Paris, France: World number two Andy Murray scotched reports of a rift with former coach Amelie Mauresmo after recovering from a two-set deficit against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek to reach the French Open second round on Tuesday.
Murray battled past the 37-year-old Stepanek 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 after play was held over from Monday when the match was suspended due to darkness.
But the Scot, who parted ways with Mauresmo earlier this month after a two-year partnership, denied there had been a falling out with the Frenchwoman.
"Me and Amelie have a very good relationship, and I don't think it's fair to try to say otherwise," said Murray, who had been labelled as "complex" by Mauresmo in interview with French newspaper L'Equipe.
Mauresmo added that Murray's on-court behaviour could often contrast his demeanour off it, but the second seed rejected that as a reason for their split.
"When we sat down in Madrid...it was far from heated. We spoke very calmly the whole time. And to say that the reason that we stopped working together is because of my behaviour on the court, that is not true.
"In Madrid when we spoke, we didn't discuss that one time.
"That's what was most disappointing for me is that the reason we stopped working together...was the fact that we literally were spending hardly any time together in a three-month period right before major events coming up."
Second seed Murray stunned Novak Djokovic to win the Rome Masters the weekend before last, but he struggled mightily against the crafty Stepanek on Court Phillipe Chatrier.
The Scot dropped serve twice in the opening set to fall behind and Stepanek, the oldest player in the draw, called upon his vast experience to carve out a two-set lead.
Murray though showed his resolve and raced through the third set in just 18 minutes as former world number eight Stepanek began to lose his way in the fading light.
The Scot charged into a 4-2 lead in the fourth set before play was halted on Monday, but Murray returned to polish it off and force a decider when play resumed Tuesday.
Stepanek held firm as Murray failed to convert break points in the first and fifth games of the final set, but the Czech eventually cracked at 5-all with Murray sealing a dramatic comeback victory.
It was Murray's ninth comeback from two sets down at the majors.
"He's always been extremely difficult to play," said Murray after a contest that lasted three hours 41 minutes.
"He was playing drop shots, hitting the ball very flat, it was very difficult to get into a rhythm. That's credit to him and the way he played."
Murray conceded there had been little margin for error once play resumed in more overcast conditions on Tuesday, barely more than 12 hours later.
"Today was pretty, you know, stressful. Kind of an hour and a half I think we were on the court, something like that.
"It's never easy playing a match over two days. Especially when it ended up kind of being just a one-set shootout really in the end.
"It wasn't the best tennis. I didn't expect it to be pretty today, but I just wanted to get through.
"Both of us had chances in the fifth set. Thankfully I was able to take mine at the end when he made a couple of mistakes."
Stepanek, bidding to become the oldest winner of a match at Roland Garros since 38-year-old Jimmy Connors in 1991, remained proud of his efforts despite falling just short of recording a huge shock.
"Overall incredible match. Tough battle. Can be proud of what a game I played, you know, pushing Andy to the corner," said Stepanek.
"After what he's done on clay this year, it's definitely great also motivation for me for upcoming weeks. You know, I gave it all. I have no regrets."
Murray, a three-time Roland Garros semi-finalist, will play 164th-ranked French wildcard Mathias Bourgue for a place in the last 32.
Published Date: May 25, 2016 15:17 PM | Updated Date: May 25, 2016 15:17 PM