French Open 2014: ‘Mad Dog’ turns the air blue but Murray bites his tongue to progress
The Wimbledon champion beat Marinko Matosevic 6-3 6-1 6-3
There have been plenty of occasions when Andy Murray has not minded his Ps and Qs but in his second-round match here at the French Open on Thursday it was Marinko Matosevic’s use of the F-word that sometimes turned the air blue. Although he did not do much to live up to his “Mad Dog” reputation, the 28-year-old Australian did not hold back on his frustrations when he wasted the few chances that came his way in a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 defeat.
Murray, who conducted the occasional running conversation with himself but controlled his language, sympathised. “When you’re out on the court, sometimes you say things,” he said. “Obviously, when things are going well it’s a lot easier to control your emotions.
“It’s something that I think has progressively got better over the last five or six years. It’s something that I’ve worked on and tried to get better at and practise. It’s something I can still improve on aside from all the stuff that you can work on in your game. That’s still something I’m working on today.”
There was evidence that Murray has indeed been working on much else in his game. He returned serve superbly, regularly stepping into the court to hammer big forehands and backhands past a helpless Matosevic. Murray also served well, particularly on the rare occasions when the world No 66 threatened to break.
The match was played on Court One, which is affectionately known as “the bullring. To the regret of many, it is set to go under the bulldozers when Roland Garros is redeveloped in the near future. The stadium’s steep sides and circular design give the court an intimate feel and a good atmosphere. With the crowd so close to the players, not much goes unheard.
Murray thinks that English-speaking players are generally picked up for their bad language more than others. “Some of the stuff that guys say in other languages is a lot worse than the couple of words that I tend to use on the court,” he said. “There are a few phrases that some of the guys use and they’re not pretty.
“Some of the ones in Spanish aren’t great. Some of the Italian phrases, as well, are not so good. Some of the Serbian phrases also aren’t great, either. I’m not the only one that talks to myself. I think what I say is fairly mild compared to the guys that speak the other languages that people don’t pick up on.”
Murray will next play Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber. The world No 24, who beat Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-6, 6-2, won his only previous meeting with Murray in Monte Carlo four years ago. He is on a six-match winning streak on clay after winning the tournament in Düsseldorf last week, which was his first title for two years.
Meanwhile, the guessing games over the identity of Murray’s next coach are set to continue. The world No 8 responded to growing speculation over who might replace Ivan Lendl by insisting that an appointment was not imminent.
“Right now in the middle of a tournament is not really the time when I’m sitting down and speaking to people and making phone calls,” Murray said. “I am concentrating on playing here for the next couple of weeks and then when I get on the grass, I can start looking and get someone in place.”
Amélie Mauresmo and Jim Courier have been among the latest names to be mentioned. Murray said he had not spoken to Mauresmo but added: “I haven’t said I won’t speak to her. Since stopping working with Ivan, in the last five or six weeks, every week there has been a different person I am supposed to be working with.”
After reeling off a list of other people who have been mentioned as possible successors to Lendl – including John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Jonas Bjorkman, Martina Navratilova, Bob Brett and Leon Smith – Murray was asked whether any of them would be his next coach. “Not that I’m aware of, no,” he said. “I like all of the people that have been mentioned. I have a good relationship with most of them, as well. But some of them I don’t even know.”
Murray said he would not rule out appointing a female coach. “I’ve spoken to a few people, male and female,” he said. “I’ve also spoken to a couple of people to get some advice as well – also male and female, not people that are necessarily going to coach me, but people that could advise me on certain people. That’s it. I think that’s what most players do when they’re searching for a coach.”
He added: “I was coached by my mum for a long time. I have had her around at tournaments for a long time. There have been ex-players who have said: ‘Oh, your mum shouldn’t be around or she shouldn’t come and support you or come to watch.’ It’s silly. Everyone is entitled to have the team around them that they want. Everyone works very differently.”
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