Murray's camp ponders offer from Bollettieri

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The Independent Online

Nick Bollettieri has offered to become part of Andy Murray's coaching team and the veteran American's proposal will be one of several considered as Britain's No 1 tennis player maps out the direction in which he wants to take his career.

Murray, 18, split with his full-time coach, Mark Petchey, last week, after only 10 months together. He cited a "difference of opinion" over his game. Bollettieri, 74, who had a pivotal role in developing the careers of Grand Slam winners including Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova at his Florida academy, has already spoken to Murray's mother and mentor, Judy, about some kind of link-up.

Writing in today's Independent, Bollettieri says: "I have something to offer as part of a team." He discounts the possibility of returning to a day-to-day life on tour, but adds: "There can be a role for an older guiding hand to offer advice, perspective, sometimes one-on-one intensive sessions ahead of big events ... it's the job I think I could do for Andy."

Bollettieri made the initial approach to the Murray camp earlier this week. He then spoke to Judy Murray on Wednesday, outlining how he might be able assist Andy Murray's development. The offer will be discussed by the Murray camp in the next few days. They are in no hurry to come to a decision, and Murray is likely to find an interim coach to work with him in the coming weeks before selecting a full-time coach.

Mrs Murray, a long-standing coach herself in Scottish tennis, knows Bollettieri and is familiar with his set-up in Florida. One of her former students, Graeme Dyce, a 16-year-old from Edinburgh, is currently a student at Bollettieri's. Since studying there, Dyce has become the top British youngster, rising as high as No 100 in the junior world rankings.

Bollettieri is not alone in offering assistance to Murray since the parting of the ways with Petchey, and a key factor in whether they work together could be the stance of whoever ends up as Murray's full-time day-to-day coach. It would not be unusual for a coach to want sole control of the player's development, in which case there would be no role for Bollettieri. Another option is for Bollettieri to provide a travelling coach and work as a senior mentor within a team.

One thing is certain, Murray does not lack options, although Tim Henman jokingly ruled himself out yesterday as being too expensive to afford.