Andy Murray paves way for new coach

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray appears to have paved the way for the appointment of a new coach after announcing his split from part-time consultant Alex Corretja.

The Spaniard began working with Murray three years ago, initially as a clay-court specialist to help the world number five improve on his least favourite surface.

Murray stressed the decision was mutual, saying: "I've had a really good relationship with Alex over the past three years.

"I have learned so much from being around him and I want to thank him for his hard work, enthusiasm, dedication and support.

"He has been a great friend as well as a mentor to me and we've shared lots of success and good times both on and off the court."

Murray's coaching situation, which he is now reviewing, has come under an increasingly bright spotlight during his current terrible run of form.

After reaching the Australian Open final in January and then surrendering meekly to Novak Djokovic, the Scot has lost his first match at three consecutive tournaments.

The two most recent of those were defeats by Donald Young and Alex Bogomolov Jnr, both ranked outside the top 100, at the Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami.

Two years ago Murray won the Miami tournament, his biggest title to date, but his performance this time was of a man struggling to find any semblance of form.

The British number one confirmed last week that Dani Vallverdu, who he met while they were both juniors at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona and who has become an increasingly important member of his team, would travel with him to most tournaments.

The Venezuelan, though, has only minimal experience of playing on the professional tour and the clamour for Murray to appoint an experienced coach has grown ever louder.

The likes of Darren Cahill and Bob Brett have been mentioned while this week there were claims eight-time grand slam winner Ivan Lendl was interested in the post.

The former world number one lost his first four major finals and is thought to be a figure that Murray, winless in three finals, would consider working with.

Corretja, a two-time French Open runner-up and former world number two, gradually expanded his role to other surfaces and it was a difference of opinion over this situation that was at the root of Murray's split from full-time coach Miles Maclagan last July.

Rather than taking over from Maclagan, the Spaniard simply continued in his part-time position, but that arrangement has now come to an end.

Corretja said: "Helping Andy has been a great experience for me, he's got great talent and can be one of the best on any surface.

"I am very thankful to him for his confidence and trust during this time and also to his family, and the rest of Andy's team.

"I wish Andy, his family and all his team all the best both personally and professionally."

Murray, meanwhile, has been encouraged to add a coach to his team by brother Jamie.

The doubles specialist told The Times: "Andy could do with some advice from the right person. He is good enough to get to that next level, but he needs that something extra that's missing."

The 23-year-old is set to return to action on clay at the Barcelona Open beginning on April 18.