Andy Murray makes major changes in support team as Dani Vallverdu, Jez Green depart

Hannah Wilks in Tennis News 26 Nov 2014
Andy Murray trains at the World Tour Finals, watched by Amelie Mauresmo and Dani Vallverdu (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Andy Murray has made a major change to his support team, announcing that he will no longer be working with coach and hitting partner Dani Vallverdu and fitness trainer Jez Green.

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Murray issued a statement on Wednesday, saying: ‘We sat down at the end of the season and decided that a change would be best for all of us. 

‘My off season training and Australian Open preparations have already begun and I am very excited for the new year. I thank Jez and Dani for all their hard work over the years and wish them the best for the future.’

Vallverdu and Green have both been integral parts of the Murray team for a long time so Wednesday’s announcement will have come as a shock to many – although not those who have listened to rumours of dissension within the Murray camp following the appointment of Amelie Mauresmo as Murray’s head coach.

Both Vallverdu and Green were reportedly unhappy at the manner in which Mauresmo was appointed after only being informed of the decision at the last minute.

Vallverdu and Mauresmo watch Murray play at the US Open  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Dani Vallverdu met Murray at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona where both trained as teenagers and the Venezuelan became a fast friend of the world no. 6. Vallverdu joined the Murray team as a hitting partner after Murray split with coach Miles Maclagan in 2010 and rapidly became his de facto coach, remaining a key part of the team after Murray started working with Ivan Lendl in 2012. Vallverdu’s role has always been hands-on – hitting with Murray, scouting opponents for him, and serving as a first port of call for tactical discussion.

Vallverdu continued to work with Murray throughout Lendl’s tenure, which saw Murray win a first Grand Slam at the US Open and then score a historic victory at Wimbledon, and remained after Lendl’s abrupt departure in March due to scheduling conflicts. His role in the team meant that Murray had a coach who could travel with him when Lendl was unavailable – something which could be vital going forward, with Mauresmo also unable to travel with Murray full-time.

Vallverdu, Murray, Green and Andy Ireland with the US Open trophy  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Jez Green, a former LTA trainer, masterminded Murray’s fitness evolution from the lanky teenager prone to cramps to one of the fittest players on tour. Green, a former competitive kickboxer, began to work with Murray in 2008 and was the guiding spirit behind his infamously punishing training blocs in Miami. 

The news is already being viewed as a reaffirmation of Murray’s commitment to his partnership with former world no. 1 Mauresmo, who joined the team after the French Open.

With the break-up of such long-standing partnerships, there are bound to be serious questions about how Murray will reassemble his team and move forwards after the world no. 6 struggled to rebound from back surgery and recorded what was a mediocre year by his high standards, in which he made one Grand Slam semifinal and did not win a title for the first nine months of the year. Murray succeeded in qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after a late-season surge, but failed to reach the semifinals after losing to Kei Nishikori and Roger Federer in the round-robin stages – the latter a particularly painful 0-6, 1-6 defeat.

Vallverdu, Murray and Mauresmo during a World Tour Finals practice session  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

But Murray has made radical coaching decisions before. He broke from the LTA and dismissed Brad Gilbert at the end of 2007, choosing to assemble a team of lesser-known names (Vallverdu and Green among them), which was widely criticized as an unwise move at the time. He was also the first of the contemporary big players to hire a former star as his coach when he took on Lendl – and ended up setting a trend that has seen Federer, Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic and Nishikori follow in his footsteps. Both decisions bore fruit which bodes well for the fall-out of this particular decision.

Murray will start his 2015 season at the Hopman Cup in Perth when he teams up with Heather Watson to represent Great Britain in the week-long exhibition event which begins January 4.

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Andy Murray makes major changes in support team as Dani Vallverdu, Jez Green depart

Murray will continue to work with Amelie Mauresmo in 2015 but parts ways from travelling coach Vallverdu and fitness trainer Green

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