Marinko Matosevic dispatched 2012 winner Marin Cilic at the Queen’s Club Aegon Championships – then admitted he could never follow Andy Murray and be coached by a woman.
The 28-year-old Australian, nicknamed “Mad Dog”, saw off the ninth-seeded Croatian 6-4, 6-4 in a big first-round upset in Kensington, then conceded he could not be coached by the likes of Amelie Mauresmo.
Murray’s decision to replace Ivan Lendl with former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Mauresmo has polarised locker room opinion, but Matosevic is the first frontline player to admit openly he could not countenance employing a female coach. The world No 60 believes the strength of the women’s game does not lend itself to first-class men’s coaching.
Matosevic said: “Apparently there’s a few guys in the top 100 who are coached by women. [Mikhail] Kukushkin is coached by his wife, Denis Istomin by his mum, she’s done a great job with him. For me, I couldn’t do it, since I don’t think that highly of the women’s game. But his mum coached him and she did a great job with him.
“It’s all equal rights these days, you’ve got to be politically correct, so someone’s got to give it a go – it won’t be me.”
Murray starts the defence of his Queen’s title today against Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round, hoping to avoid the kind of shock that befell Cilic.
Matosevic is 34 world ranking places below Cilic but was never deterred against the 25-year-old, coached by Goran Ivanisevic.
Matosevic said his coach, Mark Woodforde, has challenged him to be more assertive on court, and favour a serve-volley game.
“It’s about being aggressive,” he said. “All the older Aussies came forward, and the match was on their racquet, they were very attacking players because they grew up on grass. It’s kind of got lost in the last decade since [Pat] Rafter retired, and [Lleyton] Hewitt was playing a different style.”
James Ward slipped to a straight-sets second-round defeat by No 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov. British No 3 Ward saw off Slovenian Blaz Rola on Monday, but was unable to produce what would have been a big upset against Bulgarian Dimitrov.
Compatriot Dan Evans crashed out in straight sets to seventh-seed Kevin Anderson in the first match on centre court, and Ward was unable to fare any better. He was brushed aside 7-5, 6-3 by the world No 13.
Evans admitted he had failed to combat giant South African Anderson’s powerful serve.
The 24-year-old had shrugged off nagging knee trouble to edge past Jurgen Melzer in a first-round upset on Monday, but could find no repeat against 6ft 8in Anderson. The seventh seed prevailed 6-2, 6-3, mixing power and guile in his service game, with Evans conceding he had scant opportunity to find his rhythm.
“He restricted my opportunities, and the ones I did have I didn’t take,” said Evans. “He was banging that serve down from a tree. I didn’t really get the chance to play any tennis. It couldn’t have been a good one to watch.
“It’s neither here nor there what happened today, in the second week on grass, and because of that serve. Next week is a bigger deal really, a smaller draw and more points on offer. It’s been a good two weeks, to develop on the grass. Not so good from results but good overall.”