In Depth

Andy Murray shows his mettle as he tackles Mauresmo claims

Player beats Radek Stepanek in five sets at the French Open and then takes on the media over split with coach

Andy Murray provided not one, but two big performances at the French Open on Tuesday.

First he recovered from two sets down to beat the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek and then took on the media over his recent split with coach Amelie Mauresmo.

The Scot was in danger of a shock first-round defeat on Monday night, as his veteran rival took a two-set lead. But the world number two battled back to 2-1 before the close of play and picked up where he left off on Tuesday to win the fourth and fifth sets.

He then tackled some tough questions about the end of his relationship with coach Mauresmo.

The pair's two-year partnership came to an apparently amicable end earlier this month, but subsequent comments from the Frenchwoman were interpreted to mean she was uncomfortable with Murray's sometimes aggressive on-court demeanour.

Mauresmo described him as "complex" and "confusing" in an interview with French newspaper L'Equipe.

Murray was clearly unhappy with the way the story had grown and the sudden focus on his behaviour.

"In front of a rapt audience of media inquisitors – some of whom he clearly has viewed with suspicion in recent days – the world number two calmly deconstructed the tale of what had grown organically from just another professional break-up into one of the great sporting divorces of modern times," says Kevin Mitchell in The Guardian.

Murray told the journalists: "Me and Amelie have a very good relationship and I don't think it's fair to try to say otherwise."

Referring to an interview he gave before Mauresmo's comments were published, he added: "I've supposedly been 'hitting back' at Amelie's comments, disagreeing with everything she said and that we had a really tough break-up.

"Simply, it is not true. When we sat down in Madrid, anyone who says it was heated is lying and was not there. It was far from heated."

As to his on-court issues, he said: "When I'm losing I get very frustrated. When I'm winning, obviously I'm happier. I don't know if that's complex or not. It's actually quite simple, to me, anyway."

He also pointed out that he had used his frustration to good effect against Stepanek.

Murray's press conference was "was a real cri de coeur, following on from his ninth career comeback from a two-set deficit", says Simon Briggs of the Daily Telegraph.

Before the tournament, the paper's Charlie Eccleshare praised the player for his "eloquent and outspoken" approach and willingness to tackle "delicate topics" in an era when most sports stars resort to "platitudes and cliches".

His performance in front of the press provided more evidence of that.

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