French Open 2015: Andy Murray’s fitness has paid off in clay season preparation

Andy Murray’s progress on clay has delighted coach Amelie Mauresmo

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The Independent Online

The pressures on local players here at the French Open are much the same as those on the British at Wimbledon, as Andy Murray’s coach knows all too well.

Amélie Mauresmo won Grand Slam titles at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but in her 15 appearances at Roland Garros she never made it beyond the quarter-finals.

As Murray prepared to play his opening match here today against Argentina’s Facundo Arguello, Mauresmo was asked whether the tournament had been a frustrating one for her. “For myself, yes,” she said. “For Andy, I hope not.”

Does the French Open therefore constitute unfinished business for her? “It’s not about me,” Mauresmo replied. “I would be happy for him to win it. I would be happy for him to win any of the Grand Slams basically. This one is definitely not about me.”

Mauresmo has been delighted with Murray’s progress this year. Having finished runner-up at the Australian Open, the Scot played in his first Masters Series final for two years in Miami and then won his first clay-court titles in Munich and Madrid.

“I think what has been important this year is that he has been healthy,” Mauresmo said. “His body allowed him to work, and to work specifically for clay, the movement, the way of playing, the little adjustments you have to do for that surface. That was a big thing that the team was great on.

“A lot of work was done in Barcelona before Munich and Madrid to make those adjustments. We worked on different things. He really put in the amount of work and the time on court that he needed to feel as good as possible on clay.”

With Mauresmo expecting her first baby in August, the Frenchwoman plans – medical advice permitting – to share coaching duties during the grass-court season with Jonas Björkman, who joined Murray’s entourage last month.

“We spent a couple of days together in Barcelona,” Mauresmo said of her relationship with Björkman. “We’re exchanging a lot, communicating a lot, whether it’s texting or calling, so that he’s not surprised and has an awareness of what has happened.

“We are both seeing the same things and both have a desire for Andy to improve in the same areas. I think that’s key. If you’re going to work together and have different thoughts or different things you want to prioritise, then it might be difficult, but so far we’ve talked about Andy and his game and I think we’re on the same page.”