Calm Murray faces Federer in semis Down Under

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“He’s calm on the court. He was so concentrated, and had so much intensity from the start. Right away, I was in difficulty. And during the whole match, he never dropped his level.”

Murray’s intensity on court diminishes only slightly in his news conferences where he is modest, polite and mild-mannered. He said he was pleased to reach the 12th Grand Slam semifinal of his career.

“I thought I did a pretty good job throughout the match,” he said. “I can’t be disappointed about being in the semis of a slam without dropping a set. That would be silly.”

Murray reached the Australian Open semifinals last year, losing to Djokovic. He has made the Melbourne finals on two occasions, losing to Djokovic in 2011 and Federer in 2010.

Before arriving in Melbourne last year, Murray teamed up with tennis great Ivan Lendl. His coaching has helped produce a new aggressiveness and willingness to take chances on court.

Under Lendl’s tutelage, Murray made his breakthrough.

He became the first man to win at the Olympics and U.S. Open in the same year. His win at Flushing Meadows made him the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam _ and lifted an enormous burden.

“I kind of maybe always felt like I was having to prove something every time I went on court because I hadn’t won a slam,” Murray said before the tournament started. “It’s nice to not have to worry about that anymore.”

After his Wednesday quarterfinal, Murray dismissed comments in the British media that he was upset by having to play all day matches in the hot sun while Federer was given cooler night slots during prime-time viewing hours on center court.

“I have no complaints about the schedule at all, and I didn’t complain about it the other day,” Murray said. “Sometimes it works in your favor and sometimes it doesn’t.”

The Federer-Tsonga quarterfinal was held Wednesday night at a packed Rod Laver Arena. But instead of studying his next opponent, Murray said he planned to practice at a nearby court.

“Rather than going and watching this match, I’ll go out and hit some balls under the lights to be as best prepared as possible,” he said.

Asked if he felt prepared to go against his old rivals, Murray replied: “Hopefully, I will go into the matches a little bit calmer than usual or then I have in the past.”

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