Amelie Mauresmo looking forward to challenge of helping Andy Murray retain his Wimbledon crown rather than breaking the mould of coaching a male player
Mauresmo is the first female coach to pair up with one of the world's leading male players
Sunday 08 June 2014
Amelie Mauresmo sees the challenge of coaching Andy Murray as helping him win more grand slam titles rather than being a woman in a man's world.
The Wimbledon champion is not afraid to break the mould and has certainly done so again by hiring the Frenchwoman to be his new coach, initially for the grass-court season.
Many names have been put forward since Ivan Lendl decided in March he no longer wanted to dedicate the time to the partnership that he had for the previous two years.
The spotlight first shone on Mauresmo when she was spotted watching Murray's first-round match against Andrey Golubev at the French Open last week.
She initially played down the speculation, but said at a packed press conference at Roland Garros on Sunday: "Andy contacted me a few weeks ago and we started to talk about this possibility to work together.
"It's not really something that I was thinking doing when I stopped being a tennis player. Then we talked again a little bit more about his game, about different things.
"We came up with the will from both sides to to give it a shot."
Female coaches are relatively rare in professional tennis as a whole but certainly on the men's tour.
Mauresmo is one of the few women to have coached a man that they were not related to after helping Michael Llodra during the grass-court season in 2010 - she was also a key figure in Marion Bartoli's shock Wimbledon triumph last year.
Marion Bartoli after winning Wimbledon in 2013 Mikhail Kukushkin is coached by his wife and Dmitry Tursunov by his mother, while, of high-profile former players, Gloria Connors was a hugely influential figure in son Jimmy's career.
Former top-10 player Andrei Chesnokov was coached by Tatiana Naumko for virtually his whole career and Billie Jean King briefly coached Tim Mayotte.
Mauresmo, though, is not focusing on the trailblazing aspect of her new role.
She said: "I guess it is a big story to write on and a step forward.
"But honestly, it's not my big concern right now. I'm happy about this new challenge. I want to help Andy. It's the only thing that I have in mind.
"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. All I'm interested in is to be able to help him in his goals. For me it's a challenge."
Mauresmo's first tournament with Murray will be the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club, which starts on Monday, as the Scot begins the build-up to the defence of his Wimbledon title.
Although the arrangement is initially for the grass-court season, Mauresmo, who will continue in her role as France's Fed Cup captain for now at least, revealed they have already agreed on "a significant amount of weeks".
The 34-year-old understands to a certain extent what Murray goes through at SW19 having been under huge pressure to win the French Open in her career.
Mauresmo won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon during her esteemed career She never managed it but did win both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006, two years after she first held the world number one ranking.
Mauresmo was a hugely talented and clever player who had a lot of variety in her game, another similarity with Murray.
There will certainly be a lot of attention on her shoulders, but she said: "I think he has the most pressure. That's for sure when you're a player, and I know what it is.
"The whole point is for him is to win more grand slams. Of course he's going to defend his title at Wimbledon. That's his number one priority. It's not going to be something easy. I'll help him as best as I can."
Murray is already practising on grass in London after his French Open thrashing by Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals on Friday.
He said in a statement: "I'm excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired.
"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.
"Everyone I know talks very highly of Amelie, as a person and coach, and I'm convinced that her joining the team will help us push on - I want to win more grand slams."
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