Amelie Mauresmo, the former Eastbourne favourite, has taken over the mantle from Ivan Lendl to become the new coach of Scottish ace Andy Murray – but only initially for the grass court season.
And it is understood that Marion Bartoli, the 2011 Aegon International winner, was the person who helped bring Mauresmo and Murray together to discuss potentially working together.
Mauresmo explained: “Andy contacted me a few weeks ago and we started to talk about this possibility to be working together. Then we talked again 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. But we are going to do the grass court season and we will talk after that.”
Mauresmo, a two-time Grand Slam champion, watched in horror as Murray was totally dismantled in 100 minutes during a one-sided 2014 French Open semi-final encounter with Spain’s Rafael Nadal.
So, like her predecessor, Mauresmo has her work cut out. Like expat Czech Lendl she brings to Team Murray not only a wealth of experience as an ex-world #1 but is expected to help the Olympic champion achieve his ambition of winning at Wimbledon again.
Mauresmo’s task is not as easy as it sounds despite Murray competing in London as defending champion at both Queen’s Club and Wimbledon, as his results – apart from Roland Garros – have generally taken a nose-dive since he parted with Lendl in March.
Yet the French Fed Cup captain has already impressed in her role as coach at English grass court tournaments, with two unexpected two for compatriots.
Having retired from the WTA Tour in 2009, she helped Michael Llodra claim the 2010 Aegon International at Eastbourne and briefly oversaw Bartoli clinch the 2013 Wimbledon crown.
Murray was enthusiastic and admitted: “Amelie brings with her experience and tactical expertise. I’m excited by the possibilities of the new partnership, and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired.
“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 because I want to win more Grand Slams.”
Murray is used to being coached by a woman, having been taught the sport and guided by his mother Judy, who is now the British Fed Cup captain, before he turned professional.
There have been three women coaching men on the ATP Tour who have played at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park – Mauresmo oversaw Llodra, Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin coached by his mother Klaudiya and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin coached by his wife Anastasia.
Mauresmo added: “Andy’s an amazingly talented tennis player, and I feel I have plenty to offer both him and the team around him. I’m looking forward to getting down to work and helping him win more Grand Slams.”
But Mauresmo has big shoes to follow if she stays after Wimbledon with the Scot, as Lendl guided Murray to two Grand Slams and the Olympic Gold Medal during their two-year stint.