• Tennis

Mauresmo faces tough task with Murray

ESPN staff
June 9, 2014
Mauresmo excited to get started

Amelie Mauresmo faces a tough challenge to make an immediate impact as Andy Murray's new coach, according to former British No.1 Chris Wilkinson.

The "left field" appointment has been brought in initially for the grass court season but with Murray about to defend the titles he won at Queen's and Wimbledon last year, her influence could be harshly judged.

"It's a tough one to call, whether it will be a long-term partnership," Wilkinson told ESPN. "Murray won Queen's and Wimbledon last year, so to actually get someone in and replicate that sort of success, whoever you employ, is going to be a tough challenge.

Andy Murray starts new era...on his own

Andy Murray is looking to defend his title at Queen's © PA Photos
  • It was the start of a new era for Andy Murray as he stepped out on the practice courts at Queen's Club on Monday morning, but it looked very much like the old one, writes Nick Atkin.
  • Click here for full story

"I would have thought it would be a bit more long-term. Relationships take a little bit of time to develop. It's a tough one, but if he makes the semis of Wimbledon then it's still a good achievement.

"There are only a select few who've played in Grand Slam finals, and Mauresmo certainly fits that bill."

Murray announced the move to hire Mauresmo, the former women's world No.1, on Sunday after splitting with previous coach Ivan Lendl in March.

The fact that he has appointed a woman has caused ripples within the men's game, but Murray has worked on his shots with his mother Judy before and Wilkinson wants the focus to be on Mauresmo's ability as a coach.

"If a person is knowledgeable about tennis and understands the game, male or female, then it doesn't matter," he said. "It's like Roy Hodgson picking a World Cup team, he knows his best team; Murray knows best.

"It's about the ball going over the net. It's a person giving you advice on what to do with that ball and how to play the ball, and to help with the mental side of the game, so it doesn't matter whether it's male or female. There might be an issue with what locker room she can go into, but otherwise it shouldn't be an issue."

Mauresmo, a two-time Grand Slam champion, was first linked with the role last month, prompting Murray to admit he had been speaking to male and female coaches, and Wilkinson backed his judgement after the successful appointment of Lendl, who guided the Scot to US Open and Wimbledon titles and a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

"Murray's made some good decisions in his career over the years, so we can't really fault that decision," Wilkinson said.

"It's a little bit left field, but then again he started the trend with Lendl. Novak Djokovic got Boris Becker involved and Roger Federer with Stefan Edberg. He's obviously started a new trend there. The most important thing is to focus on what she can offer, not necessarily who she is."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close