Amelie Mauresmo may not have had the chance to make much of an impact on Andy Murray’s game yet, but it seems certain the Frenchwoman will encourage the Wimbledon champion’s love of variety.
The Scot has always stood out from his rivals for his point construction, confounding his opponents with a range of spins and slices.
Under former coach Ivan Lendl it became less evident, although there could be no argument that the changes worked given Murray went on to win his first two grand slam titles and Olympic gold.
But, while Lendl was a committed baseliner, Mauresmo was one of the last serve-volleyers in the women’s game and relied as much on touch as power.
The same skills were very much in evidence in Murray’s second-round demolition of Blaz Rola at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
The third seed came to the net 17 times in his 6-1 6-1 6-0 victory, winning 13 of the points, while the drop shot – his favourite shot but also sometimes his nemesis – was another weapon of choice.
Mauresmo no doubt looked on with approval from the stands, and it is likely the Frenchwoman’s style of game was something that stood out when Murray was considering his new coach.
The 27-year-old said of his variety: “That’s something that I’ve used throughout my career. That’s how I’ve always tried to play the game. That’s how I grew up playing, what my mum tried to teach me.
“Most of my coaches since then have viewed that as being a positive, so they haven’t tried to take it away from me.
“Obviously that was something that Amelie did very well. She served and volleyed more than me and came forward a little bit more. I’m sure that’s something that I’ll try and work on with her.
“The variety is an important part of my game. It’s something I’m sure she’ll encourage.”
Murray is likely to face the first real test of his Wimbledon title defence today when he plays 27th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.
The 26-year-old Spaniard is having the best season of his career and won the first-ever ATP Tour title on grass in Holland last week.
Murray and Bautista Agut have never played a match against each other before, but they practised together on clay in Valencia in April.
“He’s a very good player,” said Murray. “He doesn’t play like a lot of the Spanish guys. He plays very flat. Not much top spin. The grass courts suit his game pretty well.”
Bautista Agut is at a career-high ranking of 23 having climbed 50 places since the start of the year.
The outstanding result of his year came in the second round of the Australian Open, when he upset Juan Martin del Potro.
“It was very good for me to win this match because after this match I thought I could win against every player,” said the Spaniard. “It gave me a lot of confidence to start the season very well.”