Expletives and in-your-face tennis at the Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Andy Murray’s four-set win over Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open on Thursday will be remembered more for the tension between the players than the shot-making on the court.
There were the usual expletives from Murray, but this time his fiancee, Kim Sears, appeared to mouth several from the player’s box, too.
Asked at a news conference about Sears using ”Anglo-Saxon adjectives,” Murray said media hype in the lead up to the match added to the tension for everybody involved.
”It’s completely normal that, yeah, the whole first set everyone was tight. My physical trainer, physio … Even Tomas, who very rarely says anything on the court, there was tension there for him, as well,” Murray said. ”Yeah, in the heat of the moment you can say stuff that you regret. And, yeah, that’s it.”
There were also complaints from Berdych about the balls – the umpire checked them, no problem. And then there was an attempt by Berdych at some mild-mannered trash talking as the players swapped ends after he captured the first set.
Berdych muttered something as the two men crossed, causing an annoyed Murray to complain loudly to the umpire, Pascal Maria. When Maria asked Berdych what he said, he responded, ”Good play, Tomas. That’s all I said.”
That was pretty much the end of the good play from Berdych in the match. The Czech player went on to lose his fourth Grand Slam semifinal – and second in a row at the Australian Open – 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.
Murray will be playing in his fourth final at Melbourne Park against either Novak Djokovic or Stan Wawrinka, who play their semifinal on Friday. He’s still looking for his first title here.
Tensions were high before the match because Murray’s former coach, Dani Vallverdu, is now in Berdych’s camp performing the same duties. Murray acknowledged the acrimony on the court, but blamed the media for making a bigger deal of Vallverdu’s move from Murray to Berdych in November.
”You wanted there to be tension,” he said after the match.
”A lot was made of Dani, my ex-coach, working with him. I felt was a little unfair and unnecessary. This is sport, there’s more to life than sport. It was a little unfair and created extra tension.”
Murray had trained with Vallverdu for five years before parting ways with the Venezuelan to work more closely with new coach Amelie Mauresmo. Soon after, Berdych hired Vallverdu to be his coach.
The No. 7-ranked Berdych, widely considered one of the best players never to have won a Grand Slam title, had previously tried to hire Murray’s other former coach, Ivan Lendl, but the eight-time major winner turned him down.
After the match, Murray gave special acknowledgment to Mauresmo, telling the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, ”I think so far this week we’ve showed women can be very good coaches, as well.”
He said he felt Mauresmo had been unfairly slighted after he split with Vallverdu.
”A lot of people were also criticizing her at the end of last year, like the way I was playing was her fault,” he said.
As for Berdych’s comment on the changeover, he was surprised more than anything.
”He said something literally as we were walking right past each other change of ends,” Murray said. ”The thing is because there’s cameras and microphones everywhere players don’t say stuff to the opponents.”
Berdych, subdued after yet another Grand Slam letdown, said he was just trying to pump himself up as he walked to his chair.
”I think I’m allowed to do that when I win a set,” he said. ”What, I have to be worried about every word that I’m going to say?”