A. MURRAY/J. Nieminen 1‑6, 6‑4, 6‑1, 6‑2

 

JARKKO NIEMINEN

 

Q.  What changed momentum of that match so dramatically?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Well, obviously he had problems with I don’t know which part of body.  But I didn’t feel great from the beginning.  I just didn’t have to do much.  First two games were good quality game, but I didn’t feel great.  I didn’t have to do anything.  He could hardly walk there.

So then, yeah, that’s why I obviously won almost every game.  I should have taken a double break in the second set to have taken the second set.  Yeah, I couldn’t take that, and then I played one very poor changeover, two bad games, and then he started to play better.

I really never got the momentum back.  I didn’t feel ‑‑ I tried to ‑‑ my goal was to play more aggressive, but I didn’t feel good.  I was moving bad and I made a lot unforced errors.  He obviously made me play a lot.  That’s what he does.

Yeah, then he played different than in the beginning.

 

Q.  At any point were you expecting him to retire?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Well, I don’t know.  I tried to concentrate to my game.  But the way he was, it looked like he could hardly walk.  I don’t know how he feels.  It’s better to ask him.  Looked pretty bad what he had, so I still tried to concentrate and focus if this match keeps going like it did.

Obviously his feeling got better as well.  Yeah, it looked really bad.  It’s not often that somebody looks that bad and can keep going.

 

Q.  That was my next question.  To be in a position where somebody goes from one extreme to another, had that ever happened to you before?  Are you surprised by how he turned it around and was running around so fast at the end?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Yeah, well, I kind of ‑‑ I don’t know.  I still didn’t think that he will give up, but it didn’t look good.  Andreev retired against me in the first round, and I couldn’t see anything until he took the physio to the court.  After that he played three games.

Murray, Andy looked way worse.  He could barely walk.  Everybody saw he let the balls just pass by, so obviously he felt really ‑‑ I don’t know.  You have to ask him.

I tried to focus to my game, but the quality of my game wasn’t really in‑form in any stage of the match.  Then when he started to move better and play with the better quality, then it was tough for me to play.

 

Q.  When he could hardly walk, what were you feeling and thinking at that time?  Obviously you were firmly in charge of the match.  Were you starting to get bit nervous?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  No, I started to play the same.  I tried not to change the game ‑‑ I obviously changed because he hit much slower and sometimes he just went for the return and looked like he didn’t care.  Then the rhythm of the game changed a lot, so it wasn’t so easy to play the same.

But that was my goal.  I didn’t succeed that well, because like I said, in the second set there was one really bad changeover.  There was a little headwind, and I went for some winners and I kind of gave that game away with three, four unforced errors.

So that was disappointing.  He was still not playing well.  I still had break points to come back to 5‑4 in the second set.  I think that would have been very important.

Yeah, it’s never easy when you don’t know.  Obviously he’s one of the best players in the world, and then he’s like limping and suddenly he’s playing again.  It’s not an easy situation.

I tried to focus to my game.  You never know.  Obviously he got treatment twice.  Obviously something helped, because he run really well in the end.

 

Q.  Were you aware he had been having back problems?  Was that something you were thinking about with your tactics in the buildup?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  No.  I didn’t know that.  That wasn’t anything to do with my tactics.  I didn’t know that.

 

Q.  Andy said this morning when he woke up he was thinking about pulling out.  When you were warming up, did you notice anything at all that you felt he was struggling?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  No, I didn’t see him ‑‑ during the warmup, no.  That looked like a normal warmup to me.

 

Q.  Do you feel like this is a match you lost more than a match he won to some degree?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  Yeah, I feel like I had him ‑‑ I felt that I should have taken the second set.  He still was very off, at least physically very off, for two sets.  That’s very disappointing.  Overall I’m not happy the way I played.

So, I mean, he played very defensive.  I was watching his first round, and it’s like I knew that if he plays the same I get to decide many points and that’s it’s a lot of up to me about quality of my game.

If I can ‑‑ if I make unforced errors or if I can build up the game, maybe I can attack or hit some winners, which is tough.  But obviously I made too many unforced errors today.

Yeah, I kind of ‑‑ you never know if I would have taken the second set how he would feel.  Two sets to love lead is still very good.

Overall I’m disappointed how I played.  That’s the main fact.

 

Q.  A lot players play through injury I suppose during matches.  Do you think a top player should show their injury as much as he did today?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  He won the match.  I don’t know.  Everybody are different.  If I feel something, I try to not show anything if I can.

Maybe some other players think other way, but it’s up to the player how though feel.  Maybe it was so bad that he couldn’t do anything else.  It looks really bad.

 

Q.  You said he looked very badly injured at the start and he could hardly walk and he was playing well at the end.  Are you saying that you think he was not as badly injured as he appeared?

JARKKO NIEMINEN:  I don’t think he is acting.  It was just a huge difference from the beginning to the end.  That’s obviously tough for the player.

It’s obviously poor from my side also to drop the quality ‑‑ I mean, to play those bad to games and kind of let him come back to the game.

For sure if he felt pain in the back or he feels it, I don’t think it’s why he would let the games go.

Also, I don’t think if it’s that bad and there is Wimbledon and Olympics coming up and he’s in great rhythm, if he feels really bad it’s obviously risky as a player.

I guess after he started with the treatment or after it got warm, I don’t know, it got better.

He thought it smart to keep going without risking too much.

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