Henman surprise at Murray Mauresmo move

Frank Dalleres
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FORMER British No1 Tim Henman admits he was stunned by Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s choice of Amelie Mauresmo as coach, but believes they will form a winning team if she can tap into his aggressive side.

Murray is working with former women’s world No1 Mauresmo on his SW19 title defence having caused a stir earlier this month by becoming one of the few leading male players to hire a female coach. Though the move shocked him, Henman predicts a fruitful relationship between the pair if they work together beyond the brief grass-court season – and as long as the Frenchwoman can coax the Scot into dominating matches as he did under previous mentor Ivan Lendl.

“It was a big surprise. I didn’t have a clue what he was thinking or planning beforehand, and I’ll be very interested to see how it goes,” said Henman.

“I like Amelie a lot, she has been there and done it herself, but the most important thing is that she understands his game and how best to advise him based on that game.

“I hope that this is going to be a long-term appointment rather than just for the grass court season because continuity is important.

“The two most important areas for me are his first serve, and ensuring he has a high first percentage, and for him to find the controlled aggression from the baseline that he found under Ivan Lendl. As good as his defence is, he can’t afford to just play reactive tennis; he needs to play pro-active tennis.”

Murray, who equalled his best run at Roland Garros by reaching the French Open semi-finals this month, beat Tommy Robredo yesterday at the BNP Paribas Classic at London’s Hurlingham Club in his last warm-up match before Wimbledon begins on Monday.

Tim Henman will join John McEnroe, Mark Philippoussis and Mansour Bahrami in the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall, 3-7 December. For tickets and hospitality: www.statoilmasterstennis.com