TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 31st of January 2015. An interview with Andy Murray
Q. What did you make of last night’s semifinal?
ANDY MURRAY: I didn’t watch any of the match last night. I’ll watch some of it this evening and then chat to Amélie about it tomorrow. But I haven’t watched any of it yet.
Q. How are you feeling having had a lot of the extra things? Enough rest? Practice?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I feel good. I felt good after all of the matches and recovered fairly well from the two fairly long matches that I had against Dimitrov and with Berdych. So, yeah, I pulled up pretty well. But, yeah, it’s slightly different preparation obviously with the extra day. You get the extra day rest, but then also you’re in a rhythm of playing every day or so, so it changes the way you prepare a little bit. But, yeah, I feel good.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on the fairness of that? Do you believe semifinals should be played on the same day?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I do, yeah. You want the players all to have the same opportunity. But, I mean, I was told that the player that’s played the second semifinal I think has won like five or six of the last seven years, so I don’t know exactly who it favors more. Obviously if you have an extremely long match you would think the person that had the extra day’s rest, it would favor them. But a couple years Novak recovered from — I don’t know how he did it, because I played against him in the semifinal and I could barely walk a couple days later. But he recovered from a five-hour match and then won the final in six hours. I don’t really know who it favors, to be honest.
Q. Is there a danger of having too long to think about it?
ANDY MURRAY: I think that comes down to each individual really and how you handle the situation. I’ve tried — like I said, didn’t watch the match yesterday, so I tried not to spend too long thinking about it and try and just do the same sort of routine as I’ve been doing in the other matches and use yesterday as more of a recovery day. Then I practiced slightly harder than I would have normally the day before a slam final today.
Q. Is this the best you’ve felt mentally and physically on the eve of a Grand Slam final?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. To be honest, it’s always very difficult to answer those questions. I don’t know. I know that I played well so far this event. Each time I’ve been in difficult situations I’ve done a good job mentally of finding my way to get out of them. And, yeah, my tennis has been good, as well. So I hope that will be the case again tomorrow.
Q. You played Novak here three times and lost all three. How confident are you that can change tomorrow?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I know it’s going to be extremely difficult to win the match tomorrow. I know if I want to win, it will probably be very, very tough and challenging physically. So I need to prepare myself mentally for that. But he has a fantastic record here. He obviously loves the court and the conditions. And, yeah, it would be a big upset if I manage to win tomorrow.
Q. You talk about a big upset if you were to win tomorrow night. Novak said there was no clear favorite. Do you disagree with that?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I’ve never won against him here before. I’ve lost to him each time that we’ve played. I think I’ve lost to him the last four or five times we played against each other, as well. Maybe only won one set in those matches. Yeah, I mean, it would be a big turnaround. I played him a couple times very close the end of last year and lost pretty comfortably. For me it would be a big turnaround in a few months if I was able to win. I’m not saying it’s not a possibility, but it’s going to be very, very tough.
Q. Was there any sense of curiosity last night about what was going here last night?
ANDY MURRAY: Knew exactly what the score was. I was at dinner checking the result to see what was going on. I spoke to Leon, as well, who was commentating on the match. But I’m going to watch the parts of the match that I want to watch this evening, get all of the stats from the match that I think will be beneficial and go over it, just like I have done every other match since I have been here this event. But I didn’t really want to sit for three, three and a half hours last night worrying about the match. I’d rather save that for this evening and try and conserve a little bit of energy and mental energy, as well, you know, for the match.
Q. Guaranteed back in the world’s top four regardless; No. 3 with a win. Do you feel like you’re back where you belong?
ANDY MURRAY: I feel like I’m playing well again. I think this tournament’s been obviously important for me just because of some of the results I had at the end of last year. Yeah, it’s been an important week for me. Obviously anytime you’re moving up the rankings suggests you’re doing something well. Yeah, it shows as well that last year, although it was a tough year, it wasn’t that bad. With one good tournament here I could move back up the rankings again. Hopefully the beginning part of this year where I maybe didn’t play my best last year, if I can try and have some consistent, solid results, reestablish myself back at the top of the game, and hopefully have another good year.
‘I Know How To Get There’ – Karen Khachanov Targets Return To Top 10
The world No.31 has showed signs of his talent this season with a run to the Olympic final but a lack of consistency and changes to the ATP ranking system has hindered him too.
It wasn’t that long ago when Karen Khachanov was the highest-ranked Russian man on the ATP Tour and billed as the next big thing from his country.
A breakout 2018 season saw Khachanov claim three Tour titles with the biggest of those being at the Paris Masters which remains his most prestigious trophy to date. He also reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open during the same season and scored five wins over top 10 players. Those triumphs helped elevate him in the ranking to a high of eight.
However, since that breakthrough Khachanov has found himself on a a rollercoaster journey. He is yet to win another title since Paris but came agonisingly close at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev. In his nine previous Grand Slam tournaments his best run was at Wimbledon this season where he reached the last eight before losing to Denis Shapovalov.
Now ranked 31st in the world, the 25-year-old is aiming to claim back up the ladder after the ATP changed their ranking logic to the method used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The rankings turned out to be a big pun, it was frozen for a year and a half, only now normal counting has begun. I am not fixated on this,” Khachanov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “My main goal is to get back to the Top10. I know how to get there. And the intermediate goals are to be healthy and motivated.”
Khachanov has been ranked outside the world’s top 20 since February and hasn’t been in the top 10 since October 2019. He is currently coached on the Tour by Jose Clavet who has previously worked with a series of top Spanish players such as Feliciano Lopez, Alex Corretja, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya.
“He travels with me everywhere, for which I am grateful to him. I trust him as a specialist, as a coach and as a friend,” Khachanov said of Clavet.
Khachanov has returned to his home country this week where he is playing in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. A tournament he won three years ago by defeating Adrian Mannarino in the final. Seeded third in the draw this time round, he began his campaign on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over James Duckworth. In the next round, he faces another Australian in the shape of John Millman which he believes will be a far from easy task.
“He is a fighter, a complete player, he does everything well, forehand and backhand with good intensity. He does everything at a good level, but the main quality is that he fights till the end, so it will be hard for me,” he said of his next opponent.
Moscow is the seventh tournament this year where Khachanov has reached the quarter-final stage.
Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days
The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.
The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.
Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.
There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.
“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”
Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.
“Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.
Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.
“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.
Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
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