Q & A With Andy Murray

Q.  How are you feeling?  How do you feel your preparations have been going?

ANDY MURRAY:  It’s been good.  I mean, it’s obviously been a little different, quite difficult because weather has not been great, and obviously with what’s gonna happen tomorrow.

So we had to make quite a few changes, a few adjustments, and I have practiced indoors a couple of times, and again tomorrow I’ve got an indoor court, too.

So it’s been tough.  Everyone’s kind of in a the same boat.  But it’s been good.  I have been hitting the ball well and done some good training this week.

 

Q.  Is it a bit difficult?

ANDY MURRAY:  Not really.  We’ve known about it for quite a while now.  It’s been five or six days everyone has been talking about it.

So just looking forward for it sort of passing now, because it’s been quite ‑‑ it’s not just like it just happened like overnight.  It’s taken quite a few days for us sort of waiting for it and kind of having to decide how we’re gonna practice, if we’re gonna try to get in sort of more practice early in the week outdoors or stick to kind of what the normal plan is and practicing hour and a half, two hours a day and maybe having to go indoors.  That’s been the only problem.

 

Q.  So are you planning on coming in here tomorrow?

ANDY MURRAY:  No.

 

Q.  Somewhere in Manhattan?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  I don’t even know where the court is, but it will obviously be somewhere near the hotel.

 

Q.  Is there any fear for you?  Have you taken any precautions?

ANDY MURRAY:  No.  The thing is, I think people are right to be pretty cautious about it, because, you know, like we don’t see weather like this from the UK.  It’s never, never this bad.  So I think just have to wait and see what it’s like, because I have no idea what to expect.

You know, we had to go and get stuff from the supermarket for the room in case ‑‑ well, loads of places are gonna be closed.  There’s a two‑and‑a‑half hour queue at the supermarket, so everyone’s taking it pretty seriously.

 

Q.  You cut down your schedule a bit coming into the US Open this year.  Do you think that’s helped prepare you physically for the next fortnight?

ANDY MURRAY:  Last year I decided last minute to play the tournament in LA which maybe hurt me a little bit once I got here.

But the years before that I tried to take a decent break after Wimbledon.  I felt like that was the best way to prepare for here.  So I think it was the right decision to give myself sort of three or four weeks off and train in Miami.

I feel pretty fresh just now, which is good.  Maybe the last couple years that wasn’t the case.

 

Q.  There is a lot of talk in the media these days about the greatest of all time.  You have three players now:  Federer and Nadal, maybe Djokovic coming up who may lay claim to that title.  Do the players ever talk about the GOAT, the greatest of all time?

ANDY MURRAY:  Haven’t spoken to other players about that.  I’ve spoken to people that I work with.  Not really to the other players.

 

Q.  When you talk to your colleagues, what do you say?

ANDY MURRAY:  Well, you can never say.  You don’t know, so there’s no right answer.  It’s just a discussion that the same in every sport.  People talk about, you know, who’s the best team and who’s the best boxer of all time, who’s the best heavyweight, you know.

And you never know.  You don’t know.  So right now I know that tennis, the level of tennis at the top of the game is very, very high.  You know, the year Djokovic has had this year, probably won’t see something like that for quite a long time, you know.  No matter what happens between now and the end of the year, the first six months, six seven months were incredible.

But, yeah, the level that Roger and Rafa set, you know, the previous years is being equally as impressive.

 

Q.  You’ve always talked about how you like the atmosphere in New York.  How does a kid from Dunblane sort of get into the vibe of a city like this?  It’s got to be different than where you came from.

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, the thing is, like obviously Dunblane there’s really not a whole lot going on there.  I started traveling when I was like 11 or 12.  I came over to the States first time and played the Orange Bowl in Miami when I was like 11.

I started doing quite a lot of traveling, and when I got to 15 I moved over to Barcelona, which is a pretty energetic city.  Then, yeah, came over here the first time when I was that age and I just really enjoyed it.

I’ve always liked busy places.  Like I have always enjoyed sort of having things to do.  There’s a lot really close by.  It doesn’t take long to kind of get anywhere.

And also the center court I think is just incredible atmosphere.  It’s so different to anything on the tennis calendar, and I really like playing here.

 

Q.  Does it not amaze you in this age of technology that when it rains, all they can do is bring out the squeegee mop and a few towels?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  I spoke about that the other day.  I was speaking to some of the guys about it when it started raining, and everyone comes up and it’s like, Oh, it’s typical.  It feels like we’re at Wimbledon.

