• Tennis

McEnroe waits on Murray call

ESPN staff
June 4, 2014
John McEnroe says it would be sensible for Andy Murray to wait until after Wimbledon to appoint a new coach © Getty Images

John McEnroe would consider coaching Andy Murray if the Scot asked him to but admits he is yet to receive a call.

McEnroe has appeared enthusiastic about the prospect of working with Murray, last month saying "if Andy picked up the phone and asked me to coach him, of course I would think about it". But speaking to the Daily Telegraph, McEnroe said he had not heard anything since then.

"I haven't talked to Andy," said McEnroe. "He would have to speak to me and say he would want me to do it and somehow I don't see that happening."

Murray has been without a coach since March after the unexpected departure of Ivan Lendl. The Czech helped Murray to the most successful period of his career, during which he became Wimbledon champion and claimed a US Open title.

Murray over injury nightmare

Andy Murray said the pain from his back made him angry at times © Getty Images
  • Andy Murray claims he has fully shaken off the hangover from back surgery that kept him out for four months last year, with his backhand in particular stronger than it has ever been.
  • "The way I'm hitting my backhand now is then times better than it was last year and moving to that side as well is so much better than it was," said Murray before his French Open quarter-final against local favourite Gael Monfils.
  • "There were periods this year when I had some problems, but that is to be expected with surgery. It's starting to get better slowly and I'm close to being back to 100%.
  • "I was in a lot of pain, daily, for a long time. It's frustrating and tiring and you go through a lot of different emotions. At times it can make you very angry.
  • "I normally enjoy all the training, but I'd try to push hard and it would hurt, and so I'd have to ease off. Hopefully now I'm over the worst."

Murray has hinted he already knows who he wants and has not ruled out appointing a woman, with names such as Amelie Mauresmo and Martina Navratilova in the frame. "I have an idea of exactly what I want," said Murray last month. "I've thought about it a lot, I've spoken to them and I'll see."

McEnroe claimed appointing a woman could be a sensible move: "It would be definitely a left-field, unusual turn, but maybe that's what he needs. You need something to give yourself a shot in the arm, to give yourself that added motivation.

"It's not like Murray is going to radically change his game. Lendl wasn't the first coach to tell him 'Look you've got to be more aggressive on your forehand', or 'You've got to do a bit better on your second serve' or 'You've got to step in closer on your return'. I think those things were pretty evident early on.

"Whether he was comfortable doing it was another thing. But to get him to do it, that's where Lendl had success."

Whoever is handed the job faces a tough task in preparing Murray to defend his Wimbledon title and McEnroe suggested it might be wise to wait until the tournament is over before appointing a coach.

"That [defending the Wimbledon title] would seem to be a pretty tough situation to walk into," he said. "There's the upside if somehow he won it again. But it's pretty tricky to manoeuvre in the most tense, pressurised event of the year. It would be hard for that not to be awkward, for Andy or anyone else."

As ever, the main threat to Murray's Wimbledon crown will come from the Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, and McEnroe believes their stranglehold on the game is unlikely to be broken by anyone else playing today.

"The next guy who's going to win multiple majors is going to be a guy we don't expect, who we don't know yet," said McEnroe. "I'm trying to find out who that guy is, but it's been so difficult for those mid-20s guys to make progress.

"Whether you're talking about [Milos] Raonic or [Grigor] Dimitrov - and they're the two most obvious - it's going to be difficult for them, at their age, to make that breakthrough where you're dominating.

"There's this respect they have for the older guys, the fear factor. They've been beaten up a little bit, maybe too much. You need someone who can look at Nadal and Federer and Djokovic and say 'they are at the end of their career, more or less, and I could do something against them'."

"Ideally, the person I'm talking about will probably want to be breaking through in 2016. Presumably we'll still have Djokovic and Murray for another couple of years and, even though we always worry about Nadal, we hope to have a little bit more of him as well. But you probably won't have Federer, because he'll be close to 35."

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