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It's been humming along in the background since June. The British tennis establishment was beside itself that Andy Murray chose Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach. They kept their upset to a dull roar until now though. After Mr. Murray was bagelled at the year ending WTF in London there was no holding them back and now such great tennis players as Greg Rusedski and multiple Grand Slam winner Tim Henman are going all in criticizing Murray's game and his choice of coach.
First it was Rusedski criticizing Murray's second serve, something has always been a problem in his game. It's Mauresmo's fault.
Now it's Henman talking smack about the Murray/Mauresmo collaboration.
When you reflect on the match, for me his game had no identity,' said the 40-year-old BBC pundit. 'What was the plan out there? (...) 'It's about clarity of thought and that's when you've got to take a step back and look at the whole set-up, the whole team and his whole lifestyle and see whether that is working as well as it can. At the end of the day, he's the only one that can answer that.
I should mention that Marin Cilic, 2014 US Open champion, played like shit but no one is raking his coach Goran Ivanisevic over the coals. He's one of the guys.
What's amusing about all of this shade is that Murray is playing the way he's always played, poor second serve and passive aggressive rope-a-dope tennis. None of the critics are talking about what Murray did to get to the WTF's. He won three tournaments to make it and even with a week off he had to be exhausted. It's as if those wins didn't happen. Instead a bad loss means it's all the new coaches fault and she has to go.
Who do I blame? Ivan Lendl. He's the one who blindsided Murray saying he'd had enough and wants to do other stuff that doesn't involve coaching Andy Murray. There was so much discussion about what effect that dumping would have on Murray right? Of course there wasn't. Instead the tennis "press" turned to who Murray would pick next. John McEnroe was mentioned frequently. Andre Agassi's name came up. So did Pete Sampras. Not one member of the LTA was mentioned if I recall correctly. It's as if it was assumed that the person would be someone from Lendl's generation so that the players from that time could try and bring back the tennis they played and make it work with modern racquets engineered for a different type of game, one they can't play and barely comprehend.
Murray fooled them all. Not only did he go outside of the US, British, Australian tennis axis but he chose - please clutch your pearls - a woman! A French woman! Hold on Elizabeth it's the big one!
With a coaching change the first thing that happens is that you have to unlearn the old system and learn the new one.
Player and coach have to learn what buttons to push and not to push, how far each one can go with the other. The tennis philosophy of the new coach has to fit in and adjust to the mindset of the player. This takes time.
Rusedski's tome seemed to be him saying he wants to become Murray's coach. Henman's comments are supposed to be constructive criticism since he's described as a good friend of Murray. Not every British tennis fan is on the "get rid of that woman" train but as my mother used to say enpty barrels make the most noise.
I don't know what the future holds for Murray and Mauresmo. I do know that he will go to his friends wedding and then probably head for Florida where he trains. Whatever Murray decides it will be his decision.