It rains here every single year, so it’s like annoying.  And because I’m from the UK, everyone always says the same thing to me.  I was asking, I don’t understand why they don’t just have covers.  I heard that if they have covers, something to do with the paint on the court and the moisture and I don’t know, it’s not good for the court, the court can lose color or something.

So I think they should probably ‑‑ well, I’m sure they are thinking about doing something, but like most things, it takes a bit of time to push it through, I guess.

 

Q.  You have had obviously a couple of disappointing years here.  When you have time to reflect above and beyond sitting there immediately after the match, did you come to any kind of specific conclusions as to why a place that you enjoy so much, why you didn’t perform the last couple of years as well as you would have hoped?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  I mean, last year, you know, I felt like even from the start I didn’t feel all that fresh, which is something that, you know, this year I have made quite a big thing of getting ready for the slams and making sure that I’m at in my best physical condition going into them, because these are the tournaments I want to play my best tennis at.

And the year beforehand, you know, I was playing okay, but I also had relatively bad sort of tendinitis in my wrist.  I was struggling to hit my backhand, which is normally one of my strongest shots.

I tried playing Davis Cup, which I should never have played in.  I missed like nine weeks after that.  You know, didn’t go over to Asia and spent a lot of time sort of rehabbing it, trying to get it better.

That was something where I realized that I need to make sure that I prioritize events and make sure that physically I don’t have any niggles and twinges going in, because things always happen at the slams.

You’re going to get problems throughout the tournament and things that hurt with long matches especially on the hard courts, and I want to make sure like happened in the Australia the last couple of years, I have prepared very, very well.

 

Q.  John McEnroe says he thinks this is your best shot ever at winning a Grand Slam.  What do you think about that?

ANDY MURRAY:  No.  It’s a silly thing to say, because it’s not one tournament, you know.  It will be Federer is not playing well and Rafa is struggling and Djokovic’s shoulder is sore.

But I know come Monday they’ll all be fine.  I have a chance of winning for sure.  Whether it’s my best chance or not, no one has a clue like that.  And someone like John who has played hundreds and hundreds and thousands of matches probably knows that one bad day and you can put yourself out of the tournament.

And especially towards the latter stages when you’re playing against ‑ like the man there was saying ‑ you know, three of maybe the three greatest players ever.  You’re going to have to play an incredible event to win.

So I feel like I’m ready to do that.  But to say it’s my best chance, no one knows.

 

Q.  Cincinnati must have given you a lot of confidence.

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  No, it was great.  It was a really good tournament for me.  Montreal didn’t quite go as I would have liked, obviously.  Then I knew going into Cincinnati that I needed to get some matches and if I was gonna be in sort of good shape to play well here.

I didn’t start off play that great the beginning of Cincinnati, but each match I got just a little bit better and started feeling more comfortable.  I started moving better, and then come the end of the week I was playing some of my best tennis.

I have been hitting the ball well, but I still felt like there were some things I could have improved upon, which was really nice coming in this week, being able to work on some things and not feeling like I was almost recovering before the US Open.

I felt like this week I have been preparing for it and looking forward to it.

 

Q.  What are your thoughts on Devvarman?

ANDY MURRAY:  I know him a bit, and Danny knows him well because he played the same age in college and played a few times, played a few times against each other in college.  So Danny knows him well.

I have seen him play a few matches and he’s solid.  Kind of does everything pretty well.  Very good attitude, very positive.

So he’s gonna be solid.  He’s not going to give me anything, so I need to play well.

 

Q.  Rafa said just before that he has not been really surprised that Djokovic has jumped up on him and Roger.  But looking at it, you four have been up at the top of the board for the last three or four years now.  Are you surprised that Djokovic did make that leap from 3 to 1 a bit?

ANDY MURRAY:  I think it’s not been that he’s got to No. 1, it’s kind of maybe how he’s done it.  The consistency is something that, you know ‑‑ well, he probably wouldn’t even have expected it, I am sure.  He’s won something like 10 tournaments this year maybe.

You know, a lot of matches he wasn’t even struggling.  He was winning matches very comfortably.  He’s always been capable of doing that, I guess, but I think this year his consistency has been incredible.  But I think he’s always been right up at the top of the game for the last four or five years.

Rafa, before he got to No. 1 he spent maybe four years at No. 2.  Obviously, you know, Djokovic spent, you know, four or five years at number sort of 2 and 3 and now he’s made the jump.  But it is taking a bit longer for guys sort of to break into that sort of 1 or 2 bracket, I guess, because the guys, Rafa or Roger have been taking those two spots up, and they’ve been, like I said earlier, so consistent and doing stuff that the game probably won’t see for a long time.

