One Female Does Not Make a Movement

I’m not a huge tennis fan, but I have been known to watch the occasional men’s match when I catch one on. Apparently Andy Murray, No. 5-ranked player in the world, has hired a female coach, retired former top-ranked female Amélie Mauresmo.

At first I didn’t understand why that was a big deal, but as I read the article I learned that Murray is the only player in the ATP top 100 coached by a female he is not related to.

Besides the fact that she might be a really good coach, everyone is of course wondering if his selection means the beginning of a movement where women train men in tennis.

I like the sound of that, for reasons that have nothing to do with this blog, but I doubt very seriously whether one interesting, allegedly odd, pairing between coach and player will be the gas to drive a movement. If anything, Murray’s choice reinforces another trend in tennis — and in many workplace environments on or off the court — where top talent chooses other retired top talent to be their coach.

The article pointed out that No. 2-ranked Novak Djokovic (six-time Grand Slam champ Boris Becker), No. 4 Roger Federer (six-time Grand Slam champ Stefan Edberg) and second-ranked American woman and No. 19 in the world Sloane Stephens (No. 12-ranked Paul Annacone, who also previously coached Federer and legend Pete Sampras) all have recently hired a standout as a personal teacher.

Before hiring Mauresmo, Murray played under eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl.

I hope Murray wins and wins big. His success — and Mauresmo’s by association — may not start a movement, but it will open some minds and change up the teacher-pupil dynamic in tennis.