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Murray Surprised By Lack Of Female Coaches, Questions ATP’s Saudi Plans

  • 3 min read

Former world number one Andy Murray said he was surprised there were not more female coaches in the sport, having found success by working with Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo in the past.

Mauresmo, a two-time Grand Slam champion, coached Murray between 2014 and 2016 when the Scot reached three Grand Slam finals and won claycourt titles for the first time.

Mauresmo coached several players after her retirement but is currently the tournament director at the French Open.

“It’s strange, I’m probably surprised there’s not more female coaches across both (men’s and women’s) Tours,” Murray told reporters on Saturday ahead of the Wimbledon championships.

“I didn’t necessarily think at the time that it was for sure going to spark loads of new or more female coaches to come into the game. It wasn’t exactly received unbelievably well at the time, I wasn’t necessarily expecting that.

“But it’s probably slightly more deeper-rooted than just the top of the game. I think it’s probably the case throughout the sport. It probably starts from the bottom up.”

Murray said tennis needed to do a better job of encouraging more women to take up coaching at the lower levels first.

“Then hopefully that transitions onto the men’s and women’s tour a bit more,” he added.

“I don’t even know that it would be a handful of female coaches across both tours, which is not enough.”

Murray, 36, also said he would have to think twice about the prospect of playing in Saudi Arabia, having refused to play there before.

Last month, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said he had had positive discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Saudi Arabia has pumped huge amounts of money into sports like golf and soccer in recent years but critics have accused the country of using PIF to engage in “sportswashing” in the face of heavy criticism of the country’s human rights record.

“In the past when we were asked to go and play there, we were asked to go and play exhibition tournaments,” Murray said.

“If they become major tournaments on the tour it becomes a slightly different question and it’s a difficult one based on how the tour and the rankings and everything work, how important they are to get into other events and stuff.

“When you start missing them, you obviously get penalised for that. It’s definitely something I would have to think about. Unfortunately it’s the way that a lot of sports seem to be going now.”