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Will New York be the first true test for Murray and Mauresmo?

Andy Murray and coach Amelie Mauresmo in practice
by Mark Hodgkinson
Wednesday 13 August 2014

Andy Murray's coaching partnership with Amelie Mauresmo continues to be a source of fascination for the tennis world. Wimbledon.com explains...

You don’t have to ride the Metro from Manhattan to Queens to understand that New York is a city full of tennis fans with opinions. But that does tend to reinforce the point. When those enthusiasts travel out to Flushing Meadows this summer, for the US Open starting on August 25, one of the subjects up for discussion will be Amelie Mauresmo’s association with Andy Murray.

While any reading of Mauresmo and Murray’s partnership based on the grass-court season alone would have been premature, the US Open promises what this summer’s Wimbledon couldn’t possible provide – the opportunity to make a fair assessment of the Frenchwoman’s work. Certainly, blaming Mauresmo for Murray's quarterfinal departure from Wimbledon, when he lost in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov, would have been unreasonable. After all, Murray and Mauresmo had only started working together a fortnight before Wimbledon, and even then there wasn't much chance for Mauresmo to tweak Murray’s game as he was immediately pitched into competition at Queen's Club.

Wimbledon didn’t spook Murray. It appears that there wasn't much doubt in Murray's mind that he should continue with Mauresmo, herself a former Wimbledon singles champion - the day after the tournament, Murray and Mauresmo met to discuss the future, and they agreed to continue working together. Murray wasn't the only player whose coaching arrangements have been discussed over the summer - Patrick Mouratoglou confirmed he and Serena Williams were still part of the same team, and Sloane Stephens broke off her working relationship with Paul Annacone and started a new association with Thomas Hogstedt. But it’s Murray and Mauresmo who have commanded the greatest association.

In the minutes after his defeat to Dimitrov at Wimbledon, Murray spoke of the need to work on certain aspects of his game if he was to contend for the biggest prizes in tennis. And over the summer he did some of that work with Mauresmo. The first woman to coach one of the leading modern men, Mauresmo is a long way from being a summer, grass-court novelty. She was back in the Murray camp for his mid-season training block in Miami, and then travelled with the Scot to his first tournament after Wimbledon, in Toronto, where he lost in the quarter-finals to the eventual champion, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – indeed, he was the only player to take a set off the Frenchman all week.

With each day they spend together, Mauresmo’s influence over Murray grows. “It was common sense at the beginning that my role would be as an observer giving bits of advice,” Mauresmo said in an interview with L’Equipe. “I still observe, but I intervene more. The time we spent in Miami has helped.”

While Mauresmo didn’t accompany Murray to Cincinnati – it was always the plan for her to miss that tournament – she has had a decent amount of time to prepare him for the US Open. She can therefore be judged on the quality of Murray’s performances at Flushing Meadows, at a tournament he won a couple of years ago.

Still, it's not as if Murray is making a call on Mauresmo after each and every slam. Already he is looking beyond New York. Murray's intention is that he and Mauresmo can work together for the long term, while Dani Vallverdu will continue as assistant coach, a position he held during the Lendl years. "I sat down with Amelie the day after Wimbledon, and we made a plan for the next few months, including the build-up to the US Open," Murray said. "Dani and Amelie will both be there at the US Open, that's the plan for now, but I plan on working with her for longer than post-US Open, for sure."

 


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