'Feminist' Andy Murray calls for more female coaches after Mauresmo success

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Andy Murray has called for more elite female coaches in tennis after revealing that working with Amelie Mauresmo has "opened his eyes" to inequality in the sport.

It is almost 12 months since Murray bucked the trend of using male coaches to hire the Frenchwoman, and their relationship has proved a success, with Murray most recently picking up successive clay-court titles in Munich and Monte Carlo before pulling out of the hat-trick attempt in Rome with fatigue.

Murray is preparing for the French Open, which begins on May 24, and it could be his last major with Mauresmo before she takes time out to prepare to give birth to her first child. After reverting to a male coach - Jonas Bjorkman - while she's away, he insisted more needs to be done to promote women in professional sport.

"I knew it [having a female coach] hadn't happened before," Murray told magazine RedBulletin. "But I wasn't thinking of it being a ground-breaking move or having an influence that could cross into other sports.

"Then, after seeing the response to it, and some of the things that have been said, I can see it is. I've actually become very passionate about getting more women in sport, giving women more opportunities. When I was younger, I wasn't thinking about stuff like that. But now I've seen it with my own eyes, it's quite amazing how few female coaches there are across any sport."

Murray said his appointment of Mauresmo was greeted with derision by certain unnamed professionals in the locker rooms of world tennis, but said the former world No.1 has offered him something previous coach Ivan Lendl could not - a willingness to listen.

"I knew it would be a big story," Murray said. "But I thought it would die down quicker. Before I started working with Amelie, I was losing - I started last year much worse than I finished it, so I was very surprised at the amount of criticism she received for each loss I had.

"I was able to be open the very first time we chatted. After the [back] surgery [in 2013] I really needed help and guidance. She listened well to how I was feeling."

Murray suggested the testosterone-fuelled environment of his previous all-male coaching teams often resulted in big arguments - and said it could be argued his outlook of wanting everybody to be treated equally makes him a "feminist".

The Scot enjoyed great success under the no-nonsense Lendl, capping their time together with the 2013 Wimbledon title, which ended British tennis fans' 77-year wait for a home champion. Now, a couple of years older and after recovering from a severe back problem, Murray admits to enjoying a more collaborative approach on the practice court.

"Everyone looks at the success I had with Ivan, but that doesn't mean my relationship with him was perfect," Murray added. "There were elements missing. I needed someone who would really listen to what I was saying and incorporate that. That's something Amelie's better at than any coach I've ever had.

"I don't feel like I'm competing with Amelie. When we're talking, it's more of a collaboration. We discuss things and try to get to the root of a problem. Over the last few months, everything's been handled more calmly."

Murray is currently the only member of world's top 50 with a female coach. Only two men in the top 100 are coached by women - No.56 Mikhail Kukushkin, who is coached by his wife, Anastasia, and No.67 Denis Istomin, who is coached by his mother, Klaudiya.

That statistic will soon change, however, when Mauresmo leaves Murray's team to give birth this summer. Former world No.4 Bjorkman will take her place until at least the end of the U.S. Open in September, with Murray unsure exactly when Mauresmo will return to his camp.