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Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen - semi-finals

Friday 6 July 2012


6‑4, 7‑6, 6‑7, 7‑6

Q. It's been a great run, but today was one helluva scalp. Biggest of them all. Do you agree?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah, definitely. I mean, probably, what, the second best team in the world officially. They've won all these tournaments many times over.
To actually beat them in our first semifinal at Wimbledon, you know, is a pretty big thing.
Yeah, we're more than happy with it, how we played today.

Q. The first Brit to be in the men's doubles final I believe since 1960. How does that sit on your shoulders?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah, I mean, I didn't realize the first one in the semifinals since.
JONATHAN MARRAY: Thanks, Freddy. I'm happy with it, but what can I say about it? I'm just delighted to kind of be there and to get a chance to play on Centre Court and share it with Freddy.
We've been friends for a long time. To do this together, it's been great.

Q. Freddy, I think you're the first Danish man in any Grand Slam final since your grandfather here in 1955.
FREDERIK NIELSEN: Yeah, I think you're right. It's been quite a while.

Q. The fact that it's a relation as well, does that mean more to you?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: Obviously it's a huge thing for me. I was raised in a tennis fanatic house especially with my granddad and Wimbledon was always the thing. It was Wimbledon and everything else.
I've been here many times as a kid and was able to suck in all the atmosphere. My biggest dream in tennis was just to be able to play on Centre Court. I have to admit that over the years I was thinking whether or not it was actually gonna happen because, yeah, I don't get any younger.
So to be able to get that chance in a Wimbledon final, yeah, it's too good to be true.

Q. Did you come with your granddad?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: I came with my granddad. I'm a tennis fan myself. Growing up I sucked in all the tennis I could, watched it on the tele, watched the Danish Tour event we had, and obviously when I had the chance to come to Wimbledon and experience it as a kid, it was the best thing in the world for me.
It made Wimbledon special to me, too, just like it is with so many other players.

Q. Are you particularly patriotic, Johnny?
JONATHAN MARRAY: I wouldn't say I'm particularly patriotic, but I'm a proud Brit.
FREDERIK NIELSEN: I would have to say you're one of the most British Brits I've ever known.
JONATHAN MARRAY: What does that mean?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: That's meant in a very good way. First of all, tennis wise, he's one of the last serve and volley players of our generation. He is a true joy to watch, especially on the grass.
Second of all, obviously his accent, his demeanor, his cups of tea, everything. I mean, just ask him what he used his gift voucher for the Wimbledon shop for and you'll see what I mean.
JONATHAN MARRAY: Just like a teapot, a few cups, and some tea towels. You know, just some things for the house. I live with my sister. A nice little gift for her, that was.

Q. How much is your gift voucher?

Q. Johnny, you talked about all the hard times. How satisfying does it make it that you'll be on Centre Court in a final?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah, I mean, it means everything to me. It can be a hard slog, as Freddy knows. We've played a lot of tournaments together over the years. You go to some not very nice places.
But we do it because we love it. You know, at the end of the day, we do it to play tournaments like this. When we get a chance to play these, it's what we've dreamed of. It's all worthwhile in the end, I suppose.

Q. You're a Sheffield lad. Obviously it would be nice rather for once to get Wednesday and United off the back pages of the Star and get tennis on it, which I don't think has ever happened. Are you hopeful to get some column entries there and start to broaden the appeal of tennis?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a great sport. We all love it. Any kind of exposure is great. I think in Sheffield, yeah, they should have me on the back page tomorrow, me and Freddy.
Yeah, I think any kind of exposure is great for the game in this country because we need people playing. I think the bigger the pull, the better chance we have of having more successful players.

Q. Why do you think the partnership works so well?
JONATHAN MARRAY: What do you think, Fred? I think first and foremost, we're just good friends, as we said many times. We get on well together.
I think, as I said before, our games kind of match up pretty well. I don't know really.
FREDERIK NIELSEN: Yeah, I mean, obviously the easy answer is also that we're pretty decent tennis players, and our games match well for grass courts especially.
Like Johnny said, we match up really well in the way we think on the court. It's quite similar. I know if I hit the ball in a particular spot Johnny will cover there, and vice versa. It goes without saying then if you have these kind of patterns worked in you don't have to work on it and you can work on other stuff.
At the same time, we have kind of the same temperament. We're down to earth and pretty relaxed about the tennis. We think the same way. We talk to each other in the same kind of, yeah, temperament.
So we don't have to meet in the middle like it is with a lot of other teams where you have players at a very different state of mind and you have to kind of meet. All that kind of stuff we have without trying, and I think that's a big advantage.

Q. Have either of you played Centre Court before?
JONATHAN MARRAY: No. I played Court No. 1 last year, which was great, but I haven't played on the big one. It will be different, I'm sure.

Q. As a spectator?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah, a few years ago. I've actually not been in the last few years. Yeah, I mean, I came down as a punter or whatever a few years ago to come and watch. I've been on a few times.

Q. Do you remember who you saw?
JONATHAN MARRAY: I saw Tim Henman play Goran in the semis a little bit. Saw a little bit of that, which was not the result we wanted in the end, but it was a great atmosphere.

