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Maclagan ready to move on after Murray split

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Jonathan Overend | 09:18 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

Talking to Miles Maclagan is a rare privilege.

During his two-and-a-half year spell as coach to Andy Murray he never gave a proper interview, but now he's a free agent he's more than happy to pop into the studio.

The shackles may be off but the tongue isn't loose. He has enormous respect for his former employer, despite recent disagreements, and has been exchanging text messages over the past few days.

When we meet in west London he has just played golf and been to the dentist. He is happy and positive and off to buy a suit for a TV appearance.

Having packed his bags for two months in America with Murray, only needing two days of stuff as it turned out, he is keen to get back out there. If a suitable opportunity arises before the US Open, he'll be on the first flight to New York.

Some players, however, still haven't heard about the break-up. He receives several texts a day from foreign coaches trying to arrange practice sessions.

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Highlights of Andy Murray's Wimbledon quarter-final win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (UK only)


The extent of his influence as a coach was always hard to judge and, because of the peculiar dynamic which exists in tennis, where the player is the boss, Maclagan accepts this.

"I think a lot of people misunderstand the role of what a tennis coach is," Maclagan says. "Andy is a very smart guy and a very good tennis player. He doesn't need to be told all the time "you hit your forehand like this, hit your backhand like this".

"In my opinion the art of good coaching is knowing when not to say anything. You might only say one or two things in a week which might be important to Andy, that's why it's important to know when not to say anything so when you do, it's effective. That's my philosophy."

After two-and-a-half years in the job, did he feel sufficiently valued?

"I think so, yes. We had a good relationship, we still have a good relationship. We're not hugging each other and high-fiving every time something good happens. I was always aware that I'd been given a very good opportunity to work with someone like him. I was grateful for that and appreciative for the chance to be a part of the things Andy was doing"

During our chat, Maclagan never comes close to having a bad word to say about his former employer. Even when asked about the verbals Murray often dishes out, Maclagan says it was nothing personal, "just a general venting of frustration".

"I had to remind myself sometimes that he's a 23-year-old and not everything is perfect," he says. "I'd like people to wonder what they, or their kids, were doing at 23 and the answer may not always be as a comfortable as they'd like to think.

"Here's a guy who is driven, works very, very hard, is not falling out of nightclubs, and not being pictured with a different girl every week. He sets a very good example in a lot of different areas."

Maclagan is in the market for a new job and, hopefully, will have plenty of offers. Having coached Murray to two Grand Slam finals and a peak of two in the world, his stock should be high on the ATP Tour.

British coaches have struggled to land big jobs with international players - Tony Pickard being the most famous, with Stefan Edberg - so will Maclagan land a decent gig or end up coaching housewives in Chiswick?

His qualities as a coach may be different to those of Pickard, for example, but he is a man you want on your side. He has started to put the feelers out, "to see if there is anyone needing a new coach" and his next move will be fascinating.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    He has definitely earned the right to step into a top eight players staff, hes got Andy winning everything except a granslam final and that is impressive in the era of Fed and Nadal. I wish him the best with his next job, maybe hes the man to revitalise Novaks grand slams haul of one.

  • Comment number 2.

    So how do you reconcile this blog with your earlier artcile that says 'Maclagan hints at Murray tensions' and the radio interview 'Maclagan 'happy' with Murray relationship'?
    Was it happy or was it tense then?
    Of course there were disagreements, otherwise it would have not ended. But it was misleading to say that Maclagan hinted at tensions when he didn't. It smells of trying to make a headline that causes a bit of controversy out of an interview that had nothing controversial in it and not based on what was actually said.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good sensible comments here from Miles and a proper insight into the life of a tennis coach. He's right, too many people see football coaches as teh be all and end all of coaching, having to control everything to great detail because its a team game.

    Solo sports (at least the free flowing ones as compared to techincal ones like sprinting) are not like this and while yes a coach can often be the one who helps formulate plans for a player in terms of what best to train on in a particular week, what diet and exercise regime to follow and so on it is rare for them to have a massive influence over a players style. More often than not it's far more indirect than that, being the second pair of eyes for a player, asking the right questions about why a player played a certain way, making him think for himself.

  • Comment number 4.

    He was chatting with Buchanan and Cowan over on Sky the other day. He has an incredible Zimbabwean accent, it really is the nuts. I literally had never heard him speak before and he had somethings to say, albeit not much about why he took his fishing hat with him as Andy told him to go.

    Andy doesn't really need a coach at the minute.

  • Comment number 5.

    I would offer very long odds on McLagan coaching any other top 100 player. Within the game everyone knows he was just another yes man for Murray and probably one of the few who would accept being abused whilst in the stands. Someone like Novak Djokovic would laugh his socks off if you suggested McLagan coach him. Murray didnt get to where he was because of McLagan he just happened to be the guy that was with him as he got there.

  • Comment number 6.

    "Within the game everyone knows he was just another yes man for Murray and probably one of the few who would accept being abused whilst in the stands."

    There seem to be lots of people who use this tired line of argument about, "tennis insiders". The reality is that only Team Murray knows what the relationship between Murray and Miles was like. Also, for a man who is often accused of only liking yes men, Murray seems to sustain long term relationships very well indeed, e.g. his old coach from Spain, hitting partner and old friend Dani. Here's a quote from the Telegraph about Andy and his old friends, "Andy, Dani and Carlos' favourite pastime is arguing with each other." Do yes men argue?

    Miles was abused less than Brad (who accepted the abuse and the money). Watch the other young players like Djokovic - he seems to abuse his coaches too. The attitude of Miles towards this seems way more sensible than many of Murray's critics.

 

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