House of Payne: Murray breaking new ground on familiar territory

It will probably be many more World Cups before one of the 32 participating countries is managed by a woman, writes John Payne.

That is not to say that none would be capable but, let’s be honest, Hope Powell’s impressive record during her 15 years as England women’s boss hasn’t come close to landing her a club job never mind one at international level.

Tennis, of course, is a very different game altogether, but I don’t mind Andy Murray has won a few more female fans over the past week.

Not for his physique or even for being the finest British tennis player this side of the Second World War, but for being a pioneer in breaking down gender barriers.

As the Wimbledon champion is quick to point out, he has been coached by a woman before – his mum Judy having been his mentor early in his career.

But his selection of former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo is a different thing altogether.

While it is not uncommon for a woman to be coached by a man, this role reversal is the first by a grand slam winner.

Murray has, characteristically, played the whole gender issue down.

“At first it was a consideration because it’s been a few years since I’ve worked with a woman,” he said.

“But once the decision was made I haven’t thought about it.”

It’s safe to say Murray is one of the few male players who would have considered such a move.

The Australian Marinko Matosevic had presumably just emerged from a cave when he said he couldn’t do it because he didn’t think highly of the women’s game adding: ‘It’s all equal rights these days. Got to be politically correct.

“So, yeah, someone’s got to give it a go. It won’t be me.”

For Murray, having a female coach is probably no more groundbreaking than his previous choice of Ivan Lendl.

But if he does retain his title at SW19, more men on the circuit may feel they have double the options when it comes to finding a coach in future.

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