Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 26, 2024

Andy Murray – R1 Press Conference – 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

2024 Men's Singles R32: A. MURRAY/D. Shapovalov 4-6, 7-6, 6-3


Q. What were you pleased with the most today?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it was difficult ’cause of the conditions, particularly at the beginning of the match. It’s quick here during the day. The way that he’s serving, there’s not many guys on the tour that are serving consistently at that speed on the first serve but on the second serve. He started to miss a few as the match went on. He was serving 180, 190 kilometers per hour on the second serve.

You just have to react. You don’t feel like you have much say in his service games. That obviously puts pressure on you when you’re serving. Yeah, I did well to compete at the end of the second set. Got tight. He had break points I think in the 3-All or 4-All game in the second. Hung on there.

Yeah, I mean, I did well to carry the momentum over at the beginning of the third set after winning a tight second. A few tight moments again in the third. On that 4-3 game, I had 30-All, came in behind a forehand. I kept trying to do the right things. It paid off in the end.

Q. Two weeks in a row grueling matches, in Qatar and here. Does it give you more confidence? How do you feel about it?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, I mean, winning matches is what gives confidence. I mean, a lot of people, I don’t know whether it’s psychologists, believe that you can improve your confidence by working hard away from the court, training hard, working on all the right things. The number one thing in sport that builds confidence is winning matches. That’s my belief and what I’ve experienced.

Yeah, getting through obviously a close match today… Last week was good that I got a win. Obviously lost a very close one against a player who played a brilliant tournament.

Yeah, there’s been some signs of progress, I would say, the last couple of weeks. It’s not obviously exactly where I’d want it to be, but it’s better than where it was.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the conversations that take place in your head like a match like today’s and one like last week where you were playing really good almost until the end. What are the conversations that are going in your head? Does that dictate your confidence? Is that something that translates onto the court?

ANDY MURRAY: I think it can. Obviously I think every single person, this is not just athletes, but everyone experiences I think doubts. You’ll question yourself about whether you’ve made the right decision, done the right thing, whether you’re able to win the match or able to keep going. Obviously then you have a choice what to do with those thoughts.

I think that’s one of the hardest things with sports, is that you experience that lots of times I think during the day and during matches.

I think, yeah, how you talk to yourself can influence that a bit. That’s where for me, I’ve always felt better when I’ve shown my frustration. The challenge for me is making sure that the frustration doesn’t continue through into the next point. If I’m still thinking about what just happened and what’s in my head, I’m not annoyed I lost the last point, that’s when it can have a detrimental effect on my tennis.

When I show my frustration, get it out, focus on the next point, what I’m trying to do, is when I feel my best on the court. When I’m quiet and not saying anything, I feel really uncomfortable. It’s not me, not what makes me play my best I don’t believe.

Q. Congratulations on your 500th hard court win. Is this your most successful match in terms of challenges?

ANDY MURRAY: I did a pretty good job with that (smiling). The good thing is that because the court is pretty new, you can see all the marks quite clearly. Usually here, as well, because there’s almost like a little bit of sand in the air, you can kind of see the marks even better on the court because of that, which helps.

But, yeah, there was a few tough calls today that went against me, which I challenged successfully. Maybe that might have been. I don’t know what the success rate was, but it felt pretty good.

Q. Five or six points overturned.

ANDY MURRAY: It felt like that to me, as well. I mean, obviously with the way that he plays and how hard he hits the ball, it’s easy I guess to make mistakes. When you’re serving 220 kilometers an hour, I can see why calls get missed.

But yeah, thankfully the Hawkeye is there to help and I didn’t waste any challenges today.

Q. Can you share the moment on the evolution of tennis? When you first started, we have players with obvious strengths and weaknesses like forehand, the serve. Nowadays we are having more complete players like Sinner, Alcaraz, even Mensik you played with last week. How do you see this evolution?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, we actually have been having a few discussions with my team about that, some of the players here the last few days, wondering if some of the players from 20, 25 years ago, if they were playing today with the equipment they had, where they would be ranking-wise and stuff.

It’s obviously impossible to say. We’ll never know. But the game has obviously changed. A lot of the players from 25, 30 years ago were obviously playing serve and volley, a lot up at the net. There was almost like quite clear game styles almost, players that liked particular surfaces. You had players that loved playing indoors and on grass, on the faster courts, then you had players who were clay court specialists. Whereas now, because the surfaces have become more similar, you maybe don’t have that as much. A lot of the game styles have become kind of similar.

I don’t necessarily agree that players are all around better players. But the majority of tennis is played from the baseline and from the back of the court. I believe that now, because of the balls and the equipment and everything and the strings, the players are so good from the back of the court. I think that’s improved. The moving, I mean, some of the guys at the top of the game, the way they move now is unbelievable.

I don’t think players now play as well up at the net as they used to. I think that’s how the game has evolved. I don’t think because of the surfaces and how close they are, it’s easy to be successful playing up at the net, so there’s less of a need for players to be strong at the net, whereas 25, 30 years ago you had extremely quick courts, strings were not as forgiving as the ones today, and you had to play up at the net more. That’s what players practiced. They were better at the net than the players now.

Would be interesting to see someone like a Becker playing against some of the top players in the world, to see what would happen because I don’t know. I don’t know for sure. I just think the courts have made it so hard to play that style of tennis.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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