Andy Murray wants a bigger commitment from new coach Amelie Mauresmo than he received from Ivan Lendl. The 27-year-old Scot hopes Mauresmo passes her Wimbledon acid test with flying colours as he battles to retain his title at SW19 this summer.
Murray wants Mauresmo on the world circuit for more than the 20 weeks former coach Lendl was thought to be travelling when the pair ceased their relationship in March. Former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Mauresmo is on trial as Murray’s coach for the grass season, getting off to the perfect start on Wednesday.
Murray dispatched Paul-Henri Mathieu with ruthless efficiency, winning 6-4 6-4 to set up a third-round tie with Radek Stepanek at the Queen’s Club Aegon Championships on Thursday. “I don’t know exactly how many weeks Amelie would work yet,” said Murray, after launching the defence of his Queen’s title.
“But when I chatted to her, there was a number that I threw out, which is what I would like. “We haven’t agreed specifically on anything just yet, we’ll see in a few weeks.
“There is a number of weeks I would like, and yes, that is more than with Ivan.” Mauresmo trained Murray for the first time on Wednesday morning, following her appointment on Sunday.
Murray is the first grand slam winning male star to hire a female coach, drawing surprise from some quarters – but the reigning Wimbledon and Queen’s champion said gender had little bearing in his choice. “I just went on court with her for the first time today, so nothing much is going to change there,” he said.
“We spoke a bit about the match and tactics, and a little bit afterwards, but this week there’s not going to be any big changes in my game. “I also wouldn’t expect any before Wimbledon, but we’ll definitely work on some things after the tournament finishes here.
“We’ll get four or five days’ practice to work on some things. “At first it (gender) was a consideration because it’s been a few years since I’ve worked with a woman, but once the decision was made I haven’t thought about it.
“It’s more about the qualities she can bring that will help me and my tennis.” Murray said he will review the partnership with Mauresmo with the rest of his back room team after Wimbledon.
“I hope it works out in the long-term,” he said.
“After the grass court season I’ll sit down and speak to them about it; it’s up to me to make a decision on who that person is, but I’ll sit down with the guys after Wimbledon and see if we think it’s worked.
“If everything is going well then hopefully we can continue. “Obviously I’ll chat with Amelie too – because it’s not just me who will have a decision to make.
“She might hate working with me, she might find it difficult being around me! “So she might not want to do it.”
Murray’s third round opponent at Queen’s, Stepanek, rubbished talk questioning Mauresmo’s appointment.
Australian Marinko Matosevic admitted on Tuesday he does not rate the women’s game highly enough to employ a female coach.
Yet Czech 15th seed Stepanek said any choice of coach is purely personal.
“I think the view from the others has no sense because it’s his choice,” said Stepanek, who defeated Bernard Tomic in two tie-break sets.
“He has to believe what he’s doing, and I believe that all his team and the people around him are supporting him, which is the most important thing.
“Nobody asks different guys when they take a different coach.
“It’s a special thing coming to top men’s tennis with a woman coach, but that’s all, and it’s his choice.”
Stepanek admitted he must battle the partisan home crowd as well as title-holder Murray on Thursday.
“He is a great grass court player and it will be a great challenge for me,” said Stepanek.
“The crowd will support their home darling, but that’s nothing new, that’s normal everywhere in the world.”