Tuesday 24 April 2018

Murray insists he has 'moved on' ahead of grudge match with Berdych

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Simon Briggs

'Kim Swears' was the exultant headline in one tabloid the last time Andy Murray came up against Tomas Berdych, his opponent in tonight's Miami Open semi-final.

At the eye of that storm in Melbourne sat Dani Vallverdu, Murray's former coaching assistant, who had just switched from one camp to the other. Although the two men have known each other since they were 15-year-olds at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, Vallverdu's departure had placed their friendship under strain.

In his own contrary way, Murray turned that tension into positive energy. Even his fiancee Kim Sears, previously seen as the fresh-faced embodiment of ladylike manners, was caught on camera aiming some juicy invective at Berdych.

Still, most storms blow over, particularly in the tropical climate of Miami. And as Murray explained after his victory over Dominic Thiem on Wednesday: "I've moved on from that for sure."

In fact, Vallverdu will be a guest at his wedding in just over a week.

Meanwhile, Jonas Bjorkman, whom Murray has engaged as Vallverdu's replacement, has booked in for his first training block in Barcelona the following week.

This tempestuous episode of musical chairs is drawing to a close.

"I chat with Dani most days when we're in the locker-room," Murray said. "In Melbourne it was a bit awkward in some ways, but now we're messaging each other after matches again."

As for Berdych, he has yet to win a title under Vallverdu's guidance, but he is fourth in the list of 2015's early points-scorers (behind Novak Djokovic, Murray and Stan Wawrinka).

Not content with signing one of Murray's former assistants, Berdych is also now working with fitness trainer Jez Green, who left Murray with Vallverdu.

And there is still no love lost between the two players. "We both came on the tour about the same time," Murray said, "but I don't really know him as well as a lot of the other guys."

Murray seems to be back in tune with himself. After a long drought in Masters Series tournaments, he has reached the semi-finals in back-to-back events, and is well placed to climb one position to No 3 when the next rankings are published on Monday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport