Andy Murray: 'French Open fans are tough on players'

World No. 1 not first to feel Roland Garros heat

(CNN) - Andy Murray is the first to acknowledge he's "just not playing good tennis" right now, but the world No. 1 has more than just clay-court travails to worry about ahead of this month's French Open.

Traveling to Roland Garros on the back of consecutive defeats, Murray singled out the discerning Parisian crowds, telling CNN the atmosphere differs drastically to other tournaments.

"I think the fans are tough on the players," said the Scot. "They love good tennis.

"They are very knowledgeable and if a player maybe isn't giving his best effort or is behaving badly, the crowd will let you know about that."

He's not the first to feel the heat.

Before cementing himself as the undisputed king of clay, an 18-year-old Rafa Nadal was critical of the etiquette on Philippe Chatrier Court, telling reporters "the crowd really didn't behave as maybe they should when watching a tennis match."

He may have been up against a home favorite in Sébastien Grosjean, but even French players have noted the weight of expectation.

"They're very demanding if you're not winning," said Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, suggesting "if you lose ... you're going to pay for it."

'Extremely demanding'

Murray has labored on the clay in years gone by, admitting he "never felt comfortable moving on it."

From turning pro to 2014, he went 63-37 on the surface, holding a win percentage of just 63%, despite nurturing his talent on the red dirt of Barcelona's Sanchez-Casal Academy as a junior.

"I think it's physically extremely demanding," said Murray. "A lot of the grand slams are but I just think the nature of the surface makes it different.

"Mentally it becomes difficult too if you're very tired and you play long points, long rallies. There's a lot of ups and downs in the matches because of the clay."

Just over two years ago, Murray had never won an ATP clay-court event.

He promptly won two in a week -- capturing both Munich's BMW Open and the Mutua Madrid Open.

They were titles that gave him confidence on the surface, comprising victories against Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Nadal.

"I've definitely improved on the clay over the years," said Murray. "It's not my best surface but I've spent a lot of time working on my game and my movement."

"I would feel like it had an effect on the rest of my tennis, so I've tried to work a lot on that."

Murray is steadfast in his belief that he has "played some of the best clay court tennis of all the players" in this period.

And, aided by three-time French Open champion Ivan Lendl, Murray's results at the year's second grand slam have steadily improved, capped by a first final in 2016.

An imperious Novak Djokovic may have surged to overcome him last June, but Murray was valiant in defeat, capturing the hearts of the French faithful.

The three-time major winner will hope he can please the spectators and go one further in the coming weeks.

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