Andy Murray is preparing to defend his title at Wimbledon. (Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
After months of speculation, Andy Murray has announced on his web site that he has hired two-time Grand Slam Amelie Mauresmo as his coach for the grass-court season. Murray showed that he had a penchant for making non-traditional hires for his coaches when he brought on Ivan Lendl, and this only furthers that trend.
Murray has been without a coach for nearly three months since splitting with Lendl, but Mauresmo will step into her new role just in time for the Brit to prepare to defend his Wimbledon title. It will not be a full-time appointment but the two have committed to a schedule that includes a "significant amount of weeks together."
“I’m excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired," Murray said. "She’s faced adversity plenty of times in her career, but was an amazing player and won major titles, including Wimbledon.”
"I think he's maybe looking for something different, about emotions and sensitive things," Mauresmo said, in a press conference held in Paris on Sunday. Asked repeatedly about the gender dynamics of the hire, Mauresmo dismissed the intrigue. "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. ... But, yeah, for me it's a challenge. I want to take it."
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We should have all known this was coming when Murray listed Mauresmo as the only woman starting on his soccer team made up of tennis players. Mauresmo was tight-lipped when asked about what she can add to Murray's game. Since retiring, Mauresmo has taken up commentary positions for French television and currently serves as France's Fed Cup captain.
Mauresmo's name had been floating around as one of the many names Murray was considering but the general consensus among the British press was that he would go a different route. But early in the tournament Murray was asked about why he might consider a female coach and his comments align with Mauresmo's.
"I think when you get a lot of men in a room, there’s often quite a lot of egos involved,” Murray told a small pool of British reporters. “And communication can sometimes be quite difficult because not everyone listens; when there’s an argument it can sometimes get heated rather than actually everyone sort of just staying calm. I think in those situations, women can listen a bit better and take things on board easier than guys. I think from a communication point of view, it would probably be pretty good.”
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Murray said he wasn't bothered when asked whether he would be concerned about the reaction in the locker room if he hired a female coach.
“I don’t really care whether some of the other male players like it or not," he said. "That’s not something that really bothers me.
“I was coached by my mum for a long time. I have had her around at tournaments for a long time. There has been ex‑players and stuff that have said, ‘Oh, your mum shouldn’t be around or she shouldn’t come and support you or come to watch.’ That’s silly.
“Everyone is entitled to have the team around them that they want. Everyone works very differently. Some men might not work well with a female. Some men might work well with a female coach. It’s just whatever your preference is and whatever your needs are.”