Sergio Casal backs Murray-Mauresmo link

Andy Murray's former mentor Sergio Casal has no worries about the Scot's choice of coaches. Picture: AP
Andy Murray's former mentor Sergio Casal has no worries about the Scot's choice of coaches. Picture: AP
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ANDY MURRAY’S former mentor Sergio Casal has no worries about the Scot’s choice of coaches, insisting he has plenty to learn from “champion” Amelie Mauresmo.

Andy Murray’s former mentor Sergio Casal has no worries about the Scot’s choice of coaches, insisting he has plenty to learn from “champion” Amelie Mauresmo.

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Murray’s appointment of Mauresmo has come under a measure of criticism, ever since the former women’s world number one joined forces with him in June.

Former British number one Tim Henman recently expressed doubts about whether Mauresmo was having the right impact on Murray - a feeling exacerbated when the Scot’s season came to a crushing end in a 6-0 6-1 loss to Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour finals.

However, Casal, who mentored a 15-year-old Murray at the famed Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona, feels the partnership with Mauresmo, much like the previous one with Ivan Lendl, will be a fruitful one.

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Speaking at the academy’s visit to York, where it delivered a series of performance player, coach, and adult workshops, Casal told Press Association Sport: “He had Lendl, now Mauresmo. You can always get something from these champions.

“It depends on the connection. But the important thing is that he is connected with champions.

“These champions, always you can learn something from them.”

Indeed, it was at the Sanchez-Casal academy more than a decade ago that a teenage Murray struck up a partnership with Venezuelan Dani Vallverdu, who later became part of his coaching staff and was highly valued by Lendl.

Vallverdu and Murray recently ended their association and Casal, a former world number three in doubles, hopes this decision is also for the best.

“They’ve been together so long,” Casal said. “They are best friends. I hope there is nothing wrong between them.

“Sometimes you have to make these decisions to make another step. Who knows what is happening inside?”

A recently engaged Murray is currently playing for the Manila Mavericks in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League, as he looks ahead to the 2015 season.

Casal is already proud of his protege’s achievements, including the Grand Slam victories of recent years, even if 2014 has not gone completely to plan for the Scot.

Should Murray ever need another helping hand though, Casal is happy to oblige.

When asked if he would consider ever coaching the 27-year-old again, Casal said: “We never thought about that!

“But, of course, to be with him, one of the best players in the world, is great. I know him since before juniors.

“The results he has made already are incredible.

“Even winning Wimbledon is so complicated, especially here with the people wanting it, and finally he did it. I think he handled the pressure well.”

Sergio Casal was speaking at the Sanchez-Casal academy’s UK coaching tour, held in conjunction with Down The Line Sports. For more information visit www.sanchez-casal.com and www.downthelinesports.com

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