Andy Murray still biding time over new coach

Andy Murray has been without a coach since he and Ivan Lendl parted ways. Picture: Getty
Andy Murray has been without a coach since he and Ivan Lendl parted ways. Picture: Getty
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Andy Murray is taking his time finding a coaching replacement for the departed Ivan Lendl because he wants to find a long-term solution.

The Wimbledon champion says while it would be “ideal” to have someone in place before the French Open – which starts in two weeks – he hasn’t talked to any possibilities yet.

Speaking ahead of the Italian Open, Murray said: “It’s very important that whoever it is knows I want it to be a long-term thing, and that’s one of the reasons why I haven’t put in a lot of phone calls just now. I don’t want to mess up and just pick anyone.”

Murray parted ways in March with Lendl, who helped to turn him from a four-time Grand Slam runner-up into a two-time major champion.

Also competing in Rome is Novak Djokovic, who is ready to return from the right wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from the Madrid Open a week ago.

The second-ranked Serb said: “Right now I feel much more confident at the state of my wrist and I know that I’m ready much more to play a match than I was one week ago,”

When Djokovic lost to Roger Federer in the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals last month, his wrist was heavily strapped and he was unable to serve or return at his usual level. “It’s a wiser decision if you try to heal it 100 per cent than 50 per cent and compromise the next weeks,” he added.

Djokovic opens in Rome against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek and he’s hoping to have both of his head coaches in place this week – long-time adviser Marian Vajda and six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, who joined his staff in December. “Boris is here. And we’re trying to see if we can get Marian here, because they’re both going to be present in Paris,” Djokovic said.

Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal won an unconvincing second straight Madrid Open title after Kei Nishikori sustained a back injury when closing on victory in the second set of yesterday’s final and was forced to retire early in the third.

Nishikori, the tenth seed and one of the game’s rising talents, made a blistering start on Nadal’s favoured clay to win the first set 6-2 and was a break up in the second and serving at 4-3 when disaster struck.

After a long rally with the score at 15-30, the Japanese pulled up clutching his back and Nadal went on to win the game and the set 6-4 to force a decider. In what was a tremendously disappointing finish to an entertaining encounter, Nishikori could barely walk after Nadal had raced into a 3-0 lead in the third.

“I am very disappointed by what happened,” said Nishikori. “I tried to fight but I was hurting.”