sport

Murray appoints Mauresmo

Andy Murray has appointed Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach, initially just for the grasscourt season.

Murray has been playing without a coach since his hugely successful partnership with Ivan Lendl was dissolved in March.

Frenchwoman Mauresmo won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in her playing career.

And her first task will be to help Murray through the defence of his titles at Queen's and Wimbledon in the next few weeks.

Mauresmo, the current France Federation Cup team captain, had been heavily linked with the post after she watched his first-round victory over Andrey Golubev at the French Open.

Mauresmo, 34, became world No 1 in 2004, before winning her first Grand Slam. That came in Australia in 2006, and that summer she won Wimbledon, beating Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals and Justine Henin in the final.

She retired as a player in 2009 and became a coach, firstly guiding her compatriot Michael Llodra.

In 2012 she coached the-then world No 1 Victoria Azarenka, and last year – shortly before Wimbledon – she joined forces with Marion Bartoli.

Under Mauresmo's guidance, Bartoli won the tournament without dropping a single set. Before hiring Mauresmo, she had not reached a single semi-final of a WTA event that year.  

Murray told his personal website: "I'm excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired.  She's faced adversity plenty of times in her career, but was an amazing player and won major titles, including Wimbledon."

"I have a very strong coaching team already in place, but I think Amelie brings with her experience and tactical expertise and will push us all to improve.  Everyone I know talks very highly of Amelie, as a person and coach, and I'm convinced that her joining the team will help us push on – I want to win more Grand Slams."

Talented

Mauresmo added: "I'm really excited to be able to work with Andy.  He's an amazingly talented tennis player and I feel I have plenty to offer both him and the team around him.  I'm looking forward to getting down to work and helping him win more Grand Slams."

The choice of Mauresmo is by far the highest profile appointment of a female coach in professional tennis.

But Murray will not be the only male player on the tour to be coached by a woman. Mikhail Kukushkin is coached by his wife and Denis Istomin by his mother. And Murray's mother Judy was his first coach. Asked before the appointment of Mauresmo, Murray insisted he did not feel it was a big deal for a man to be coached by a woman.

"I don't really care whether some of the other male players like it or not. That's not something that really bothers me," he said.

"I was coached by my mum for a long time. I have had her around at tournaments for a long time. There has been ex-players and stuff that have said, 'Oh, your mum shouldn't be around,' or she shouldn't come and support you or come to watch.

"It's silly. Everyone is entitled to have the team around them that they want. Everyone works very differently.

"Some men might not work well with a female. Some men might work well with a female coach. It's just whatever your preference is and whatever your needs are."