(January 29, 2014) Andy Murray discussed his upcoming match against Novak Djokovic in the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden scheduled for Monday, March 3 on a media conference call. The event which is part of World Tennis Day also features a doubles match featuring John and Patrick McEnroe as they take on the best doubles team of all-time and current World No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan.
Here is a rough transcript of the conference call:
Q: Andy, there is another big event happening here in New York – do you have any predictions on the Superbowl?
Andy Murray (AM): I don’t follow American football hugely, but if I get the chance to I will try and watch the game. I think I read on Twitter that Floyd Mayweather had bet $10 million dollars on the Denver Broncos to win, which is quite amazing. I’ll go with them as maybe he knows something we all don’t.
Q: Are you looking forward to the event at Madison Square Garden?
AM: Yeah, it should be a great event. I’ve heard from the guys that played there before that it is an amazing atmosphere. When I went to look around they were in the middle of refurbishments but it looked liked it was going to be unbelievable so it should be a fun place to play!
Q: Andy, you had a very memorable 2012 U.S. Open against Novak (Djokovic). Would you characterize that as your greatest match with him ever?
AM: I guess from my side, yeah I would say that. I mean we’ve played in quite a few big ones over the past few years, we’ve played a couple of great matches in Australia as well, but I mean from my side that was my first grand slam for me, and the way that the match went as well where I was up two sets-to-love and then he came back and then to come through winning that, it was probably my best one against him.
Q: Can you just talk about the benefit for players at your level and Novak for playing an exhibition like this?
AM: It depends how you use them and what time of year they come at. I mean obviously in preparation for Indian Wells and Miami which are the two biggest events coming up, I mean to play a match in that atmosphere with that many people, you know is perfect preparation for those events coming up. I haven’t played in loads of exhibition matches over the last few years but it’s not often a chance comes around to play at a venue like that, Madison Square Garden. I am a huge, huge boxing fan and they have had a load of great fights over the years. I love my basketball as well so to play in a place like that where you might not be able to get that chance to do that ever again, where you know most tournaments we will get that opportunity. You know the exhibitions kind of will be great for us as players to play in different arenas and parts of the world, we don’t usually get to.
Q: Coming back from back surgery and playing the Australian Open, you are playing really well and then of course you play Roger. How do you feel about your expectations, did you feel you can play that well for a few rounds at the Australian Open?
AM: To be honest, I didn’t know, I didn’t really know. I think having not played at that level hurt me a little bit at the beginning of the match with Roger because he was obviously playing some really good tennis over in Australia. And, he started the match very well and at a very high pace. It was something that I almost wasn’t ready for and in a way I started to build into the match as it went on and to feel a little bit better as the match went on. I don’t know how I was going to play. I never had a surgery before. I didn’t know how my body was going to respond exactly. But, for the second tournament back it was good. I wasn’t expecting to play my best tennis but it was a good start. The positive is that my back is feeling good and hopefully that continues throughout the rest of the year.
Q: I saw on Twitter today you were tweeting your score evolution soccer match. Are you in San Diego right now? And, how are the preparations for the Davis Cup?
AM: Yeah, I got in on Sunday from Melbourne. It’s weird; I’ve never flown back to the States this way from Australia which was quiet strange. It was like an 19 hour time change for a 14 hour flight. So we left 11:00 on Sunday morning and we got back around 6:00 in the morning here, it was weird. I have kind of been struggling a bit with the jetlag. But they have set up a great stadium and stuff over here. I’ve never been to San Diego before. It’s a great city, everything is beautiful, and it’s so nice. The court’s a bit challenging as it’s very slippery and tricky to move on. The venue’s, I mean it’s incredible. It’s a great venue.
Q: Did Ivan (Lendl) ever talk to you about some of the extraordinary matches he has played at Madison Square Garden and second to that, what is the greatest venue you have ever played in?
