Andy Murray is looking for a new coach as a matter of urgency after parting company yesterday with Alex Corretja, who had worked with him on a part-time basis for the last three years. Murray was talking to potential replacements yesterday and is hoping to make an appointment before the start of the clay-court season next month.
The 23-year-old Scot has moved swiftly following a poor run of results. Since his Australian Open semi-final he has not won a set, having lost to Novak Djokovic in the Melbourne final and to Marcos Baghdatis, Donald Young and Alex Bogomolov Jnr in Rotterdam, Indian Wells and Miami respectively.
Corretja, a former world No 2, was recruited to help Murray's clay-court game, but assumed a more important position after the Scot dispensed with Miles Maclagan, his full-time coach, last summer. Maclagan had become unhappy with Corretja's role and wanted to be in overall charge of Murray's coaching programme.
The departure of Corretja, who had been at only one tournament with Murray this year and did not go to the Australian Open, indicates that the world No 5 will seek to give his next coach the authority that Maclagan had sought, although the next man may not join him at all tournaments.
Murray said last week that he would be accompanied regularly this year by Dani Vallverdu, a friend from their days together at the Sanchez Casal academy in Barcelona who has become a key part of his entourage. With Vallverdu on board Murray could contemplate an arrangement with a coach who would not be permanently on tour, which would in turn widen the field of potential candidates.
Having reached three Grand Slam finals and No 2 in the world rankings, Murray needs someone who can guide him over the final hurdle. He looks certain to appoint someone who has either won Grand Slam titles or coached players who have.
Nevertheless, Murray may also need to change his own mindset. The 23-year-old Scot is one of the most tactically astute players in the game, but there is also a stubbornness about him that is not always an asset. Putting his trust in a single coach who might not always share the same ideas could require a major leap of faith.
The challenge will be to find someone he will trust and respect – and who is available. Andre Agassi, for example, fits the bill perfectly on the first count, but persuading the American to coach would be another matter.
No coach enjoys more worldwide respect than Darren Cahill, who used to work with Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt, but the Australian has commitments to both television and the Adidas coaching team. Ivan Lendl has made an indirect approach to indicate that he would be interested in coaching Murray, but it seems unlikely that the Scot would work with someone who has been out of the game for so long. Bob Brett, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker and Mats Wilander are other names Murray might consider.
Murray is due to compete next in Barcelona, though he may consider seeking a wild card to play a week earlier in the Monte Carlo Masters, which begins in 11 days' time. He had originally planned to go to Barcelona early to spend time on the practice court with Corretja.