Andy Murray advances in Paris
Scot doesn’t rule out appointing a female coach
Andy Murray celebrates victory in his men’s singles match against Marinko Matosevic of Australia on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
If Fred Perry were alive, it is not inconceivable his name would be added to the growing list of supposed candidates to coach Andy Murray. At the time of writing, they have not exhumed the great man so he is in no danger of edging ahead of Amélie Mauresmo, Andy’s mum or Lottie Dod, but, on his showing here on day five of the French Open, Murray is doing quite nicely on his own. He moved through to the third round by removing Marinko “Mad Dog” Matosevic from the tournament in an hour and 56 minutes, winning 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, and he is in excellent shape to take on 28th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The bad news is the German handed him one of his most embarrassing defeats the only time they met, a 62-minute drubbing in Monte Carlo four years ago.
The good news is Murray, with two slams and an Olympic gold medal in his kitbag, is a much more settled player now, and Kohlschreiber is not much further advanced. He looked good, though, beating a back-troubled Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-6, 6-2.
“I’m sure he’s the favourite,” Kohlschreiber said, “but I’m going to try everything, to fight from the first to last point. If he’s fit and mentally strong, he’s unbelievably tough to play.”
As for the ongoing coaching saga, Murray did say he would have no problem working with a female coach.
“To be honest, ever since I stopped working with Ivan Lendl there has been a lot of different names mentioned: Amélie this week; there was Mats Wilander [who told the Guardian he has not been approached].
“There has been Jonas Bjorkman, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Leon Smith, who is the Davis Cup captain, Bob Brett . . .”
Murray did say, after repeated prompting, he would consider hiring a female coach. ‘Coached by my mum for a long time’ “I don’t really care whether some of the other male players like it or not. That’s not something that bothers me. I was coached by my mum for a long time. I have had her around at tournaments for a long time.
Beyond the next round Murray has a testing but hardly scary path to the quarters and semis – where Rafael Nadal will almost certainly be waiting.
Nadal, meanwhile, sails above the flak like a stealth bomber. The Spaniard negotiated a potentially awkward challenge from the man a lot of the old pros view with respect and suspicion, Dominic Thiem.
The 20-year-old Austrian with the expansive game and enough power and craft in his racket to hold his own with nearly anybody in the top 10, at least in bursts, clearly was up for his big day on centre stage, but Nadal took just over two hours of sublime tennis to douse his enthusiasm. He won 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Women’s sixth seed Jelena Jankovic was forced to battle hard in the first set by Japan’s Kurumi Nara before the Serbian raced away for a 7-5 6-0. “It was not easy, she is returning a lot of balls and the court is heavy and the conditions are heavy,” Jankovic said.
Fourth seed Simona Halep beat Britain’s Heather Watson 6-2 6-4 while two former winners also progressed. Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, the 2008 champion, sailed through with a 7-5 6-2 win over Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova laboured to a 7-6(5) 6-3 win over Italian Camila Giorgi, setting up a meeting with former Wimbledon champion and fifth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. – Guardian Service