Andy Murray admits he would love to have Amelie Mauresmo as his coach on a long-term basis after making the perfect start to their bold partnership at Queen’s Club on Wednesday.
Wimbledon champion Murray sent shockwaves through the tennis world when he announced on Sunday that Frenchwoman Mauresmo would replace Ivan Lendl, who quit in March, as his coach for at least the grass-court season.
The 27-year-old’s decision to ignore several high-profile male coaches to hire Mauresmo, a former world number one and Wimbledon champion, has been the talk of the sport for the last three days.
Mauresmo, the current France Fed Cup captain, has tried her hand at coaching on several occasions since retiring in 2009.
She had a brief spell working with male player Michael Llodra in 2010, but in the testosterone fuelled world of men’s tennis few leading players have female coaches and the decision is seen in some quarters as a major gamble.
In the circumstances, Murray opening his Queen’s title defence with a routine 6-4, 6-4 second round victory over France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu was exactly the kind of low-stress first date the pair needed.
“It’s different obviously. Any time you start new with anyone it’s going to be slightly different,” Murray said.
“We spoke a bit about the match and the tactics and then chatted a little bit afterwards. But this week there’s not going to be any big changes in my game.
“We will chat about the stuff I will be working on over the next few days, and then after the tournament is finished here, I’ll get four or five days of practice where I can work on some things before Wimbledon.”
Murray has already been impressed by Mauresmo’s calm personality and questioning nature during their brief time together.
The world number five, who was coached by his mother Judy at the start of his career, makes no bones about his desire to cement the relationship for the foreseeable future, but he is wisely taking his time to ensure everyone is happy with the arrangement.
Once the hectic grass-court season is over after Wimbledon, he will talk to the rest of his backroom team and then Mauresmo herself before deciding whether to continue the partnership.
“With all coaches, most players will have a trial period,” Murray said.
“I hope it works out long term because I like her. She’s a good person.
“I’ve enjoyed speaking to her. She’s very easy to talk to.
“I’ll chat to the rest of the coaching team over the next few weeks and see how they think it’s going.
“Obviously I’ll talk with Amelie, too, because it’s not just me that makes the decision.
“If Amelie hates working with me and finds it very difficult being around me, then she won’t want to do it either.
“We’ll sit down after Wimbledon. We haven’t agreed specifically on anything long-term just yet. There is a number of weeks that I would like.”
Asked if that number was around the same commitment that Lendl gave, the Scot replied “more”.
Murray, whose next opponent in the third round will be Czech 15th seed Radek Stepanek, insisted he hadn’t dwelt long on the social significance of his trailblazing decision because he is more concerned with how Mauresmo can improve his game.
“It was obviously a consideration that she’s female, because for a few years I haven’t worked with a woman,” Murray said.
“I gave it a little bit of thought, but now the decision has been made it’s not something I’m thinking about.
“It’s about the total package that she can offer and the qualities she can bring that will help me.
“I think she’s a strong character. She knows how to win. She was the best in the world and won Wimbledon.
“It’s just off the court and when we’re having discussions about tennis whether it clicks or not. We won’t know yet.”