MELBOURNE: With all the off-court chatter focusing on the influence of his ex-coach and present coach, Andy Murray sent out an emphatic message by reaching his fourth Australian Open final on Thursday.
The Briton recovered from a blistering start by Tomas Berdych to reach title decider with a 6-7(6) 6-0 6-3 7-5 victory that should silence those who questioned his decision to appoint Amelie Mauresmo as his coach.
“A lot of people were criticising her at the end of last year, like the way I was playing was her fault when I’d spent two weeks training with her up to the end of the year,” sixth seed Murray said of the twice grand slam winner who was hired last June as a replacement for Ivan Lendl.
“There was very little time to spend with each other (so) there’s no reason for her to be criticised for anything.
“I’m very thankful to Amelie for doing it. It was a brave choice from her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a few days (because) I think we have shown that women are very good coaches.”
The build-up to the semi-final against Berdych had also been peppered with extra tension after the Czech appointed Dani Vallverdu — a former member of Murray’s coaching team — as his coach last month.
“A lot was made about Dani Vallverdu, my former coach, working with Tomas,” he said in a courtside interview. “But we’ve been friends since we were 15 years old and I felt that the focus was unfair and unnecessary.”
While Murray said the decision to appoint Mauresmo had been vindicated, with the Scot reaching his first major final since his 2013 Wimbledon triumph, his victory over Berdych and the fourth round win over 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov also put paid to any concerns about his recovery from back surgery in 2013.
Murray was considered one of the ‘Big Four’ of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, who have dominated men’s tennis in recent years, prior to 2014.
Last year, as he tried to regain his fitness, his ranking slipped and he fell in the quarter-finals at three grand slams, raising questions as to whether he could regain the form that helped him to two major titles.
The Dimitrov victory, undoubtedly the highest quality match of the men’s draw so far, however, and the Berdych win indicated that he was back.
“I played very, very well tonight,” the 27-year-old said.
“And to be in the final four times here, because I’m surrounded by guys like Roger, Novak and Rafa …that doesn’t happen that often.
“So I’m very proud of that.” (Reuters)