Q. Can we confirm how many tournaments you played together?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: This is our fourth over how many years, six or seven years?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Something like that.

Q. Will you be playing a bit more together in the future?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: Well, the difficult part is the fact that Johnny is a full time doubles specialist and I'm not. Despite our good run here, I still feel I have some unfinished business in singles.
I'm not yet willing to sacrifice that part of my game and my life yet. I take great pleasure in my life, my tennis life, the way I'm playing, even though it's at the challenger level and stuff like that.
Obviously Johnny, he's going to be really high ranked and going to be playing full time on the ATP Tour, and it's not going to be possible for me to do that that much, even though I'd love to play with Johnny.
JONATHAN MARRAY: I'm sure there will be opportunities where we can play together.

Q. Back to the match, how important do you think it was to close it out in the tiebreak and not go in a fifth set?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah, I think it was very important. I mean, they clawed back the third set and then got a little bit of momentum at the start. We held our serves in a few tight games in the fourth set, and I think they were starting to feel their way into the match a bit more.
Yeah, actually, to go 5 Love up, we were thinking, C'mon. We can kind of hopefully close this out. They played some really good tennis. We didn't really do a huge amount wrong.
Then Freddy came up big there at the end with the forehand that you were practicing yesterday for a while.
FREDERIK NIELSEN: That was a funny one because I kept doing that particular shot extra time and they were just laughing at me. C'mon, it's all right now. I kept on insisting on it again. So when I actually had the chance, I was so convinced I was going to make it just because we spent extra time on that one.
But, yeah, like Johnny said, we really wanted to close it in four because we took a lot of stick the last few matches for not closing it out after being up two sets to love.

Q. What went wrong in the tiebreak? You were five points up and they came back into it.
FREDERIK NIELSEN: I don't think a lot of stuff really went wrong. We were 5 Love up. I think Mike was serving. He had two great serves. It was 5 2.
Played two decent serves and they hit two decent returns and got plays on it. That's what good players do.
I don't think that it came down to us not playing well. I think it came up to them playing two good points.

Q. Did that make you think, Oh, no, not again?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: I actually felt quite confident that we were going to finish it anyway, because at the end of the day it was 5 All. Had it been 5 6 we would have been on serve. I had a suspicious feeling some way or the other we were going to steal it in four.

Q. Do you think that it helped you with the scheduling? They played 800 points between them yesterday in their two matches. That's a heck of an exacting schedule for anybody before a Wimbledon semifinal. Must have planted some seeds of doubt in their minds.
JONATHAN MARRAY: It's not easy to play five sets and come out and play the next day. We've done it already this tournament. The body feels a bit sore the day after. It's not easy.
At the end of the day, you know, it's luck of the draw. The rain comes. It could have happened to us. It could happen to anyone. Yeah, you just got to deal with the situation that's put in front of you and get on with it really.
FREDERIK NIELSEN: I also think it depends on how you look at it. The way I see it, we had a lot of tennis as well, a lot of tough matches. It see it as we came through tough points. I see it as we had a lot of confidence from coming through.
Instead of seeing this as tough to play five sets, I feel confident we were able to get through tight matches. Maybe they felt the same way. It's difficult to say.

Q. Do you know who you're playing in the final?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: They're still playing. Actually, to play on Court 12 helped us a little bit because they were obviously used to bigger courts than we were, and maybe the fact we played on a smaller court made it a bit more normal for us instead of having to, for us for the first time in our career, play on the other courts.

Q. What do you think about the fact of not having Hawk Eye?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: Completely understandable. When you're playing a semifinal at Wimbledon, you don't like to see bad calls. It's the same for everybody. We would have liked to have played with Hawk Eye as well.
At the end of the day, there wasn't anything we could do about it. We understand their frustration. They had a few bad calls. I'm sure we had a few bad calls as well. That's the name of the game. Nothing we can do about that.

Q. Johnny, if you win, it will be the first British men's doubles winner since 1936.
JONATHAN MARRAY: Another stat for you.

Q. What kind of pressure does that put on you, if any?
JONATHAN MARRAY: I mean, I'm not thinking about that kind of statistic or whatever. I'm just so pleased to be there. I'm just going to be doing exactly what we've done for the rest of the tournament. Same preparation. Thinking the same way. Just hopefully finish it off, you know.
But, yeah, it doesn't weigh on my mind over here.

Q. What would it mean to you in your career, your life?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah, it's why I play tennis, to win Wimbledon. That's what everyone dreamed of when I was growing up anyway. For it to come true, yeah, it would be the pinnacle of my career definitely.

Q. Have you ever seen the movie 'Wimbledon'?
FREDERIK NIELSEN: Unfortunately, yes.
JONATHAN MARRAY: Yeah, I saw it.

Q. You're the doubles equivalent.
JONATHAN MARRAY: I don't think we're driving an Aston Martin like he did.
FREDERIK NIELSEN: I don't feel like it's the last kind of season of my career. I feel like I have many good years left in me.

Q. I'm sorry to ask this because it's a bit of an old joke, but will you take Anne Keothavong out for a drink now?
JONATHAN MARRAY: Let's see after tomorrow. I might think about it. I might think about it.

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