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Australian Open: Battling Andy Murray shows his emotions on and off court

By Paul Newman

Andy Murray can be his own harshest critic. The world No 2 is through to his sixth Australian Open semi-final despite all the off-court distractions he has had to contend with in recent days but admitted last night: "I'm not particularly proud of the way I've handled myself on the court. I don't think that my behaviour on the court has been impeccable."

Murray, who will face Milos Raonic tomorrow after beating David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 in his quarter-final yesterday, believes he has been letting his emotions get the better of him on too many occasions.

"I've showed a lot of emotion on court and getting upset from the start of matches," he said.

"One thing I've done very well is fight for every single point and not given away games. Even when I've been broken, I've fought hard in the next game and made it very difficult for my opponents.

"Although I'm not exactly being very positive with myself, I'm still very difficult for my opponents and I'm fighting hard for every point. So that's good. I'm more proud of how I've handled myself away from the court. I think I've probably dealt with everything away from the court better than I have on it."

The way Murray has handled the dramas he has faced off-court has impressed those around him. As if being away from home for six weeks just before his wife is about to give birth to their first child has not been challenging enough, the Scot also had to cope with his father-in-law's health issues after Nigel Sears collapsed during a match here on Saturday evening.

Murray's coach Amelie Mauresmo said: "We know right now it's a little bit complicated for him, lots of things to deal with, so there are ups and downs.

"But I feel he's strong considering he's going through many different emotional states and yet he's still beaten Ferrer after a huge fight. Right now, it's a big performance. We're all here. He knows he can count on us."

Murray agreed that off-court events had made this tournament particularly tough. "I've never experienced anything like that whilst I've been in a competition," he said. "Things have obviously happened, like with family at other stages, but not in the middle of a Grand Slam and with Kim obviously heavily pregnant as well. I've never experienced anything like it before. The last few days were difficult, for sure."

Murray thought he had played his best tennis of the tournament so far in beating Ferrer. "I started hitting the ball better from the back of the court," he said. "I felt like at the end of the match I was playing some good stuff, moving well."

Tomorrow's match will be Murray's fourth semi-final appearance in the last five Grand Slam tournaments. "You want to try to get to the latter stages to give yourself opportunities," he said. "After a tough year in 2014, I think I'm now established again at the top of the game and giving myself chances."

Raonic, who beat Gael Monfils, won three of his first four meetings with Murray, but the Scot has won the last two. Murray also won their only previous meeting at Grand Slam level at the 2012 US Open.

The 25-year-old Canadian, who has a huge serve, has long been regarded as the best of the next generation of players but his progress stalled through 2015 because of a foot injury. The world No 14 made changes to his coaching team over the close season, replacing Ivan Ljubicic with Carlos Moya, and is unbeaten so far this year, having won the Brisbane International in the first week of the season.

"He's is a big server and tries to play short points," Murray said. "He was unfortunate last year with some injuries. He had a few physical issues. I played him in Madrid and he was struggling a little bit there. Then I think he had the surgery on his foot and missed the French Open. He's obviously fit and healthy now and playing well."

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