Andy Murray happy with Amelie Mauresmo and new training team
|Australian Open 2015|
|Dates: 19 January-1 February Venue: Melbourne Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, selected live text commentaries and daily reports on the BBC Sport website|
Andy Murray has arrived in Melbourne in great shape and in great form, and with the memory of a very important conversation still fresh in his mind.
After a spirited run to qualify for last season's World Tour Finals, the year ended abjectly with a 6-0 6-1 defeat by Roger Federer in London. Murray had lost significant ground to both Federer and Novak Djokovic over the course of the year, but was determined to give his relationship with Amelie Mauresmo a chance to flourish.
It soon became clear, however, that his assistant coach Dani Vallverdu and his fitness trainer Jez Green saw things very differently, and accordingly they agreed to end their association with the British number one in November.
"We chatted at the end of the year," Murray told BBC Sport, as he continued his preparations for the Australian Open, where he begins his campaign against Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri on Monday.
"It was quite clear that we had completely different views on how I should be doing things and who I should be working with. If you have a disagreement in terms of how things should be working and people aren't going to be flexible with that, then you've got to go in a different direction.
"In the last four or five months of last year we weren't working that closely together: the atmosphere within the team wasn't very good and therefore ultimately it impacts on the results and the performances on the court."
Venezuelan Vallverdu and Briton Green made a huge contribution to the golden 12-month spell in which Murray won the Olympics, the US Open and Wimbledon. Vallverdu's coaching talents have since been recognised by Tomas Berdych, allowing Murray to try to foster an environment in which Mauresmo's ideas have room to thrive.
"I'm very happy with the team I've got together," Murray said as he reflected on December's training camp in Miami.
"The way we've worked so far in the couple of months has been fantastic and hopefully we can keep that going. I'm enjoying my tennis, I've enjoyed my training and the off-season, and I'm sure all the people that were there would agree with that."
There will be a replacement for Vallverdu before long. Mauresmo's former coach Loic Courteau told French newspaper L'Equipe last month that his one-time star pupil has sounded him out about a role, although for the moment he remains committed to the French player Julien Benneteau.
Murray's fitness programme is currently exclusively in the hands of Matt Little - a long-time member of the team, and lead strength and conditioning coach at the Lawn Tennis Association. Murray was very disappointed with his physical condition in last September's US Open quarter-final against Djokovic, and so changes were made in Miami last month.
|Murray majors in 2014|
|Grand Slam||Round reached||Beaten by|
|Australian Open||Quarter-final||Roger Federer|
|French Open||Semi-final||Rafael Nadal|
|US Open||Quarter-final||Novak Djokovic|
"I worked a lot on my speed," Murray said. "I've read a lot about how you should divide your time working on strengths and weaknesses and I feel like my speed is a big strength of mine and something I should work on a lot.
"When I move well, I tend to play well. I worked a lot on my speed and I think it's shown at the beginning of the year. Normally, the first few matches of the year you're not going to feel great in your movement but because I worked on it a lot I felt quite quick on the court."
The shoulder pain that caused Murray some discomfort during his five early-season wins at the exhibition in Abu Dhabi and the Hopman Cup in Perth has disappeared, and you sense the Scot is very excited about his prospects in Melbourne and the months ahead.
His draw may appear brutal, but like a Formula 1 team with a new engine, there's genuine hope that this season will not pan out like the last.