Andy Murray has stopped working with his coach, Amélie Mauresmo, following the birth of her son. Mauresmo had been the first woman coach of a top male player, working with Murray for the past two years as he secured seven major titles (but no Grand Slams).
Thirty-six-year-old Mauresmo, a former world number one, gave birth to a son, Aaron, last summer, while Murray, who turns 29 this month, became a first-time father earlier this year. The demands of parenting appeared to have changed their working relationship and, although they were supposed to spend 25 weeks per year together training, so far this year they have spent just six.
In a joint statement about the end of their association, Mauresmo said dedicating time and travel "has been a challenge".
The issue of Mauresmo’s gender had long been a talking point, and writing in the Guardian, tennis correspondent Kevin Mitchell said: “[The relationship between Murray and Mauresmo] was a friendship as much as a partnership and in the face of some low-grade chauvinism, they grew closer. That they would both become parents strengthened the bond.
“Murray, invariably a straight talker, did not shy away from the subject of gender although Mauresmo often diplomatically tapped it into the shrubbery. Murray’s view was that he had been around women all his life in tennis – his mother, Judy, strongly to the fore from an early age – and could see no reason why Mauresmo’s deep knowledge of strategy and tactics could not be a good fit for him.”
Mauresmo's search for the correct work/life balance appears to have been behind the split
Mitchell suggests that although the pair are saying that their parting was mutual, it was unlikely to be so, and that the “educated guess” would be that Mauresmo decided to call time on the relationship.
The Daily Mail says that Mauresmo's “search for the correct work/life balance appears to have been behind the split in her groundbreaking coaching arrangement with Andy Murray”.
Last year, I wrote that the sports press were behaving as though parenthood is something that only happens to women, when they reported on the impending birth of Murray’s first child with his wife, Kim Sears. And, with the news that Murray and Mauresmo have ceased their relationship, the spotlight is once again on the differing work/life sacrifices men and women are prepared to make when they become parents.