A coach can turn a world-class athlete into a champion.
Andy Murray’s previous coach Ivan Lendl was with improving Murray’s maturity and consistency. Under Lendl’s guidance, the Scot secured two Grand Slam titles – the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 – secured an Olympic Gold at London 2012 and ending a 77-year long wait for a British tennis player to win a Grand Slam major along the way.
When Lendl and Murray parted ways in spring 2014 ending a successful two year partnership, Murray appointed former women’s world number one, Amelie Mauresmo as coach.
For Andy, this may be exactly what he needs. No doubt a few eyebrows will have been raised but that won’t bother Murray. A young Andy and elder brother Jamie was coached by mother Judy and the British number one has always had a strong female influence on his career. Judy is ever-present in the players box at her son’s matches.
In a an interview with BBC sport last year at Queen’s, Murray revealed “I’ve found with my mum especially, that she listens extremely well and that was something that I felt right now, I needed,” he said.
I’ve started to listen to my body a lot more and I think it’s important that the people you work with respect that and understand and listen to how you are feeling. You can’t just be pushed extremely hard every single day. I need to pick my moments during the year when I really go for it in training.”
Amelie Mauresmo’s appointment has sparked excitement throughout the tennis world and reaction was largely optimistic.
“It’s exciting and and pushes tennis in a different direction. Amelie was such a great champion, so I’m sure she can help” said Ana Ivanovic. “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 show we can be as powerful as males and may be on the girls tour there will be more female coaches now”.
“It’s a bold call, certainly an interesting one. Amelie knows knows her tennis and time will tell whether it turns out to be a good match.” Former world number one Jim Courier said. “He’s come up with his mother as his coach from a very young age so he’s comfortable hearing from both genders about his tennis.”
Six time Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King points out: ” Its not the gender of the coach that is important, it is the strength of the relationship between the coach and the player that will make the partnership work.
Murray speaks glowingly of Mauresmo, “I’m excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired,” the Scot said. “She’s faced adversity plenty of times in her career, but was an amazing player and won major titles, including Wimbledon.” I have a very strong coaching team already in place, but I think Amelie brings with her experience and tactical expertise and will push us all to improve”.
I’ve always had a strong female influence in my career. With my mum especially she listened extremely well and that’s something I needed right now”.
Mauresmo was a world class player. As well as her achievement on the tennis circuit which includes Wimbledon and Australian Open Slam titles, the former world number one is now carving a fledgling coaching career as coach having coached Frenchman, Michael Llodra during the 201 grass court season, former women’s number 1 Victoria Azarenka and Marion Bartoli during her Wimbledon triumphant in 2013.
Mauresmo is said to have a good sense of humour, something hat is important to Murray and brings her the experience of having won two Grand Slam titles and the World Number One ranking.
The new Tennis season is now well and truly underway and this week the Australian Open starts down under as thousands flock to Melbourne to catch a piece of the action at one of the major events on the Tennis calendar. Once again, British hopes will be resting on Andy Murray.
It’s a brand new year and appointing Mauresmo as coach is a defining moment for Andy and sport in general. Appointing Mauresmo may be the missing jigsaw for Andy Murray to push on to greater honours and Mauresmo’s appointment giant step forward step for women’s tennis and sport in general. Hopefully it shows women can be just as powerful as men and there’ll be more women coaches on the circuit.
BY - Kritt Normsaskul
21 January 2015