Murray closing in on new coach

Andy Murray is expected to announce the appointment of a new coach after the French Open (AP)

Andy Murray is expected to announce the appointment of a new coach after the French Open (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Andy Murray is close to appointing a new coach having identified the person he wants to succeed Ivan Lendl.

The Wimbledon champion began his search in earnest early last month after the announcement in March that his hugely successful two-year partnership with Lendl had ended.

Many names have been linked with the post, ranging from high-profile figures like John McEnroe and Mats Wilander to well-respected coaches Bob Brett and Larry Stefanki.

Key for Murray will have been the amount of time the candidates were prepared to commit to the role, which was the insurmountable obstacle that caused Lendl to step away and which almost certainly rules out McEnroe.

Brett and Roger Rasheed have been considered by Murray in the past but the latter's successful partnership with Grigor Dimitrov means he is not a contender this time.

Murray confirmed he has one name in mind and he has held talks with that person, although no deal has yet been offered or agreed.

The Scot told the BBC: " There's always a few complications but as long as the desire from both people is to work together then hopefully it can happen soon."

It would be a surprise were Murray to name his coach during the tournament, with the announcement likely to come in time for the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club in two weeks' time.

There is no immediate hurry given Murray has Dani Vallverdu, his long-time friend and a valued assistant to Lendl, alongside him and can also call on the expertise of Darren Cahill, who has helped him out between coaches before.

Murray said: " I wouldn't expect anything over the next few days, obviously.

"(It'll be) whenever it's right, basically. For me, it's not about rushing into something. It's about getting it right, getting the right person. Until that's the case, I'll keep doing what I'm doing with the guys I'm working with.

"There are also people that I can speak to about things. I have met a lot of good people that I respect and listen to their opinions on the tennis tour. I'm not in a panic to get someone, but it's a lot closer than it was."

Murray took advice from Cahill among others before appointing Lendl but has been keen not to get too many opinions this time around.

He said: "I chat to a few people about it, but ultimately it has to come down to the player/coach relationship, that's very important.

"If you speak to a lot of people about it, everyone can have a completely different opinion on a certain individual. T hat can then also become confusing.

"You need to trust your instincts on whether something's going to work or not. That's what I have done in the past, and it's worked fairly well."

When Murray hired Lendl, the goal of winning a first grand slam was all consuming.

Although that is clearly no longer the case, the 27-year-old insists nothing has changed in terms of his priorities.

"The target is the same," he said. "The target is to win grand slams. That's what I want to do. I will pick the person I feel is best able to help me with that.

"The Ivan situation obviously worked out well. At that stage I hadn't won a grand slam, but the goal was still to win grand slams.

"With Ivan having been in the same position in his career, where he lost his first four finals, that was probably why that one worked very well."

The French Open draw was a mixed bag for Murray, who will face Kazakh Andrey Golubev first up, with German-Jamaican Dustin Brown or Australian Marinko Matosevic potential second-round opponents.

From there it gets tougher. Talented German Philipp Kohlschreiber is the first seed he could meet in the third round while Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka is a potential quarter-final opponent and he is in the same half as reigning eight-time champion Rafael Nadal.

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