PARIS – Amelie Mauresmo was on Saturday unveiled as the first woman to captain France's Davis Cup team, a ground-breaking appointment in which Andy Murray played a major role. Mauresmo singled out the Scot, who had hired her as a coach in 2014.
"I am thinking of Andy because without him I would not be here today. He had confidence in me when others thought that it was an aberration," Mauresmo told a press conference on Saturday.
Mauresmo succeeds Yannick Noah next year, the French tennis federation (FFT) announced. In contrast, Julien Benneteau, who retires after the US Open in September, will take the reins of France's side in the women's equivalent the Fed Cup.
Mauresmo, who turns 39 next month, was captain of the Fed Cup team in 2015 and 2016, and led them from the second division to the final of the competition, which they lost to the Czech Republic in Strasbourg. Mauresmo, an Olympic silver medallist in 2004, will also be the chef de mission for the French men's tennis team in the Tokyo Olympics in two years.
FFT president Bernard Giudicelli hailed a "completely groundbreaking choice" of putting "a woman in charge of French men's tennis".
Mauresmo is unique among French players of the modern era. She is the only one to be ranked No. 1 in the world (for 39 weeks in 2004 and 2006). She also won two majors – the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006 – as well as the Fed Cup, in 2003.
Mauresmo also has a solid record as a coach. In addition to the Fed Cup team, she coached Murray, one of the men's 'Big Four', for two years (2014-2016), advised Marion Bartoli on the way to a triumph at Wimbledon in 2013 and before that worked with Michael Llodra, one of her rivals for the Davis Cup job.
Mauresmo's charisma and experience were pluses. So too were her connections. She is close to outgoing captain Noah and also to her former coach Loic Courteau, now part of the FFT staff, and Xavier Moreau, the physical trainer of the Davis Cup team.