TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 19th of January 2015. A. Murray d. Y. Bhanbri 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. An interview with Andy Murray
Q. What do you make of that?
ANDY MURRAY: I thought it was a tricky match. He played very close to the baseline on that court. I feel it’s quicker than Rod Laver and Hisense. He was coming forward a lot. Even when I was hitting good returns, he was changing the direction of the ball very quickly and coming to the net. He played well up at the net. He had good hands, solid volleys and made it tough. I thought I served well the whole match. I served well. I just got caught a few times the first shot after the serve. Could have been a little bit better my first shot after the return. I don’t know if that was something to do with me feeling like the court was a bit quicker. I felt a little bit rushed there. I served very well. That was good.
Q. You practiced on this court a couple days?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I practiced on it a couple days ago, but obviously the last couple days being pretty cold, very cloudy, and today obviously the sun was out. The court was livelier. Yeah, maybe the court isn’t way faster, but obviously when you play in quicker conditions, obviously when it’s dry as well — it didn’t feel humid at all — the ball travels through the air quicker. Also maybe down to the way he was playing as well. He was hitting the ball very flat and coming to the net a lot. So rushing me. He played a good match. I had never seen him play before, and never practiced with him. It was tough to know what to expect.
Q. You tweeted some kind words for Pliskova, watching her some point during this leadup. What is it about her that impressed you most in her game?
ANDY MURRAY: I just thought she was a little bit different to some of the other girls. She served well. She had a big serve. And then when the ball was in the middle of the court she was really taking the ball on. She was a very good ball striker. She’s got a long reach. Yeah, she was extremely aggressive on the return as well. Yeah, from just watching a little bit, you could see that she is obviously a very dangerous player for any of the women to play against. Yeah, just looked like if she could improve her movement a bit make her very difficult to beat.
Q. You were heard in the third set saying you weren’t particularly happy with your performance. Shocking movement was one of them. Is that something you need to improve on as the tournament progresses?
ANDY MURRAY: I think in some sense when you’re playing you tend to say things that you don’t really mean. That’s just how the brain works. I’ve learned a lot about that over the last couple years. That’s just a normal thing to say. I do feel like he made me feel that way because of the way he was playing. Like I said, he was rushing me. I was saying it was more my movement after the return or after the serve. I was a little bit slow there. Once I got into the rallies I was moving good. But because of the way he was playing, and also maybe just feeling that court was a bit quicker, I thought it was a little bit slow on the first shot of each rally. But, yeah, that will get better.
Q. Would you prefer an evening match? Are you happy with the early start?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t really mind, to be honest. The conditions today were perfect playing conditions. Obviously in the evening that slows things down a little bit. When it’s cooler, you know, maybe doesn’t take as much away from you energy-wise. But obviously you can finish the matches quite late, and that can — can — affect you the next round. But I don’t really mind when I play.
Q. After the match you said that you were aware how tough a draw it is here this year. Is that something you often do, look through the draw at all?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I didn’t plan on looking through the draw. When I spoke to Mike the other day he told me my draw when I spoke to him immediately. So, yeah, I don’t always look at my draws. When I came to my press conference – I can’t remember who it was – but they basically read out the whole draw all the way through to the final. So whether you look at it or not, people talk about it. I think this is maybe the tenth, ninth or tenth year I’ve played here. I know how to deal with that and to just concentrate on each match. I’ve played tournaments where — I think that the year I won Wimbledon everyone was saying it was the hardest draw, and then a couple guys get knocked out and I was getting, If you don’t make the final this year you’ll never make the final again. A lot can change in a couple of days in sport. You just got to concentrate on your own matches, take care of business, and that’s it.
Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019
The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.
Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.
Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.
“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”
The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.
In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.
“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”
Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.
Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat
The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.
The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.
On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.
Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.
“Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”
Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.
“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.
Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.
The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.
“Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”
Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.
Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour
23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.
Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.
The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.
Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.
“I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
“It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.
Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.
“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”
Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.
Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.
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