Andy Murray has always been fond of having a strong women to guide him in his career – not least in the form of his mother and one-time coach, Judy.
Now, he has appointed French tennis guru Amelie Mauresmo as his head coach, three months after splitting from coach Ivan Lendl and just days after his defeat in the semi-finals of the French Open.
Wimbledon winner Mauresmo has been appointed in the role initially for the grass court season – which starts next week when Murray begins the defence of his Queen’s Club title – although it is believed that he hopes to forge a long-term working relationship with his next coach.
It is very unusual for a senior men’s player to work with a female coach, prompting commentators to brand the move “bold” and “exciting”.
Mauresmo, 34, is a former world number one and holds the position of French Fed Club captain – a role which is held in Britain by Murray’s mother Judy, who has been a vocal campaigner for more female coaches in British tennis.
The player turned coach, who guided Marion Bartoli to her Wimbledon victory last summer, admitted that Judy Murray had been a “big part” of Murray’s career but said she thought he was now looking for something “a bit different”.
Ms Murray, who worked as her son’s coach until he was 12, yesterday tweeted a link to a report about Murray’s appointment of Mauresmo with the words “Love it”.
“I’m excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired,” said the current men’s Wimbledon singles champion. “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 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.”
The Dunblane-born player’s partnership with Lendl ended in March after issues arose over how much time the Czech-American player could dedicate to coaching Murray.
Under Lendl’s tutelage, Murray, 27, scooped his first two grand slam victories in the 2012 US Open, and 2013 Wimbledon Championship – becoming the first British man to win a grand slam major in 77 years.
Yesterday’s announcement prompted a flurry of excitement among sports fans and players.
Former British number one and tennis commentator Anne Keothavong tweeted: “A very, very exciting move by @andy_murray in appointing Amelie Mauresmo as his coach!” Serbian world number one Ana Ivanovic said: “It’s a little bit unorthodox and views might be split, but if it works for him that’s what matters most.”
She added: “[It is] great for women’s tennis as it shows girls can be as powerful as males.”
American coach Nick Bollettier added: “Congrats to Mauresmo for being hired to coach Murray.
“It will be great for tennis and very interesting to watch. Both very talented.”
Mauresmo said: “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.”
In a radio interview, she added: “It was a little bit of a surprise, to be honest. It was not something I thought about doing when I finished playing.”
She added: “We all know his mother is a big part of his career. I think he is looking for something a bit different.”
Last year, Murray hinted that when he had passed the peak of his career, he may consider hiring his mother to coach him again.