Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot champion again

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The Independent Online

After his tactical master class against Ivo Karlovic, what strategy might Andy Murray adopt when he plays Vasek Pospisil in the quarter-finals here? Amélie Mauresmo was not giving away any secrets, but Murray’s coach provided an insight into his preparations, which also involve Jonas Bjorkman, the latest member of his entourage.

“It’s more of a dialogue between the three of us, rather than ‘you’re going to do this, you’re going to do that’,” Mauresmo said.

Murray himself has encyclopaedic knowledge of his rivals. “Every time he has to play an opponent, whether he has played against them in the past or not, he will always come up with things,” Mauresmo added.

Pospisil has lost to Murray in all three of their previous meetings, but Mauresmo warned: “I think he’s going to go out there and have nothing to lose and just go for his shots. He’s a big guy. He can really release some big shots on the serve and on the forehand. He can come forward as well. He’s good at the net.”

 

With Mauresmo expecting her first baby next month, Bjorkman will take charge of Murray’s coaching after Wimbledon. “To be able to work together here was important for everyone,” Mauresmo said. “Then to know Andy is going to be fine, that Jonas is there, and everything is going to be taken care of, it makes me feel good.”

Mauresmo did not tell Murray she was pregnant until February. Had morning sickness been a problem before then? “December and January was a bit tough for me,” Mauresmo admitted. “I don’t think he noticed anything. You feel more tired, definitely, but it was a big challenge.”

Twelve months ago, Murray lost to Grigor Dimitrov here and dropped to No 10 in the world. Mauresmo said the biggest factor had been Murray’s fitness as he struggled to recover from back surgery. “When you feel strong physically on court, then you are capable of using all your tools,” she said. “For a guy like Andy it makes a big difference.”

Had there been any time when Mauresmo doubted whether the coaching relationship with Murray would work, especially after his crushing defeat by Roger Federer at the O2 Arena in November? “I definitely wasn’t happy with that [match], but I also thought that there was not going to be a miracle between the level he had in the summer and getting back to the highest level without really working on the things that needed to be worked on.”

Mauresmo said Murray’s end-of-year training block in Miami had been crucial. “It was needed in his game and he knows it and he knew it at the time. And that’s why  he put all the effort in that preparation. Every time we’ve been practising, honestly, it’s been great.”

How much has she enjoyed working with Murray? “He’s  a great guy to work with,” Mauresmo said. “I would not have stayed around if the human part of the relationship wasn’t going to be good. I would also not stay around if the results were not good or if he wasn’t happy with that.”

Mauresmo told L’Equipe, the French newspaper, that she had worked with Murray on both his game and his mental approach. “For him, it is easier with a woman, at least right now,” she said. “He maybe felt more judged before [with Ivan Lendl]. Between guys, there is always a competitive side. I am not involved in that.”

Asked about Murray’s bravery in employing her, Mauresmo said: “It needed guts, courage and audacity to take this decision. And to stick to it. It was quite shocking what people said at the start.

“No man, former player, former champion, would have been criticised like that before starting. Judging a coach on results, on their game, that is logical. But to hear that it is ridiculous, that it would never work before starting, it is shocking.”

GB keep winning team for Davis Cup quarter-final

Leon Smith, Britain’s Davis Cup captain, kept faith with the team that beat the United States earlier this year when he named his squad for next week’s quarter-final against France at Queen’s Club. Andy Murray and James Ward will again be the singles players, with the squad completed by the doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot.

Arnaud Clément, the France captain, picked Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon,  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nicolas Mahut in his team. The winners of the tie will face Australia or Kazakhstan in the semi-finals in September.

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