A fit Andy Murray could still be competitive against top players and tennis fans should consider themselves lucky still to be able to see the three-time Grand Slam champion in action, the Briton’s former coach Daniel Vallverdu has told Reuters.
Venezuelan Vallverdu currently coaches three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka who crushed former world number one Murray 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round of this year’s French Open. It was Murray’s joint-worst loss at a Grand Slam and came on his return to the claycourts at Roland Garros after a three-year absence, during which he has had two major hip surgeries.
The heavy loss prompted seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander to suggest that Murray should consider whether he has the right to accept wildcards into majors at the expense of emerging young players.
“It’s pretty amazing what he’s doing, coming back from the type of injury that he’s had,” Vallverdu said by phone from Monaco.
“We’re all very lucky to still be able to have him around and not only in the locker room but to see him compete.”
Vallverdu was part of Murray’s team between 2010 and 2014 when the Scot won the US Open and Wimbledon and also clinched the men’s singles gold medal at his home Olympic Games in London. “As long as he’s able to keep himself fit and I wouldn’t say pain-free but with not so much pain and physically fit, I wouldn’t be surprised if Andy has some very good results next year,” the 34-year-old added.
“What they’re going to be is difficult to say but I do believe that he if he manages to keep his body fit, he will be competitive against the top guys and in the big events as well. I would never write him off.”
Vallverdu was 24 when he started working with Murray, who was a year younger, and he has gone on to coach top names in tennis like Tomas Berdych, Grigor Dimitrov and former women’s world number one Karolina Pliskova.
Vallverdu feels the foundation of a relationship with a player is professionalism and mutual respect. “Obviously having a good personal relationship helps, but the base of it is making sure that as a coach I’m getting the best out of the player and I help the player maximise his potential,” Vallverdu said.
Murray says his three children have ‘no interest’ in tennis
Meanwhile, Murray has revealed he can’t teach his children to play tennis because they won’t listen to him. The three-time Grand Slam champion admitted he doesn’t think any of his kids will follow him into the sport, the Daily Record reported. He said how he has already tried unsuccessfully to coach daughters Sophia, four, and three-year-old Edie on the basics of the game. Andy added one-year-old son Teddy is only interested in “picking up a tennis racket and knocking stuff over”.
Murray confessed his offspring may be a chip off the old block as he was also a difficult pupil for coaches.
Asked if he had tried coaching his children, Andy said: “I’ve tried, they’ve got no interest in what I’ve got to say to them. If they want to try and play tennis, I’d love to help. I can’t see it happening, though.”
He added: “There’s certainly lots of things that are challenging when you’re coaching me, because I can be a pain. But I also work hard and feel I’m very dedicated, so maybe that offsets some of the difficulties. My coaches might say otherwise.”
Murray has been at home in Surrey with wife Kim, 32, and their children for much of this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said he found it “tough” not being able to play tennis during the lockdown but insisted he didn’t want to complain because he is “in a way more fortunate position than most people”.
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