at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Andy Murray's mother Judy believes his shock decision to hire Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach will prove an inspired move.
Wimbledon champion Murray is the only member of the world's top 10 to employ a female coach, with the pair joining forces for the first time at Queen's Club this week.
Mauresmo has only limited coaching experience, but Murray has already mentioned how impressed he is with the former world number one's calm personality and questioning nature.
And Judy Murray, the British Fed Cup captain, believes her son, who is far more sensitive than his gruff public persona suggests, will receive more emotional support from Mauresmo than his predecessor Ivan Lendl.
“Tennis is a sport of immense mental pressure, players at times need a lot of emotional support,” Judy Murray explained in her BT Sport column.
“That's probably why you see the top male players always travelling with their wives and girlfriends.
“Sometimes it's just easier to open up about feelings to a woman.
“With guys, egos come into play and you don't want to lose face in front of them.”
Murray ignored the credentials of several leading male coaches including Larry Stefanki, Roger Rasheed and Darren Cahill to hire Mauresmo, who is the French Fed Cup captain and also helped Marion Bartoli win Wimbledon last season.
Murray's trailblazing move has raised plenty of eyebrows, with Australian Marinko Matosevic the first male player to publicly criticise the decision.
Judy Murray insists gender should have no bearing when it comes to top stars selecting coaches, but hopes that more women can move into high-level roles in future now her son has shown there is no reason to let gender become an issue.
“I certainly think women tend to listen more and spend more time getting to know their charges as people,” she said, explaining why son Andy chose Mauresmo.
“The more you know your player as a person, the easier it is to find the right way to communicate with them.
“Of course, there are lots of great male coaches out there but there are many who are 'It's my way or the highway'.
“They're not really interested in listening to what the player has to say. It's just a case of “I'm the boss and this is how it should be”.
“But there's always two sides to everything and if you listen, you're more likely to make a suggestion that actually fits the player you're working with.
“I saw one report that mentioned the possible “stigma” of a woman coaching a man. There shouldn't be any at all. It's a bold move but I think it's a very good move. And it raises awareness.
“I don't see any reason why you can't have more women coaching at the top end of the game, at the moment we're heavily outnumbered.” – Sapa-AFP