When Murray announced that Mauresmo was to leave her post as head coach, both parties hinted at the fact that the Frenchwoman had different priorities now that she was a mother. Juggling parenthood, her coaching job and her duties as the France Fed Cup captain was simply too much; something had to give. But speaking to the French sports paper L’Equipe yesterday, Mauresmo, inset, admitted there was far more to it than that. “Andy is complex,” she said. “On the court, he can be the opposite of how he is in his life. That can be confusing. I was there to help but I had the feeling that I couldn’t do any more to make progress.
“We decided that it was too complicated to go on. I reduced the number of weeks I was around after the Australian Open [in January] and we had, in fact, very little time together. It turned out to be a difficult period for him where I couldn’t help him. But this decision [to split] was initiated [by me] some time before that.”
That “difficult period” was when Murray returned to the tour after the birth of his daughter, Sophia. After a month at home on paternity leave, the Scot struggled to concentrate at key moments in matches and when he needed a coach to lean on, Mauresmo was not there. She did not see Murray from the end of January until the start of the Madrid tournament three weeks ago. And it was there during a long heart-to-heart in the players’ lounge that the decision was finally made to go their separate ways.
But despite the fact that Mauresmo could not fathom the two sides to Murray – intelligent, open-minded and funny away from the court; combative, angry and fractious on it – she has the utmost respect for the Scot and, clearly, a huge amount of affection. “It was a nice adventure: a woman coaching a man and breaking down some barriers in men’s tennis,” she said. “It did work well because there was a lot of respect and a lot of communication.
“One of my favourite souvenirs is his success last year on clay because he never won on that surface before.
“Andy is someone who has a great capacity for listening and analysing. He is very curious and is constantly looking for something new – and that is what makes great champions.”