Andy Murray could have a new coach in place in time for Wimbledon.
The world No 3 announced his split from Amelie Mauresmo on Monday after almost two years together. Both insisted the decision was mutual, with Mauresmo, who has a nine-month-old son, struggling to commit the necessary amount of time to the partnership.
The timing appears far from ideal coming less than two weeks before the start of the French Open, which kicks off a hectic summer that also includes Wimbledon, a Davis Cup quarter-final, the defence of Murray’s Olympic title and the US Open.
Jamie Delgado, who became Murray’s assistant coach in February, will take on the lead role until the Scot finds Mauresmo’s successor. And the Scot said ahead of his first match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, against Mikhail Kukushkin today, that the appointment could be made as early as next month.
He said: “There’s a week after the French Open finishes and before Queen’s, so possibly at Queen’s I could try something out. I’m not going into a full-time relationship with a coach without having tested it and trialled it.
“I’ve done that with all of my coaches over the years and you do need a bit of time on the court together to see how the practice and the communication is going.”
Murray made the ground-breaking decision to appoint Mauresmo following the end of his hugely successful partnership with Ivan Lendl.
Although he was unable to add to his two grand slam titles under the guidance of the Frenchwoman, Murray insisted it should be viewed as a success. He added: “I think it did work. For two years I think the results that we had were good. Maybe unless I had won a grand slam, maybe ultimately that’s how people may judge whether it worked or not, but when she first came into the team, I was really struggling. My confidence was low and I was going in the wrong direction.
“When she came on board, my results actually really picked up. For me, the time we spent together was positive. It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to win one of the major events, because that’s what both of us wanted.”
Murray was quick to point out that wanting to spend more time with family is not only an issue for female coaches. Indeed, he could well find it a big issue for his next appointment, with the likes of Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and other marquee names that may interest the Scot likely to be reluctant to commit to the 20-plus weeks on the road he would require.
Explaining how his partnership with Mauresmo ended, Murray said: “I think the end of last year we tried to make it work. Amelie was in Dubai, did a training block with me and agreed to try for another year. Obviously in Australia it started well. But then, between the Australian Open and Rome, we only spent 10 days together, which was in Miami, and that wasn’t planned, either. That was something that we changed to try and spend a bit more time together through that period.
“It was just difficult with the amount of time required to do the job and the amount of time we were able to work together. It was just such a long period of the year, an important period where I was struggling, as well, where we weren’t getting to work through that together.
“We certainly could have tried through to the end of Wimbledon but, longer term and medium term, the same thing was going to continue happening. It just made more sense to stop now.”
Menawhile, British No 2 Aljaz Bedene was knocked out in the first round in Rome by Stephane Robert, losing 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8).
Johanna Konta, however, shrugged off her recent health scare to breeze into the second round yesterday.
The British No 1 had been forced to withdraw midway through her match against Caroline Garcia in Madrid last week due to an upper respiratory illness.
But she showed no ill effects as she took just 61 minutes to dispatch Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-2 and book a second-round tie against seventh seed Roberta Vinci.
Konta faced just one break point in an imposing first set and despite losing serve in the second, she broke her opponent three times to cruise to victory.