Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. First three games, you were expecting a long match?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, often the start of the match is key, you know, especially the way that that one got going. You know, when I got the early break, pretty much was almost 30 minutes in and we’d only played four games. Mentally, that was important for me, you know, to be up at that stage.
It could have gone either way, obviously, first few games. But being up at that stage helped, and then I loosened up a bit after that and played really well.
Q. How do you assess your form now two matches played after a five-week break?
ANDY MURRAY: It was way than how I played at the beginning of the year, that’s for sure. You know, playing aggressive, feeling more solid, you know, when I’m in position to dictate the points, I’m doing it, moving forward.
You know, I hit my forehand very well last couple of matches. I served better today. It’s been a good start. Obviously matches will get tougher, but I’m much happier with how I’m playing.
Q. You talked about playing aggressively. The stats said you went to the net 12 times. Is that to do with the conditions with the court here, or is that a different tactical changeup that you’re making?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it’s something I used to do a lot more earlier in my career, and then, you know, sometimes, you know, you can get away from that. It’s obviously sometimes feel like it’s more high-risk going to the net, but if you trust your shot and you’re feeling confident and striking it well, when you’re in the middle of the court, it’s very difficult, especially on a surface like this, to make the passes.
So, yeah, I think that the surface here allows it. The surface in Australia also allowed it, as well, and I used it to my advantage tonight.
Q. Sharapova just got a wildcard into Rome. I’m wondering what’s your opinion…
ANDY MURRAY: I spoke about it yesterday and made my opinion pretty clear. I have been answering questions on this honestly for over a year now, and I don’t know what else I’m supposed to say.
I’m extremely clear on how I feel about antidoping, and, yeah, I don’t know really what else to say about it. I was very clear yesterday.
Q. Physically, I know it’s a best-of-three-set matches here, but do you feel better and different physically compared to the sort of start of the year?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I played pretty well in my match with Novak and Berdych in Doha. I played some pretty good stuff. And then Australia and the beginning of Doha, I didn’t play so well. I was moving well in Doha but not necessarily hitting the ball that well.
In Australia, I didn’t feel like I moved that well in any of the matches. Definitely good to be out there, moving good from the beginning of the matches. Hopefully I keep that going. It’s such an important part of my game. When I’m not doing that well, you know, it can affect my performance, but it’s been good so far.
Q. Kohlschreiber next.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it will be tough, because, you know, every time we have played we have had a lot of close matches. I think he likes the conditions here. He’s played well here the last few years. He obviously keeps coming back to this event. He obviously likes it here.
Yeah, it will be a tricky one, for sure. You know, he’s a talented guy. He uses the angles of the court well. He plays with a lot of spin. And if you let him dictate the points, you know, he makes you move a lot.
So I need to play well.
Q. Kohlschreiber, we were talking to him the other day about his sense of humor. He comes off as quite a funny guy. Do you know him well off the court?
ANDY MURRAY: Not really. I mean, I have practiced with him a few times. I have not spent loads of time with him.
He’s always been pretty polite and friendly when I have seen him around the tournaments. I have not spent loads of time with him, so I don’t know him that well.
Q. You can’t vouch for that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.
Q. Yesterday at the party there were quite a lot of legends there. Did you get to bump into anybody?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I didn’t see — I mean, I got there pretty late, because by the time I finished all my recovery stuff, it was 11:00. I was only there for 15, 20 minutes, and then I left.
So, yeah, I didn’t see anyone. Who was there?
Q. Krajicek and Albert Costa.
ANDY MURRAY: I think a lot of people — they had meetings. So a lot of the ones that were tournament directors were probably here for that.