Fresh off a semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, Andy Murray has found the coach who will be responsible to get him ready for Wimbledon.
As many expected, Murray officially hired Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach Sunday. BBC Sport first reported the move:
BREAKING: Andy Murray has appointed Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach #bbctennis— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 8, 2014
Mauresmo, 34, was seen in the stands for Murray's matches throughout his French Open run. Mike Dickson of The Daily Mail reported late last month that sources close to the situation expected Mauresmo to land the coaching post full-time.
Murray parted ways with Ivan Lendl in March. Lendl and Murray's partnership was the most successful of the Scot's career. He captured his first two major championships and won the 2012 gold medal at the London Olympics—a run that saw him enter the conversation with Nadal and Novak Djokovic for the world's best player. Long standing on the doorstep of contention, Lendl can be credited for finally pushing Murray over the edge.
It will now be up to Mauresmo to ensure he returns to that position.
Murray's time at the top of his sport last year was short lived following a back injury. He missed four months after undergoing a procedure to fix a disc problem that had bothered him for more than a year and has struggled to regain his form since returning.
The 27-year-old, who last year became the first British man to win at Wimbledon in 77 years, has yet to win a tournament in 2014. The French Open was just his second semifinal of the season; he has not made a final thus far. That recent run has seen Murray fall from No. 4 in the world to No. 8 and all discussions about whether he can top Nadal and Djokovic have largely ceased.
Nadal defeated Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in a semifinal romp on Friday. The win gives Nadal an all-time 66-1 record at Roland Garros, including wins over Murray two of the last four years. Though obviously frustrated, Murray seemed anxious to get to the grass court season—and specifically for revenge versus the world No. 1.
“I would like to play him on the grass, for sure,” Murray told reporters. “That would mean going deep into the tournament. Someone told me I would be seeded in the top-four now, so that would mean getting to the semis or the final. I would like to play him soon.”
Mauresmo, a former No. 1 player, won at the All England Club in 2006. She has been retired since 2009, serving as a part-time coach ever since. She has worked with Michael Llodra, Victoria Azarenka and Marion Bartoli. With Azarenka, Mauresmo helped lead the Belarusan to a bronze medal in London and a U.S. Open final.
Murray will be her first top-tier male mentee. As Christopher Clarey of The New York Times pointed out, though, Murray has long had experience working with an opposite-gender coach:
Andy Murray, coached by a strong woman in his youth, hires another one to coach him on grass this season: Amelie Mauresmo. Via @bbctennis— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) June 8, 2014
It will be interesting to see how quickly Mauresmo can get Murray back into form. He looked fine for the most part at Roland Garros, but it was obvious he's still not at his peak. He needed five sets to take down Gael Monfils and Philipp Kohlschreiber in Paris, draining matches that undoubtedly hurt his stamina heading into the semis.
With the weight of an entire region on his shoulders at Wimbledon, Murray will need to take care of business against lesser talents. The only bad thing about breaking his region's drought at the year's third major is now being expected to come back and do it again.
Getting him ready for that now lies at the feet of Mauresmo.
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