He is no longer Andy Murray's coach, but Ivan Lendl continues to offer advice and support to the man he guided to two Grand Slam titles. Murray revealed yesterday that his former coach had been in contact before and after his quarter-final against Rafael Nadal at the Rome Masters last weekend. The Scot, who lost in three tight sets, said he planned to speak to Lendl again before the French Open starts today.
Murray, whose assistant coach, Dani Vallverdu, has taken on additional responsibilities since Lendl's departure, said: "Ivan messaged Dani before the match and afterwards. He was saying the first set for me was obviously great tennis, that it was very close and I should be encouraged by that coming into this event."
At the time of their parting two months ago Lendl suggested some possible replacements. However, Murray said: "I obviously listened, but ultimately it needs to come from me. The people he suggested are people I respect and they are very good coaches as well, but I don't think it will be one of them."
Darren Cahill, who has helped Murray in the past, has attended some of the Scot's practice sessions recently but is not thought to be a realistic contender.
While Murray will face Andrey Golubev, the world No 55, in his opening match, the only other Briton in the men's singles learned yesterday that he will be meeting the No 17 seed. James Ward, the first British man to qualify here for 41 years, will play Tommy Robredo, who reached the quarter-finals last year.
Heather Watson also qualified yesterday, beating Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 6-1 6-1 to become the only Briton in the main draw of the women's singles. Watson, who has won her last eight matches and is back in the world's top 100 after a year disrupted by glandular fever, will play the Czech Republic's Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, the world No 63. Simona Halep, the world No 4, is likely to play the winner.