Paris: Amelie Mauresmo insists Wimbledon champion Andy Murray's surprise decision to hire her as his new coach should be applauded as a major boost for gender equality in tennis.
Amelie Mauresmo. Pic/AFP
Murray yesterday announced the Frenchwoman will coach him during the grasscourt campaign, starting at Queen's this week ahead of his Wimbledon title defence from June 23.
The 27-year-old Scot will become one of the very few male players to be coached by a woman and the only one among the world's top 10.
Mauresmo, a former world number one who won Wimbledon in 2006, knows Murray's decision will be closely scrutinised by a sport which for years rewarded men with greater prize money than women.
The issue of sexism in tennis came to the fore again during the French Open when Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, a semi-finalist at the tournament, claimed he didn't want his sisters to follow him into the sport because "they need to think about family and kids".
In such a climate, Mauresmo is adamant Murray, who was coached by his mother Judy at the start of his career, has advanced the cause of women in sport with such an enlightened appointment.