MELBOURNE (Reuters) - With all the off-court chatter focusing on the influence of his ex-coach and present coach, Andy Murray sent out an emphatic message by reaching his fourth Australian Open final on Thursday.
The Briton recovered from a blistering start by Tomas Berdych to reach the title decider with a 6-7, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 victory that should silence those who questioned his decision to appoint Amelie Mauresmo as his coach.
"A lot of people were criticising her at the end of last year, like the way I was playing was her fault when I'd spent two weeks training with her up to the end of the year," sixth seed Murray said of the twice grand slam winner who was hired last June to replace Ivan Lendl.
"There was very little time to spend with each other (so) there's no reason for her to be criticised for anything.
"I'm very thankful to Amelie for doing it. It was a brave choice from her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a few days (because) I think we have shown that women are very good coaches," added Murray, who now awaits the winner of Friday's second semi-final between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and champion Stan Wawrinka.
The build-up to the semi-final against Berdych had also been peppered with extra tension after the Czech appointed Dani Vallverdu - a former member of Murray's coaching team - as his coach last month.
"A lot was made about Dani Vallverdu, my former coach, working with Tomas," Murray said in a courtside interview.
"But we've been friends since we were 15 years old and I felt that the focus was unfair and unnecessary."
While Murray said the decision to appoint Mauresmo had been vindicated, with the Scot reaching his first major final since his 2013 Wimbledon triumph, his victory over Berdych and the fourth-round win over 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov also put paid to any concerns about his recovery from back surgery in 2013.