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Fiery Murray is learning to keep a lid on his emotions

By Paul Newman

Published 24/05/2016

In the balance: Andy Murray has admitted to feeling embarrassed when watching footage of his on-court outbursts
In the balance: Andy Murray has admitted to feeling embarrassed when watching footage of his on-court outbursts

Andy Murray insists that his on-court shouting in the general direction of his entourage is not aimed at his coach or any of his team.

The Scot, who will resume his opening match at the French Open against Radek Stepanek this afternoon after bad light halted play last night with the Czech 6-3 6-3 0-6 2-4 ahead, said that expressing emotions on court was a positive for him, though he admitted he was working hard to control them.

Amelie Mauresmo, who was Murray's coach until they parted company earlier this month, hinted at the weekend that his on-court behaviour had been a factor in their split. She said he was a complex character and that the difference between his behaviour on court and off it could be "disconcerting".

But Murray has now revealed that he has been working hard in recent weeks to improve his on-court behaviour, without wanting to cut out all emotion from his game.

He said that in the past he had played badly in matches where he remained silent and did not express his emotions.

"They were horrible matches," he said. "I was flat. I need to find the right balance. I don't find it every day but for the last three weeks I've been getting there."

Murray said that when he shouted in the general direction of his entourage, "it's not against my coach or my team. I'm very often criticising myself. I'm having a go at myself. But I'm not just accepting this situation. I've been working on it for years. I'm trying to be better."

He admitted that he had sometimes felt embarrassed after matches when he had seen footage of himself screaming in the direction of his entourage, but insisted: "You must try to understand that a lot of things happen to us on the court.

"The way you react is not necessarily linked to what you are really feeling deep down. This is sport. It's hard. There is pressure. Things aren't perfect."

The World No.2 said that when his coaches sat away from their usual positions during matches it was not always his idea. "Sometimes it's the coach's idea because they do not want to be a distraction for me," he said.

Mauresmo had sat away from the rest of his entourage during his match against Grigor Dimitrov at the Miami Masters earlier this year. At the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November his team sat high up at the O2 Arena, rather than next to the court, during his match against Stan Wawrinka.

The idea had been that if Murray was unhappy with the game plan, he would be unable to complain to the coaches about it because they were not courtside. However, Murray said the fact that he had lost both matches proved that it changed nothing.

"That can't be an excuse," he said. "It's easy to blame something like that. I've never heard anyone say I've won matches because I was expressing anger towards my box, which enabled me to get rid of my frustration."

Murray added that he needed to find the right balance in expressing his emotions on court.

"Some people say it's a positive thing when I don't show my emotions, when I'm completely in control of them," he said. "Others say the opposite. It's very difficult to know where the truth lies. What's most important is knowing whether being emotional makes me play worse."

The Scot said he did not think that staying silent in matches was a positive thing for him.

"I need to express things," he said. "That also means expressing good emotions."

Murray admitted that he had started being more emotional on court when he went to train at the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona as a teenager, although he added that he had always been a fierce competitor who quickly got frustrated.

"Even if I won I was demonstrative," he said. "I don't know where it comes from. Is it me, the situation? Are things influencing me? It's something that has been in me since I was 11 or 12."

Belfast Telegraph

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