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.
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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.
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“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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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“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.”