A long-term deal appears to be imminent, but for the moment Andy Murray and Amelié Mauresmo are continuing to take their coaching relationship one Grand Slam tournament at a time. Murray, who initially asked Mauresmo to coach him on a trial basis during the grass-court season, has now agreed to continue with their arrangement through to the end of his north American hard-court campaign, though he insists he wants to work with her “for longer than post-US Open, for sure”.
Murray returns to competition in his first tournament since Wimbledon at this week’s Toronto Masters, which will feature all the top names in the men’s game with the exception of Rafael Nadal, who has a wrist injury. The Cincinnati Masters follows next week, with the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, the US Open, beginning on 25 August.
Although a long-term contract has yet to be agreed, Murray expects to be working with Mauresmo for the foreseeable future. There had been some dissatisfaction among Murray’s entourage over his failure to consult them on Mauresmo’s initial recruitment, which was announced a fortnight before the start of Wimbledon. Dani Vallverdu, a long-time friend of Murray’s who had worked closely with Ivan Lendl during the latter’s time as the Scot’s coach, was reported to have been particularly put out by his lack of involvement in the decision-making process.
However, Mauresmo worked alongside the rest of Murray’s team during his winter training camp in Miami and it is understood that the world No 9 and the Frenchwoman both want the arrangement to become long-term. One reason for the delay in finalising an agreement could be Mauresmo’s other commitments, particularly her position as France’s Fed Cup captain.
“We’ve agreed to work together and I think from both sides we’re willing to do what it takes to make it work long-term,” Murray was quoted as saying on the BBC’s website. “I really enjoy working with her. She’s helped me a lot. She integrated well with the rest of the team. It’s been a good start. Now it’s about me producing the results.
“I sat down with her the day after Wimbledon. We made a plan for the next few months, in the build-up to the US Open. Dani and Amelié will both be there at the US Open. That’s the plan for now, but I plan on working with her for longer than post-US Open, for sure.”
Murray is not expected to play his first match in Toronto until tomorrow. He has a bye through to the second round, in which he will face either Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo or the Australian teenager, Nick Kyrgios, who knocked out Nadal en route to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
Remarkably, there are five Australians in the 56-strong field in Canada: Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt are joined by three players who came through qualifying in Bernard Tomic, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Marinko Matosevic.
In the third round Murray could meet Vasek Pospisil or Richard Gasquet, while Novak Djokovic, the world No 1, is seeded to be the Scot’s quarter-final opponent. Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka are potential semi-final opponents, with Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych the top seeds in the other half of the draw.
Murray moved up a place in the world rankings Monday courtesy of Juan Martin del Potro’s continuing absence following wrist surgery. The rest of the season gives Murray a big chance to rebuild his position in the rankings as he has very few points to defend in the coming weeks. He had back surgery after last year’s US Open and did not play another tournament until the start of the 2014 season.
Milos Raonic, meanwhile, is just 35 ranking points away from a place in the world’s top five after his victory on Sunday night in the Washington tournament, where he beat his fellow Canadian Pospisil in the final. However, the world No 6 has 600 points to defend this week after his run to last year’s final.
The big-serving Raonic won every match in straight sets in Washington, where he hit 83 aces and dropped his serve only once in 53 service games.
“Sometimes I can get caught up in what the next goal is,” he said after his victory. “That’s about not losing too much energy this week, being the best I can tennis-wise, physically and mentally for next week.”