AM: I mean outside of the Slams I would say the Alter finals, I always find the atmosphere of playing indoors it seems like you are able to create … an extra buzz and a little bit more of excitement atmosphere. Like none of the noise kind of gets lost in the open. It all kind of stays inside of the arena. I think when Ivan was playing I mean he obviously played his last year with McEnroe you know they had the tour finals when he was playing and I hadn’t exactly spoken with him at that specific time matches. But I spoke with him about playing there he said it was amazing. Like the atmosphere was great and the event was unbelievable. I spoke to a couple of people about if it will ever go back there and it doesn’t look like it will work financially now-a-days. Ivan said it was a pretty cool place to play.
Q: Can you tell us how you feel when you are in New York City?
AM: There is so much energy in the city that’s for sure. It’s a very busy place, there is a lot happening. There is loads of stuff to do there. When I was growing up it was my favorite place to play and favorite place to visit. I love the event, I love the US Open, and I love the night matches and the atmosphere there. It’s a fun place to go to because there is just so much to do. As a player, all the big places we play in all across the world it’s a pretty unique atmosphere that you get at the US Open playing in New York. It should be fun to go back and play at Madison Square Garden. It’s a cool city and I’ve always enjoyed going there. The first time I went I was fifteen years old and I’ve enjoyed it all the time.
Q: Did you get a chance to watch the final between Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal)?
AM: No, I was flying and I didn’t see any of it.
Q: What were your impressions in general on Stan’s performance in Melbourne and do you think it’s good for the game for someone like him to break through?
AM: I saw some of his match with Djokovic but I didn’t see too much of his matches during the first week. He had a couple of walk-over’s in the first week and he played a great match with Novak. I didn’t see the final and I saw a little bit of the semi-final with Berdych (Tomas) which was an unbelievable tight match. I only heard what happened in the final from people who watched it. I heard it was quite a tough watch just with everything that was going on. Weather its good for the game or not that’s up for everyone else to decide. As a player, when I’m playing I’m trying to win myself and when it’s done I try not to worry too much about it. I think over the last, however long it’s been, there’s been so few different major winners. I think, for fans it’s probably a bit more enjoyable to see the events a little bit more open than they have been in the past. Different faces in the last stages of those events.
Q: Do you have any plans for an exhibition in Scotland this year?
AM: Yeah, we are looking to try and do one this year at some stage. I’m not 100% sure it’s going to happen or not. It’s something we definitely looked in to; I think it would be a good thing for me to do. There’s no tennis competitions in Scotland, there is a few sort of Futures events. There are no challengers or ATP events there. It would be a good thing to try and set up an event or match there later on in the year if we can. It’s not always easy to get the right venue to make everything work with timing with obviously with the way our tour works. There aren’t loads of periods in the year where we can do it. I’m hoping something will get started.
Q: Were you surprised when the US Team chose clay as the surface in Davis Cup and what are your thoughts on playing John Isner?
AM: I was a little bit surprised with the surface, to be honest. By having played on the surface I see what they have tried to do. It’s not like a traditional European clay court that is quite slow and heavy. The sliding and stuff is different … I move okay on the clay. It’s not something I feel unbelievably uncomfortable on. It’s not like a traditional clay court – it’s much faster, the balls are quick … there’s not a whole lot of top surface, it’s quite tough to move. I can see what they were obviously trying to do with the surface.
In terms of playing Isner – I haven’t played him for a while. I think the last time I played him it was the US Open a few years ago. He’s obviously always a tough guy to play just because of the way he plays and they way he serves and holds serve. It’s always going to be a tough matchup.
The annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for Monday, March 3, 2014. The McEnroe vs. Bryan doubles match will be followed by Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic. For more information: www.thegarden.com.
The BNP Paribas Showdown is part of the second annual World Tennis Day, a global celebration of tennis that includes Showdown events in Hong Kong and London in addition to New York City. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and its member nations will host participation events such as clinics and open houses at clubs around the world as part of this day. In 2013, 58 nations held World Tennis Day participation events.