Amelie Mauresmo believes an increase in opportunities for female coaches should be seen as Andy Murray’s legacy.
Murray broke the mould in 2014 by hiring Mauresmo and both parties were shocked by the reaction from within the game and the scrutiny that followed.
That partnership ended in 2016 but Mauresmo has returned to the men’s game this season as the coach of her countryman Lucas Pouille and has guided him to his first grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open.
His success has once again brought attention onto the male-female dynamic, with Pouille saying on court after his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic: “It’s not about being a woman or a man, you just have to know what you’re doing and she does.”
He has not received the sort of negative messages Murray did, and Mauresmo said of the Scot: “It’s one part of his legacy. He’s been really outspoken about equality, about women being able to coach, whether a male player or a female player.
“He’s been really proactive in this area so it’s definitely going to be one thing that people remember about him. And the fact that he hired me at the time probably put the idea, at least in Lucas’ mind maybe, to think, ‘Yeah, maybe she can help me’.”
Mauresmo has always been keen simply to get on with the job rather than enter into gender politics.
She added: “It was much, much bigger with Andy, it was also the first time, it was four or five years ago, so things change a little, not that much. Lucas wasn’t such a high player profile as Andy was at the time so the attention was not as big.
“It’s becoming bigger now because he’s in the semis but, for me, I don’t really care about this to be honest, I just make sure we do the right job every day and that’s what matters.”
Female coaches are unusual at the top level across the sport, not just in the men’s game, but Mauresmo has company in the last-four club at Melbourne Park with Karolina Pliskova coached by two women – former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez and Australian Rennae Stubbs.
Martinez has already had slam success as a coach having guided Garbine Muguruza to the Wimbledon crown in 2017.
Mauresmo is travelling with her two small children but believes the difficulties in combining family life with a coaching career is one reason why there is such a big disparity.
She said: “It’s a job that you have to travel a lot to be able to do it in the proper way. Maybe the guys feel they can leave more easily. I’m privileged in a way that I’m able to bring all my family with me so that is not, for me, a limit.”
Mauresmo must now try to help Pouille achieve what would be one of the more unexpected upsets in recent years by beating Novak Djokovic on Friday.
She will certainly be familiar with the top seed’s many strengths having seen Murray face him 12 times during a little under two years together – the Scot winning just once.
Asked what she had learned from working with Murray, Mauresmo said: “For me it’s about the work, the work ethics, the intensity that Andy has always put in every day, every morning, every afternoon, in every session that he was doing, whether he was on the court or outside.
“And trying to stick to the player’s game, what the strengths are – Andy and Lucas have very different weapons in their games and weaknesses as well so trying to work on both to make sure everything improves and always looking for the detail that is going to make the difference.”