ATPtour interview included video:
Andy Murray hopes Paris proves lucky as he makes a final effort to earn a spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the seventh straight year. Entering the decisive week of the 2014 tennis season, Murray currently lies in fifth place in the Emirates ATP Race to London and is guaranteed a spot in the season finale if he reaches the quarter-finals this week at the BNP Paribas Masters.
“Right now I'm No. 5 in the Race and it's supposed to have been a terrible year for me, so I'm happy with that,” the Scot said with a smile as he spoke to the media on Tuesday at the Palais Omnisports in Paris.
Four spots remain in the prestigious London event as Murray looks to join Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic at The O2 in London, 9-16 November.
Since the US Open, the Scot has played 20 matches in five weeks (18-2 record) and taken home three ATP World Tour titles (Shenzhen, Vienna and Valencia). To lift the trophy in Valencia on Sunday, Murray was forced to save five championship points against Tommy Robredo in a match lasting three hours and 20 minutes - making it the longest final of the year on the ATP World Tour. Coincidentally, Murray also saved five championship points against the Spaniard to claim the Shenzhen Open title last month.
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“It's been a long few weeks, but it's been very beneficial for me,” said Murray. “We gained a lot of confidence in my body again from playing this many matches and from winning a lot of tough, long, close matches - especially in the finals, match points down. I have been fighting extremely hard in the matches and got some good results, so it's been nice.”
In his sixth straight week of competition, Murray, who is in the same quarter as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, will begin his quest for London qualification on Wednesday when he faces Frenchman Julien Benneteau. Murray also lies in the same half of the draw as fellow London contenders Kei Nishikori, David Ferrer and Grigor Dimitrov.
Unlike previous years, Murray’s spot in London wasn’t guaranteed at an early date and, despite what seems like a mad dash to earn points for qualification, the two-time Grand Slam champion said that wasn’t his main focus at first.
“I always wanted to qualify for [London], but I was also really wanting to get back into the Top 8 players in the world,” said Murray. “It wasn't my number one reason after the US Open for why I decided to play a lot of tournaments. I was more interested in trying to get myself back into the Top 8 players in the world, because for the seedings and all of the [ATP World Tour] Masters [1000s] and the major events at the beginning of , it makes a big difference.”
Murray knew after the US Open that he and his team, which includes two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo as coach, needed to work on some key aspects of his game.
“I just needed to get mentally a bit stronger in those situations again,” said Murray, remembering matches this season he lost while in a winning position. “Physically I have always felt when I feel strong that proves how I feel mentally. I think the two are quite closely linked for me, and that's been a big help the last few months.”
While he’s set his sights on London, Murray is already assessing the positives and negatives from this season and looking forward to next year.
“I have come back well from a tough surgery, and there is still hopefully a couple of tournaments left between now and the end of the year where I can try to make more improvements. But if not, I'm still very happy, especially with the last few weeks. I have been making improvements in my game. I feel much better about myself just now and hopefully next year will be a good one.”