overheads and he will finally figure out how to hit them well. He has made progress in weeding out the :Djokosmashes: that landed at his feet on his side of the court. Soon he will figure out you don’t hit them “half hard” and right at your foe.
Like he did on that amazing 4th set point Roger won. He couldn’t put away a smash he hit from inside the service box. Then he compounded that screwup with a block volley he hit right at Fed with his forehand side open to pass. (Negating a spectacular ROS and getting a perfect lob from a drop shot he shouldn’t have been able to get to.)

J-Kath Says:

Andy gets some tough questions:

Q: “Milos said he was heartbroken by the way it ended. Do you feel for a guy going out like that?”

Andy: “In which way?”

Q: “I mean, he was leading, etc. etc.

Andy: “…….you have to just try and play what’s on your side of the net.”

Thank you Tom Gainey for your provocative questions.

Martin rivkin Says:

On tour Murray has to be 2nd best retuner of serve behind Novak , Novak’s serve has improved so much with Becker getting him to crank up the power and placements on 2nd serve if Murray can’t break Novak’s serve on Sunday then no one will. Both Novak’s and murrays style is so similarly based on same shots but Novak tips valence with better serve and fore hand and backhand which don’t falter & wear down in rallies later in matches like murrays. To win and not be replay of so many finals losses against Novak in Aussie land surly game plan of shorter points , attacking short balls and mixing in slow balls to change pace at surprise moments giving Novak no rhythem only way as once settled novask ius unstoppable he needs to be thrtown off his stride and muddled and unsure what’s coming next

Ben Pronin Says:

All this advice to Murray is starting to sound like the advice fans used to give Federer on how to beat Nadal: play in cool and damp conditions and use the slice to keep the ball low and dictate with the forehand taking your chances but don’t overplay and make sure to come into net and be aggressive but don’t rush in on bad approaches and hit over your backhand avoiding slices and hope that it’s a sunny day when the ball moves fast and serve.

Murray can’t do everything at once.

the DA Says:

Hey, Andy’s detractors always call Simon the poor man’s version of Muzz. It stands to reason then that Andy is not only capable of employing Simon’s tactics but executing them even better. We’ve seen limited success with that strategy before. However, in that direction lies a fugly match -UFE city.

In my unprofessional opinion, he needs to re-watch the 2012 SF In that match he utilized his usual rhythm-disrupting mix of spins and slices with sudden aggression and net rushing. His big mistake was taking the foot off the pedal in the 4th. He had a BP to go up 6-5 in the 5th. He used similar patterns in Montreal last year too.

For those who advocate aggression: in the 2014 USO QF Andy tried straightforward all out aggression – remember all those ballistic FHs which shocked everyone? He ended up with 47 winners to Novak’s 46 but also 65 UFEs & lost. And we know Nole eats aggressive baseliners for breakfast. So that strategy won’t cut it either.

Lastly, without 1st serves in the 65 – 70% range there will be excruciating deuce games everywhere. Oh and depth on every stroke…… and millimeter perfect BHDTLs. In short, it ain’t easy (understatement)! :o

chrisford1 Says:

DA – “Hey, Andy’s detractors always call Simon the poor man’s version of Muzz.”

Nah, they just leave it at Muzz is the poor man’s version of Djokovic!
Just kidding, but seriously, another Murray is in a Gland Slam final. Brother Jamie hasn’t won one yet, but he is now in his 3rd straight Grand Slam final with Bruno Soares. Opposing will be Nestor and the Worm (Stefan Radek).

And on doubles, hope TX runs a sidepiece to note Martina Hingis’s 6TH SLAM TROPHY since early 2015 for mixed and mid-2015 Wimbledon won with her and Sania Mirza. 3 womans doubles, 3 mixed doubles with Leander Paes.
And a woman’s WTA doubles Championship.
Her first Slam win in womans doubles was 13 years after her last, mixed doubles wins had 9 years span between her win at last years AO and previous mixed doubles Slam titles.

Top story: Keys Locks Out Cibulkova, Kerber Gets Low on Halep Tuesday at WTA Finals