sport

Wade puzzled by Mauresmo move

Virginia Wade has slammed Wimbledon champion Andy Murray's decision to hire Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach as a 'joke'.

Murray made the surprising decision to appoint former Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Mauresmo earlier this month, initially just for the grass-court season.

The Frenchwoman could hardly be more different in character to her hard taskmaster predecessor Ivan Lendl, who helped Murray cross the line to become a two-time grand slam champion and Olympic gold medallist.

Former world No 1 Mauresmo is one of the only female coaches to work with a leading male player and Wade, who won Wimbledon women's crown in 1977, is unconvinced the move will prove a success.

"It's hard to read him," said Wade. "Mauresmo was a total shock, I thought they were all fooling around. I think again he's maybe trying to mess with everybody. I don't know.

"She was a great player, she's a great person. I think she was a little fragile mentally because she had the capabilities of beating everybody.

"She's laid back, she's a very nice, mature person. But I can't work it out at all. You like to try to get behind people's thinking but I can't really with this one. You try to see what somebody's going to offer that player.

"Unless he just needs somebody there to say 'well done', which is possible too. As a player you need somebody to endorse you sometimes and not try to change anything.

"I have to say I thought Lendl would be a difficult choice but that was very successful. In the end it's the individual who's playing who has to appreciate the input.

"Unfortunately as a coach your time does get dated because what you say gets a little bit repetitive after a while and the player needs a fresh input. I think basically he (Murray) dictates what he wants to do and the coach adds in between the lines."

Wimbledon was the last of Wade's three grand slam singles titles, coming when she was almost 32, and the defence of her crown ended in the last four.

She said: "I played a disappointing semi-final against Chris Evert. It was windy, not a very nice day, and I think in many ways I just bailed out, I wasn't prepared to dig deep to really try to win because I didn't believe I was going to. It can happen.

"The thrill is playing the opening match on Centre Court. It's a great tradition. Everything felt different after I won it."

The Scot plays Belgium's David Goffin in the opening round and is in the same half of the draw as top seed Novak Djokovic, who he beat in last year's final.