HE MAY know Andy Murray’s weaknesses better than most but Dani Vallverdu, the Briton’s former coach, insists insider knowledge will have little bearing when his new employer Tomas Berdych faces the world No6 today.
Vallverdu, who met Murray while both were pupils at a Barcelona tennis school and went on to become a key part of his backroom team, teamed up with Berdych in December shortly after splitting from the Scot.
Murray has spoken of the advantage the Venezuelan’s unique insight will afford seventh seed Berdych when they contest an Australian Open semi-final this morning in Melbourne, though Vallverdu is less convinced.
“They both know each other pretty well, have played each other 10 times already and been at the top of the game for 10 years,” he said. “It’s not rocket science. They know each other very well and it’s just about Tomas executing the game plan like he has in the last few matches.”
Murray has looked back to grand slam-winning form in Melbourne, where he has dropped just one set on his quest to reach the final for a fourth time. Berdych, however, has not dropped any, has won six of their 10 previous meetings and is buoyant from an emphatic first career defeat of third seed Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.
“Mentally it’s a huge win,” added Vallverdu. “It also sends a strong message to the locker room. I think everyone probably watched that match and saw his determination and the manner on the court and his willingness to win. He is going to draw a lot from it.”
World No1 Novak Djokovic is set to meet defending champion Stan Wawrinka in the other semi-final tomorrow after they progressed in straight sets against Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori respectively.
Unseeded American 19-year-old Madison Keys, meanwhile, reached her first grand slam semi-final and ended the prospect of a Williams sisters showdown by beating Venus yesterday in three sets.