 

Q.  How did Djokovic wrest that away from Rafa?  He beat him five or six times this year in finals.

ANDY MURRAY:  It was just confidence.  His game hasn’t changed much.  His technique is the same.  I think physically he looks better than he did like in the warm conditions.  Like in Miami where, you know, he struggled in the past.  I think he’s looking better physically.

Even here last year in the first round when it was really hot and humid, he was struggling, and I think that’s something that he’s got better at dealing with.  So that’s helped.  And also, yeah, I don’t know.  Best person to ask is probably him, because he knows how he’s feeling and how he’s managed to get that consistency.

 

Q.  Are you still gluten free?

ANDY MURRAY:  It’s not gluten free as such.  I wasn’t ‑‑ there are certain things I can and can’t eat.  It’s something like gliadin or something.  I don’t even know exactly how to explain it.

 

Q.  What have you cut out, then?

ANDY MURRAY:  Cow’s milk.  I’m drinking more soy milk with cereals and stuff.  Like a lot of the protein bars and stuff and protein shakes I used to take sort of after matches and after practices and stuff, like I have had to cut them out.

I never really used to have much fish unless I was having sushi, so I’m having a lot more fish and vegetables and just trying to have like just a more balanced diet rather than just the typical sort of like pasta before matches and steaks and chicken.  Having a lot sort of more different types of food.

 

Q.  Have you had to give the elbow to anything you really like?

ANDY MURRAY:  The problem is breakfast is quite difficult, because normally I could have like bagels, bagels at breakfast and stuff and like spreads, any spreads like peanut butter or cream cheese or any of that stuff.  Breakfast is quite difficult.

And then like snacks during the day.  Rather than having a chocolate bar or something, you know, having like an apple or a banana or something, just fruit.  It’s something that, you know, now like I know how I feel, I wish I had been doing it longer.

 

Q.  So you do feel a lot better for it?

ANDY MURRAY:  Way better.  I wake up at like 7:00 in the morning now and feel great.  Before I would wake up at like 9:30 and feel terrible.  You know, I probably feel like you do when you wake up every morning.  You know, stiff and sore and tired, and now I wake up and I just feel much fresher and feel good.

 

Q.  But it’s not gluten free even though you cut out the breads and the pasta?

ANDY MURRAY:  I’m not intolerant to gluten.

 

Q.  You’re not intolerant, but have you cut it out or tried to cut it down?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but the reason I’m not having gluten is because the stuff that gluten is in, the other thing that I’m intolerant to is also in it, so that’s why I’m not having those things.

Just stuff like corns.  That’s also quite annoying, because that’s in like a lot of snacks that you don’t realize.  Like when you look at the back of the packet, it’s in loads of snacks and things.  So just have to be a bit careful.

Like I retest after the US Open, and then you get like your results back again because it changes.  Like when you cut stuff out, hopefully it’s gonna come on the green list again.  So maybe after the US Open I can start reintroducing those foods back into my diet.

Murray Gets Ousted By Wawrinka

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Andy Murray threw the most revealing punch, but Stanislas Wawrinka delivered the resounding knockout. Whipping his one-handed backhand with authority, playing with aggression and pumping his first with a fury, the 25th-seed Swiss sent Murray out of the US Open with a 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3 third-round knockout.

“I think all my game was pretty good. One of my best matches, for sure,” Wawrinka said. “I was very aggressive. I was doing everything really good so I’m very happy.”

The fourth-seeded Scot is the highest-seeded man to fall from the draw, exiting a day after the fourth-ranked woman, Jelena Jankovic, lost to Kaia Kanepi on Arthur Ashe Stadium Court.

“I’m very disappointed, obviously,” Murray said. “But I think I’ve been more disappointed in other Grand Slams when you get closer to winning the tournament, I think it becomes a lot harder to take. I’m very disappointed, that’s it.”

It marked the second straight early exit from the Open for Murray, who fell to Roger Federer in the 2008 US Open final, but suffered a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 upset loss to Marin Cilic in the round of 16 last year. Murray took treatment for tightness in his quad and elbow pain, but said injuries did not play a part in his demise.

“He played better than me. There’s not a whole lot more to it,” Murray said. “He had a chance to win the first set; didn’t take it. I had a chance to win the second set; didn’t take it. I just struggled from then on.”

It is a deeply disappointing loss for Murray, who swept  Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in succession to capture the Rogers Cup in Toronto and went on to win the US Open Series. Murray split with coach Miles MacLagan in July and has been working with coaching consultant Alex Corretja at the Open. Murray said this loss will not expedite his coaching search.

