‘You should tell them you’re considering working with a DOG’: Andy Murray opens up on ridicule from rival players after he hired Amelie Mauresmo… with ex-world No 1 adamant coach was judged harsher ‘purely because she was a woman’
Andy Murray has revealed he was ridiculed by fellow players and their coaches for hiring Amelie Mauresmo as his coach.
The former world No 1 surprised the men’s tennis tour in June 2014 – given the rarity for a woman to coach a top-level male player – by appointing two-time French Grand Slam winner Mauresmo having parted ways with eight-time major winner Ivan Lendl.
Murray, opening up on the hire of Mauresmo to Rosemary Reed, co-producer of Sky Sports’ new show ‘Driving Force‘ with his mother Judy, explained how the analysis of their partnership by players and media was different to when he worked with a male coach.
Andy Murray (left) has revealed he was ridiculed by fellow players for hiring Amelie Mauresmo
Murray worked with Mauresmo for nearly two years, during which he rose to World No 2
The Scot worked with the 41-year-old – herself a former world No 1 – for nearly two years and rose to world No 2 at one stage before the pair announced a ‘mutual’ end to their partnership in May 2016.
Now speaking on Driving Force – a programme focusing on 11 female athletes over the same number of weeks – Murray believes Mauresmo was judged more harshly than his previous coaches for his failure to win a Grand Slam while she was his coach purely because she was a woman.
‘It was in the press that I was considering working with a female coach,’ Murray said.
‘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.” And like that sort of stuff.
‘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.
Murray (left), speaking to co-producer Rosemary Reed (right), said he believes Mauresmo was treated more harshly than previous coaches for his failure to win a Grand Slam at that time
Murray appointed Mauresmo after parting ways with eight-time major winner Ivan Lendl (left)
‘Every time I lost the match, which was never the case kind of, when I lost matches previously in my career, nobody questioned my coach. In tennis generally, it’s the individual that gets questioned. And that wasn’t the case when I was working with Amelie.
‘It’s one of my regrets that I didn’t win a Grand Slam when I was working with her. And for people, a lot of people, that was considered a failure because I didn’t do that.
‘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.’
Meanwhile, Andy’s mother Judy, who co-produces the new 11-episode docuseries with Reed, spoke herself about the terrible event of the Dunblane massacre in March 1996 and its impact on Andy his brother Jamie as children at the devastated school.
Andy’s mother Judy Murray (pictured) will co-produce Sky’s Driving Force with Reed
Judy Murray opened up on the horror of the Dunblane Primary School massacre in 1996
Thomas Hamilton shot 16 children and one teacher dead and injured 15 others at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, before killing himself in what remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history.
And Judy revealed she had given the 44-year-old lifts to Stirling station in the past as he ran boys’ clubs in the area, but found it ‘very difficult’ to explain to her sons Andy and Jamie what had happened.
‘I had them [Andy and Jamie] in the car and then I stopped the car and I explained to them what had happened,’ she said. ‘They had both attended boys’ clubs that Thomas Hamilton had run in the high school in the town, of course they knew him.
‘I’d given him lifts to the station before. It wasn’t like we knew him well, but they were just, “Why would he do something like that?” And of course, you have no answers.’
She revealed she found it hard to tell sons Andy (right) and Jamie (left) what had happened
Driving Force launches its series on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena at 9pm and on Sky Sports Main Event at 10.15pm on Tuesday November 24 @drivingforceseries #drivingforceseries