At different stages of his career both worked wonders for Murray
as he broke into the upper echelons of men's tennis and then, after
some close shaves, delivered two grand slam titles and an Olympic
While those two appointments appeared self-explanatory, his choice
of former Wimbledon women's singles champion Amelie Mauresmo, as his
new coach, is an intriguing one and it dominated the chat on Monday
as the grasscourt season moved into full swing.
"She was a great player, a thinker, and I'm sure any path Andy wants
to take she can help him along," former grand slam champion Mats
Wilander said at Queen's Club.
Murray, too, is a deep-thinker about his tennis, a player who has
never been afraid to do things his own way.
While the carrot and stick approach employed by Gilbert, the man who
wrote a book called 'Winning Ugly', and Lendl's straight talking
helped the 27-year-old Scot take huge strides, it appears he has now
reached that stage in his career when he wants a gentler presence in
"I have started to listen to my body a lot more because, over the
years, you start to pick up some things," defending Wimbledon
champion Murray, who had back surgery last year, told the BBC when
the questions inevitably turned to his new coach.
"I think it's important that the people you work with respect and
understand and listen, you know, to how you're feeling, as well,
because you can't just be pushed extremely hard every single day.
"I need to pick my moments during the year where I really go for it
in training. That was one of the reasons... For me, it didn't feel a
strange thing to do."
So few tennis players, male or female, hire female coaches that
Murray's decision was bound to have some scratching their heads.
But, he said, he does not care what others think.
"A few people have come up to me and sort of asked if it was
serious," he said." But I don't really care whether they think it's
a good or bad appointment. It's whether it works well for me and my
team, and hopefully it will be a good move for my career."
Murray's decision to go with Mauresmo could cause some logistical
issues as she will not be allowed in the men's locker room at
Wimbledon, where Murray will defend his title later this month.
"I mean, obviously, you can't sit down and chat in there, but
there's enough places where you can chat. The players' lounge is
pretty large," Murray said.
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In a quirk of the draw at the Aegon Championships this week at
Queen's Club, Murray's first opponent will be Mauresmo's compatriot
Paul-Henri Mathieu, who welcomed the news.
"I think she has a lot of experience in the game, and for sure, she
loves tennis," Mathieu told reporters. "She always played with a
passion and, I think, like Andy.
"I don't think it's bad. Maybe we're going to see more and more.
But I like the fact that Amelie is going to train Andy. Going to
bring something new in our sport."
The tranquil surrounds of Queen's Club, where Murray is also
defending champion this week, will provide a low-key start for
Mauresmo in her new role, but she can expect the TV cameras to be
trained on her every facial expression once Wimbledon begins.
In her playing career, she was not always comfortable with the
pressure of her home slam at Roland Garros, but Murray sees their
shared experiences as a positive.
"I think she was quite open and struggled a bit with the pressure
(at the French Open)," Murray said of the 34-year-old wine
connoisseur who is also France's Fed Cup captain.
"Someone that's been through those experiences themselves maybe
would have handled things differently.
"I'm not sure, but it's good to have someone to talk to about those
things and those feelings. And, you know, she's won Wimbledon
herself -- and it will be interesting."
Murray's first match under Mauresmo's watchful gaze will be on
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Tim Collings)
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