It seemed Andy Murray had rocked the boat even before he had officially announced Amelie Mauresmo as his coach.
The Brit became the first high-profile men’s player to appoint a female coach, outside of the family, when he hired Mauresmo in 2014.
Murray recalls how the news was received by the tennis world.
“It was in the press that I was considering working with a female coach,” Murray told Sky Sports’ ‘Driving Force’ show.
“I started getting messages from other players, from their coaches, saying: ‘I can’t believe you’re playing this game with the media. You should tell them tomorrow you’re considering working with a dog.’
“I was like, ‘Wow.’ I never had experienced that before because I’d never worked with a female coach on the tour. And then it’s kind of spiralled from there that when I started working with her, yeah, there was negative press towards her.”
From the beginning, Mauresmo’s partnership with Murray was questioned despite the Frenchwoman having won Grand Slam titles and climbing to World No 1 on the WTA rankings.
Meanwhile, a lot of male, and female for that matter, players work with coaches who haven’t even played the game at the highest level.
Through all the criticism, which reeked of sexism, directed at Mauresmo, Murray supported her steadfastly.
“It’s one of my regrets that I didn’t win a Grand Slam when I was working with her,” said Murray, who worked with Mauresmo for two years.
He did reach No 2 in the world under her guidance. The Scot has won three Grand Slam titles, all under the watchful eye of the legendary Czech Ivan Lendl.
“For people, a lot of people, that was considered a failure because I didn’t do that (win a major with Mauresmo,” Murray added.
“When actually, if that was the case then all of my coaches bar one have failed with me. And yeah, I just, I feel like she was harshly judged by a lot of people just purely because she was a woman.”