PARIS (AP) — After spending his youth being coached by his mother, Andy Murray is turning to another woman to help him defend his Wimbledon title.
Murray hired former top-ranked player Amelie Mauresmo as his coach on Sunday, saying the appointment is initially for the grass-court season.
“I’m excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired,” Murray said in a statement. “She’s faced adversity plenty of times in her career, but was an amazing player and won major titles, including Wimbledon.”
Last year, Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, but he has been without a coach since he parted ways with Ivan Lendl in March. Murray reached the French Open semifinals this week, losing to Rafael Nadal in straight sets, and said after the match that he hoped to have a new coach in place for Wimbledon.
The tournament at the All England Club starts on June 23.
At the French Open, rumors started that Murray may hire Mauresmo. He was asked last week whether there would be a stigma attached to a man having a female coach.
“I don’t really care whether some of the other male players like it or not. … That’s not something that really bothers me,” Murray said after the second round at Roland Garros. “I was coached by my mum for a long time. I have had her around at tournaments for a long time.
“There has been ex-players and stuff that have said, ‘Oh, your mom shouldn’t be around or she shouldn’t come and support you or come to watch,'” Murray added. “You know, it’s silly. Everyone is entitled to have the team around them that they want.”
Mauresmo is a Frenchwoman who won two Grand Slam titles. She won her first at the Australian Open in 2006, and followed that up with the Wimbledon title a few months later.
She retired at the end of the 2009 season, and has been French Fed Cup captain since 2012.
“Andy contacted me a few weeks ago and we started to talk about this possibility to work, to be working together,” Mauresmo said Sunday at Roland Garros. “Then we talked again a little bit more about how to do the things maybe about his game, about different things. We came up with the will from both sides to give it a shot.”
Mauresmo wouldn’t say what exactly she plans to work on, but did say it was a “surprise” when Murray called her.
And she also said they would talk about extending their partnership after Wimbledon.
“We are going to do the grass-court season and we will talk after that,” Mauresmo said.
With Lendl by his side, Murray finally won a major title at the 2012 U.S. Open. Then he won the Wimbledon title a year later.
Murray grew up being coached by his mother, Judy Murray. She is now the British Fed Cup captain.
“I have a very strong coaching team already in place, but I think Amelie brings with her experience and tactical expertise and will push us all to improve,” Murray said. “Everyone I know talks very highly of Amelie, as a person and coach, and I’m convinced that her joining the team will help us push on – I want to win more Grand Slams.”
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