Perhaps Andy Murray should sack his coaches more often. Although his run at the Los Angeles Open eventually ended in defeat to Sam Querrey late on Sunday night, the 23-year-old Scot was still able to reflect on a week that saw him reach his first final since the Australian Open six months ago.
Considering he had just been through the emotional turmoil of parting company with Miles Maclagan, Murray could take heart from his performances at a tournament in which he had not intended to take part. The world No 4 had planned to make his post-Wimbledon reappearance at next week's Toronto Masters, but accepted a late invitation to take a wild card into Los Angeles in preference to extending his mid-season training camp in Miami.
Murray reached the final with victories over Tim Smyczek (world No 171), Alejandro Falla (No 61) and Feliciano Lopez (No 24). He had a match point against Querrey before losing 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 after two hours and 22 minutes as the world No 20 successfully defended his title.
Querrey broke in the third game but Murray levelled to 4-4 and took the first set four games later when his opponent double-faulted. The 6ft 6in Californian smashed his racket in frustration, but recovered to win a tight second set. At 4-5 and 30-40 Murray had a match point but missed a backhand down the line. Querrey won the tie-break 7-2.
The only break of serve in the decider came when Murray netted an attempted drop shot as he served at 2-3. Murray, who put 66 per cent of his first serves in court, had a brief chance when Querrey served for the match at 5-3, but at 30-40 the American hit a forehand winner and then served it out.
Although Murray had not dropped a set in his four previous meetings with Querrey, he was satisfied with his progress. "If you take the circumstances into consideration I have to be happy with getting to the final," he said. "I had a good week. I enjoyed it. Each match, I felt better physically."
Jez Green, one of Murray's physical trainers, and Andy Ireland, his physiotherapist, were with him in Los Angeles and both will travel on to Toronto. They were joined in California by Murray's friend and occasional hitting partner, Carlos Mier, who used to be his room-mate at the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona.
Murray is not expected to appoint a new coach until after the US Open. Darren Cahill, who used to work with Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, has been linked with the Scot and may yet join up with him, despite comments the Australian made to ESPN, for whom he works as a part-time analyst. "I've got my ESPN duties and also work with Adidas," Cahill said. "I can't be full-time for anyone."
Murray, however, is considering a structure in which a senior figure like Cahill would take overall charge of his coaching without having to tour with him week-in and week-out.
It is now nine months since Murray won a title and he is in imminent danger of being overtaken by Robin Soderling in the world rankings. Having won in Canada last year, Murray will be defending 1,000 ranking points in Toronto next week. Soderling, who at No 5 is 470 points behind Murray, has nothing to defend in Toronto, which means that the Scot will be overtaken by the Swede if he fails to make the final on Sunday week.