Defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has appointed Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach for the grass-court season. Murray has been without a coach since March, when he parted ways with eight-time major winner Ivan Lendl.
Lendl had coached Murray to Olympic gold at the London 2012 Games, as well as the US Open title the same year and last year's Wimbledon crown. Murray, 27, will defend that crown this month following a semi-final exit at the French Open on Friday under the Mauresmo's guidance.
It is rare indeed that a woman is appointed to coach such a top-level male tennis player and Mauresmo admitted the call came as a surprise.
“Andy contacted me a few weeks ago and we started to talk about this possibility to be working together," she said. "It was a little bit of a surprise, to be honest. It’s not really something that I was thinking [of] doing when I stopped being a tennis player."
Of the gender issue, the two-time Grand Slam champion added: "That's not my big concern right now. I want to help Andy. It's the only thing that I have in mind right now. I know it's a major event in the world of tennis - in the world of sports as well. It's a professional goal for me - this is what I'm interested in.
"It’s probably something that you have to ask him at some point, why he made this choice. We all know his mother was a big part of his tennis career. I think he’s maybe looking for something different, about emotions and sensitive things. It’s not really interesting for me, this part of the story, to be honest. All I’m interested in is to be able to help him in his goals. That’s about it. The rest is the story is for you to write, I guess. For me, it’s a challenge. I want to take it.”
TWEET: Monday's Times back page - "Murray puts his future in hands of Mauresmo" #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCpapers
WHAT THE STARS SAID
Ana Ivanovic: "It's exciting and pushes tennis in a different direction. Amelie was such a great champion, so I'm sure she can help him. I know it's a little unorthodox but if it works for him that's what matters the most. It's great for women's tennis. It shows we can be as powerful as males and maybe on the girls' tour there will be more female coaches now."
Pat Cash: "It's very unusual. I'm not sure how she's going to get in the locker room. I think a few eyebrows will be raised. You know, she's got all the credentials, of course. She's smart, she's got a great game and Andy's not going just to pick somebody for no reason - he's going to have done his homework; so it's a matter of him putting it together in his brain and if she can add something there I think it's a great choice. Most people will probably be surprised but it may well work."
TWEET: From a coaching perspective does it matter if you're a man or woman? A lot of coaches on tour haven't even played tennis before
WHAT MAURESMO SAID
Murray is to be commended for taking such an open-minded approach, but he won't have done so in some bold attempt to smash a tennis glass ceiling: he has appointed Mauresmo because he feels she is the best person for the job, and we cannot wait to see how it plays out, starting with the defence of his Wimbledon title.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Murray will attempt to win Queen's for a fourth time when he begins the defence of his title this week. Murray has a bye in the first round and could face Bernard Tomic in the third round. Then the real business at Wimbledon begins on June 23 where Murray and his new coach will attempt to repeat the heroic feat of last year when he ended that famous wait for a British male champion in SW19.
TWEET: It doesn't matter whether #AndyMurray employs a male or female coach, but I admit to a frisson of delight that he's chosen Amelie Mauresmo.
WHAT THE PAPERS SAY
Mike Dickson, Daily Mail: "Andy Murray showed that he is quite prepared to think outside the box by appointing Ivan Lendl, and now he has done it again by appointing Amelie Mauresmo. The move, the likelihood of which was revealed 11 days ago in Sportsmail, is a groundbreaking one which will make his campaign to defend his Wimbledon title all the more fascinating. Although initially denied, there always seemed to be something in it when she turned up to watch the whole of his first match at the French Open and reputable sources suggested that contact had been made between them."
Simon Briggs, Daily Telegraph: "Who would have guessed that, 15 minutes before one of the most anticipated grand slam finals of recent times, Amelie Mauresmo should have packed out the interview room at Roland Garros on Sunday as she discussed her new role as Andy Murray’s coach? In a career full of unexpected twists, Murray has surprised us many times, but this was one of the most remarkable stories yet. There have been women in coaching before. Jimmy Connors’s mother, Gloria, was always by his side, and Billie Jean King spent a short period working with former top-10 player Tim Mayotte. But for Murray to pull Mauresmo’s name out of a long list of possible candidates came as a shock, even after she had launched a week of speculation by sitting in the stands throughout his first-round French Open meeting with Andrey Golubev."
- Sports & Recreation
- Andy Murray
- Amelie Mauresmo
- Ivan Lendl