“No, no. You got to be patient. I was getting asked five, six days ago, ‘You’re playing great tennis will you think about going without a coach?’ ” Murray said. “It’s based on one match. I’m not going to panic and hire someone to try to make things better. So no. I’m going to take my time. I’m going to go home, have a rest, cause I need it, and see what I decide to do after that.”

Murray’s loss may well be Sam Querrey’s gain.

The 20th-seeded Querrey crushed Nicolas Almagro, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, and will now play Wawrinka in what will likely be a night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium Court with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.

“That will be a tough one. Stan is one of the guys that hits the balls so big from both sides,” Querrey said. “If he gets hot, he can beat anyone.  He can hit the ball so well and so clean.  That would be someone you need to get him out of his comfort zone and mix it up and, you know, serve big and maybe attack his second serve and maybe catch him off guard a little bit.”

In their line prior meeting, Wawrinka edged Querrey, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(8), at Indian Wells last year.

“That was a crazy match again, but he’s a very good player,” Wawrinka said of Querrey. “I think he improved a lot over the last two years. He’s a strong player. Big serve. It is never easy to play him. If I can keep the same level the serve for sure will be important for him and to stay aggressive because he doesn’t like to play on the defense and to be under pressure.”

It’s an interesting match-up in that Querrey is at his best running around his backhand and firing his inside-out forehand, but given the fact Wawrinka’s one-handed backhand is his best shot, Querrey will likely drag his forehand down the line at times. Both men can crack their serves so it could well be a match of first-strike tennis.

The last time Wawrinka met Murray at the Open he played meekly and got mauled, managing just seven games in the 2008 round of 16. Working with coach Peter Lundgren, who coached both Roger Federer and Marat Safin to Grand Slam titles, Wawrinka has tried to take the first strike in rallies more often.

“We start a month ago. We enjoy to work together,” Wawrinka said of Lundgren. “He helped me a little bit to be more aggressive and that helped me a lot today.”

Today’s rematch was played primarily on even terms until the third set when Wawrinka began to turn his shoulders into his shots, step into the court more and drive the ball with crushing conviction.

Wawrinka served bigger and bolder over the course of the final two sets. One of Murray’s primary problems is his first serve percentage often lets him down. Murray served 50 percent for the match, but only 36 percent in the third set and 38 percent in the fourth set. Murray, who favors a slice serve that often flirts with the top of the tape, is either unable or unwilling to try to take a bit off the first serve and increase his percentage.

He gave Wawrinka too many looks at his second serve and paid the price, winning just 15 of 42 points played on his second serve over the course of the final two sets. Murray is a usually an adept problem-solver on court, but by the latter stages of today’s match he wore the vacant expression of a man who had run out of ideas.

“I still feel like I’m super fit. I just didn’t feel great,” Murray said. “There were a lot of things that I was feeling on court. I just haven’t felt that way for a few years now. So I’m going to have to go look at why that was the case and try to get better.”

Neutralizing Murray’s speed by cracking balls down the line, Wawrinka began pounding away at the counter-puncher.

That’s when a singles match grew crowded as Murray began fighting both Wawrinka and himself. At one point, a frustrated Murray punched his racquet face as if trying to slug some sense in his stings.

“I was disappointed that I was struggling physically,” Murray said. “I tried to find a way to come back. Didn’t quite do it. I was disappointed that I’ve not really been in that position for a long tome….In the third and fourth sets, I was struggling physically and I got frustrated with that…Maybe I felt my chance of doing well here was slipping away.”

As Murray tried to explain the loss in his post-match press conference, he glanced up at the flat screen television mounted on the wall to his right and noticed the USTA’s video feed of himself in the press conference.

It was as if Murray was looking over his own shoulder and when he was asked if the defeat plants any seeds of doubt in his mind that he will eventually master a major, Murray spoke like a wounded man wary of looking too far ahead.

“I have no idea of whether I’ll win a Grand Slam or not,” Murray said. “I want to, but I mean if I never win one, then what? If I give a hundred percent, try my best, physically work as hard as I can, practice as much as I can, than that’s all I can do, you know. It’s something I would love to do. It’s a very difficult thing, but I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll win a Grand Slam or not. But I’ll give it my best shot.”

Wawrinka may well be best known by many fans as the man who partnered Roger Federer to the Olympic doubles gold medal in Beijing two years ago and celebrated with an embrace on the court. Wawrinka and Federer are good friends and for one day Wawrinka stood alone as a bigger story than even the five-time US Open champion.

“I hope I can still be in the tournament after the next match,” Wawrinka said. “I know it’s gonna be a tough match.

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.