Murray ready to mix it up
4:23pm Thursday 26th June 2014 in © Press Association 2014
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 serve 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."
It is clear how much Murray enjoys using all the skills at his disposal, something his mother Judy remembers from his junior days.
Judy Murray told Press Association Sport of Mauresmo: "I think there are similarities in the way she feels the game and the way she played. I'm sure we'll see Andy using those things a lot more.
"He's always felt the game really well, had a lot of creativity, a lot of imagination, and a lot of fun playing like that as well.
"He was very successful at a very young age. When he was 12 he won the British under-14 championships and he was quite small.
"He was beating kids who were a couple of years older because he was smart and because he had variety, because he couldn't beat them with strength.
"He was always good with using his brain and he had lots of weapons."
Murray is likely to face the first real test of his Wimbledon title defence on Friday 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 ATP Tour title of his career 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.
"He's obviously started well here. It will be a step up for sure. He's improving all the time."
Bautista Agut is at a career-high ranking of 23 having climbed 50 places since the start of the year.
The stand-out 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.
"I'm not scared. I will try to play my game. I am winning a lot of matches. I will try to be aggressive and I will try to enjoy playing with Andy here on grass."
Like a lot of tennis players, Bautista Agut was a talented footballer who trained with Villarreal as a child. He might have become professional but chose tennis.
He said: "(In football) it was not easy to change from a small field to a big field. When you are 12, 13 in Spain, you change.
"I had to change my friends on the team. I was playing with people one year older than me and it was not easy. I was not feeling good with this team.
"With tennis, I was enjoying it. I was playing good. I had to take one sport."