Eastbourne Tennis: A question and answer session with Andy Murray

EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: Andy Murray of Great Britain in action during a practice session during day one of the Nature Valley International at Devonshire Park on June 24, 2019 in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA) SUS-190624-193619002
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: Andy Murray of Great Britain in action during a practice session during day one of the Nature Valley International at Devonshire Park on June 24, 2019 in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA) SUS-190624-193619002

Q. How were the celebrations last night? Did you go out with Feliciano last night after Queen’s?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, we went to dinner close to Queen’s. Yeah, it was good. Feli was on good form. Yeah, it was nice (smiling).

Q. Did you go in London or...

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, we went to a place on Old Brompton Road. It’s a Spanish restaurant that he knew the owner of. They looked after us well.

Q. It wasn’t like three years ago?

ANDY MURRAY: No. I was driving, so, yeah, I was on Cokes and water for me (smiling). Feli’s coach had a few drinks, though, that’s for sure. But, no, it was nice.

Q. How does the body feel after three or four games in the space of three or four days? How do you feel physically?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I feel okay. My back, that’s the only thing that’s been of any concern, really. It’s not a concern, but it’s just a bit stiff and sore. We had just a light practice there today and rest up and hopefully feel all right tomorrow. But, yeah, it’s obviously a pretty quick turnaround.

Q. Is that related to the hip, your back?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I wouldn’t -- I wouldn’t know. You know, it could be from a lot of things. I haven’t played a match in five months, and playing obviously doubles, which is new to me, playing, like, three or four doubles matches in a couple of days anyway.

But I think I would say most players, when they come back from, well, a big operation and haven’t sort of played for five months, you’d expect to be a bit stiff and sore in a few places. But overall, I mean, I’m really happy with how I feel.

Q. How have you clicked with Melo?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, we literally hit for like 30, 40 minutes and then we chatted about the match and stuff, you know, the thing that he likes to do on the court and, you know, in terms of, like, the signals and how he likes to play.

Like I said, I was sort of anticipating we’d probably play a bit more -- me and Feli were playing quite conventional doubles, and he expects to play, like I said, a bit more I-formation and a lot more kind of moving around at the net and stuff. So, you know, that will be again a different sort of challenge tomorrow, but it can also be very effective if done well.

But, yeah, I mean, I have known him -- when we did the IPTL thing a few years ago, I was on the same team as him and we spent a little bit of time together there. Played a little bit of doubles with him. He’s good fun. Pretty laid-back guy. Yeah, hopefully we’ll do well.

Q. You mentioned before that, you know, one of the motivations for you in coming back was so your kids could see you playing and be happy playing tennis. I think I’m right in saying your last title before Queen’s was Dubai in March 2017 when your eldest daughter would have been about one. Wondering if she was able to pick up on the fact that you won yesterday? Did she watch it on television? Did you show her the trophy and things like that?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I took, like, it was more a plate we got given to take home. Yeah, unfortunately she wasn’t particularly interested (smiling).

Yeah, I think she obviously understands, you know, a bit, a little bit more about kind of what it is I do and stuff, which is nice, nice for me. And yeah, I went out for dinner with Feli the other night, because when I won that tournament in Dubai, I was trying to get my team to -- we said before the week, well, I said before the week, you know, If I win the tournament, I want to do a sky dive.

All of my team rejected it and were, like, no chance we’re doing that. Obviously that turned out to be the last tournament that I won, and I had a lot of health problems after that, because I had the issue with my elbow straight afterwards in Indian Wells and then I had the issues with, like, my hip quite soon afterwards.

I was saying to them, like, You’ll need to make sure you enjoy those moments, because you don’t -- you don’t know, like, what’s around the corner and what might happen, you know. And at the time it’s, like, you sometimes forget that winning a tournament like that is really, really special.

You know, often in tennis you’re, like, right on to the next week. Here, obviously playing literally just not, like, 36, 40 hours later after you get off. So you need to try and enjoy the good moments when you can and celebrate them, you know, because you don’t know what’s going to happen even the next day or in the few months’ time.

Q. Will you do a bungee jump off Beachy Head if you win doubles here?

ANDY MURRAY: I’d be up for it, but I’m not going to do it on my own. I’d do it if all my team were up for it, although I don’t know if my hip surgeon would be particularly happy with me trying that (smiling).

Q. You mentioned your hip surgeon. Have you had any contact with her since you started playing competitively again?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, yeah, she came to watch last week. Got some tickets for her on the day where I played the two matches, quarterfinals/semifinals matches. And then, yeah, messaged her yesterday when I got in, actually from when I got in from dinner at, like, 2:30 in the morning and she responded within five minutes.

I was, like, God, she’s supposed to be operating tomorrow morning. I don’t want to be the first one on the list Monday.

But, yeah, I stayed in touch with her a lot, and I obviously have regular checkups, like, at the beginning and, you know, go and see her, probably go and see her after Wimbledon and check, see how things are going, chat with the team with her about kind of the next steps.

Q. Has she been surprised at the progress you’ve made? Or is it as she expected?

ANDY MURRAY: I haven’t actually asked her about that, because obviously when I had gone to see her, like, you know, for a checkup and to chat, obviously she sees you walking in but she’s not seeing all of the training and things that you’re doing. So it’s just sort of going off what you’re saying and what the, you know, what your team’s telling her.

But, you know, obviously she got a chance to watch a few days ago. I haven’t actually, like, spoken to her since she’s seen me play. You know, I think she’s just happy that my hip doesn’t hurt really anymore. Yeah, after Wimbledon I’ll ask her for you and let you know what she thinks.

Q. Do you still incorporate Bikram yoga and one or two other things you were trying as part of your fitness regime?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I started doing a lot of Hot Yoga, like, probably two-and-a-half, three weeks before the start of Queen’s, because one of the things that, well, that I was still feeling, I spoke about it last week, was the range of motion is still something that needs to improve and needs to get better.

So I started doing -- I did, like, 10 sessions of that in, like, the three weeks building up to Queen’s. And then we stretch once a day where we do just regular yoga stuff.

But, yeah, that’s something I need to keep improving and also maintain, because I think, you know, you obviously can get gains by doing it a lot, but if you then, just because it’s improved, you stop doing it, obviously things stiffen up again. So I need to make sure I keep going with that regardless of what happens in the future. It would be a good thing to keep up with.

Q. What elements of your game match up well between doubles and then singles?

ANDY MURRAY: I think -- I mean, the return is the best part of my game, I think, singles or doubles. That allows, like, when I’m playing with my brother, for example, it allows him to be very active up at the net because I’m making a lot of returns and putting pressure on the guys that are serving. It allows my brother to be, you know, get right up close to the net and cut the angles off.

So that works well. And then I think I have quite quick hands up at the net so I can get out of some tricky situations. I try to position myself in the right spots so that there is less spaces for the guys to hit into. That’s something I can get better at, because I forget a little bit still sometimes when I’m in the middle of the rally, but when I’m doing that well, I think that’s a strength.

And, yeah, but it depends sometimes, depends who you’re playing with. You need to do different things well depending on who you’re playing with, and that can sometimes -- that can change from match to match. But I think, you know, the return is the most important part of my game in doubles.