Paul Annacone denies a history of bad blood between Andy Murray and Roger Federer

ROGER Federer and Andy Murray get on just fine, according to the 16-time grand slam champion’s coach Paul Annacone.

While Federer and great rival Rafael Nadal have always had a remarkably genial relationship considering their on-court battles, the Swiss and Murray are regarded as much less friendly.

The British No 1 is a huge admirer of Nadal and has publicly backed him in the debate over who is the best player of all time, while Federer has, on occasion, appeared to belittle Murray.

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The most recent incident came before the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, when Federer questioned the significance of Murray’s run of three straight tournament victories in Asia.

Annacone, though, poured cold water on the rumours, telling www.thetennisspace.com: “Roger has the utmost respect for Andy and really understands the complex environment Andy lives in with the media. I have read some things that have been written, but as my old protege Pete Sampras said, ‘believe nothing of what you read and only half of what you see’.

“It makes for much better reading, and some would say even a better competitive environment, if there is animosity and angst between players, but really my feeling is that they get along fine.”

Annacone, meanwhile, became the latest figure within the game to back Murray to break his grand slam duck and argued the subtleties of the Scot’s game may explain why he has not done so thus far.

The American, a former coach of Tim Henman and head coach at the Lawn Tennis Association, added: “He is a tremendously gifted athlete and has a very complex game, mentally and physically. He continues to mature and get better, so I will be surprised if he does not win a grand slam title.”

Murray was due to play Australian teenager Bernard Tomic in the early hours of this morning in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International tournament, having shifted up a gear in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Marcos Baghdatis 24 hours earlier.

Murray dropped the opening sets in his first two rounds as he overcame soreness and stiffness from the off-season, but had no serious difficulty dispatching doubles partner Baghdatis in little more than an hour.

Murray saved both break points he faced against Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up, and converted all four of his own. After a difficult service game to hold in the fourth game of the second set, Murray broke in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.

He earned triple break point two games later after a scrambling rally which included a shot between his legs that caught Baghdatis off guard and secured a 5-2 lead on the next point when he successfully challenged a baseline call. “I played very well today, moved very well from the start, which wasn’t the case in the last two matches,” Murray said. “The aches and pains I had from the first two matches have gone, so it’s good.”

Tomic, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last year, converted the only break-point chance of his quarter-final to beat Dennis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).