The world number one and first seed at the Mutua Madrid Open, Andy Murray, spoke to the media on Sunday. The Briton gave a press conference on Media Day and answered questions from the journalists who turned out for the 2015 champion.
Last year’s runner-up is back in the Spanish capital at a tournament where he plays some of his best tennis. “I like it here. I play well, especially the last few years. I think the altitude helps my game a little bit on the clay, makes the conditions a little bit quicker, which I like”. The Scot is preparing for his debut by training in the Caja Mágica where he admits he feels very comfortable: “The venue, I think for the fans, is great. You have some really good courts. The practice courts, you know, there’s lots of fans watching practice. For the players it’s great. We have a lot of space in the gym, good food. They put on a really good event for all of the players. Always improving things each year, which is obviously good to see. I think they do a very good job”.
He arrives in Madrid having lost in the quarters in Monte Carlo and in the semis in Barcelona, but he is feeling positive after practicing in the capital: “practice here the last few days has been very good. I’m happy with how I’m playing. I’m starting to move better, feel like I served well the last few days, which is an important part of my game. Last year I served well. My results improved a lot because of that. Obviously I haven’t served so well in Barcelona, Monte Carlo. It’s not easy at this level to win matches if you’re getting broken a lot. Hopefully I’ll serve a bit better this week”.
Midway through the clay-court season, Murray will be hoping to play his best tennis on a surface that, while not being his favourite, has provided reason for celebration in recent years: “At the beginning of the clay season, it’s always a bit trickier for me than the other surfaces just because the movement isn’t as natural on this surface for me as it is on the hard courts and the grass courts. It takes me time. I need to work on that each year when I come back onto it a lot before I feel comfortable doing it. The last couple of years, once I’ve got that part of my game right, then I feel like clay does actually suit my game well. You know, the results the last couple of years would suggest that”.
On the other hand, he had a difficult start to the year with defeats in early rounds, including an unexpected exit from the Australian Open in the fourth round against Mischa Zverev. “To be honest, the one that was disappointing for me was Australia, because it was a slam, a tournament where I’d had really good runs for a number of years in a row. I felt good going into it. That one was disappointing to me”.
Having addressed his mistakes, he arrives at the fourth Masters 1000 of the year at the perfect time to fight for his second Ion Tiriac Trophy. “I’ve been wanting the last three, four weeks to get myself back in match shape, feeling fit and healthy again. And I do. I’m hoping now my results will start to pick up”.