Murray looking to Mauresmo influence

Heather Watson

Heather Watson

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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.”

Murray is likely to face the first real test of his Wimbledon title defence today 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.”

World number one Rafael Nadal dug his way out of deep trouble to gain revenge over his 2012 Wimbledon conqueror Lukas Rosol.

Nadal was a set down and 5-3 behind in a second-set tie-break but recovered from that threatening position to win 4-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 6-4 on Centre Court.

Heather Watson’s best battling efforts were neither punchy nor pinpoint enough to overcome world number seven Angelique Kerber in Wimbledon’s second round.

Watson summoned all the grit that guided her recovery from glandular fever to force a third set against the German ninth seed, only to slip out 6-2 5-7 6-1.

The British number one surrendered the opening set in just 26 minutes, before rallying to claim the second in twice the time – but Kerber’s superior class eventually told.