Amelie Mauresmo believes Andy Murray still has a few steps to climb before getting his hands on a third grand slam trophy, but the French coach is confident they are moving in the right direction.
The Scot, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final in four sets on Sunday, has come a long way from his tragic end to the 2014 season, where he lost 6-0, 6-1 to Roger Federer at the ATP Finals, and Mauresmo is happy with the progress they’ve made so far as a team.
“This part is definitely very satisfying, being back in a grand slam final again. I think the improvement he’s made since the end of last year and then the first month, the first grand slam of the season is really positive,” Mauresmo told reporters in Melbourne.
“A lot of positive things out these two weeks. Of course a little bit of disappointment after a loss in the final, which is normal but I think when he will look back at where he’s come from and where he’s at now… and of course there are still a few steps to climb before maybe holding a grand slam trophy again. That’s what is important. Still some work ahead but the gap is closing.”
Murray, who hired ex-WTA No1 Mauresmo as his coach last June, is looking forward to spending a few days away from the tennis, but the world No4 is keen on making further improvements to his game in the next couple of months. He says consistency is key for him this season.
“It's pleasing to be back playing close to my best. And, yeah, it does show that, I still feel like I can make improvements in my game. I still think I can get a few per cent better over the next couple of months,” said the two-time major champion.
“My job now is to try to maintain this sort of level and form for the next few months and not sort of have dips in form. I want to try to be more consistent this year and play better in more events. That's what I want to do the next couple months.
“They’ve been a great couple of weeks compared with where I was a couple of months ago. It's like night and day really. Playing way, way better in almost every part of my game. Moving better. Physically I feel better, more confident, more belief. I was a lot calmer, like, before my matches.
“Mentally I felt much, much stronger than I did at the end of last year and during the majors really last year.”
Another immediate goal for Murray is to add another coach to his team to help out in the absence of Mauresmo, who is only signed up to join him at tournaments for a limited number of weeks.
She will not be with him at his scheduled tournaments in February, in Rotterdam and Dubai, and he is hoping he can find someone soon to help him out in this period.
“I'll definitely have a think about it, because I don't want to go the whole month now not seeing anyone,” said Murray.
“I'll try to get some help this month. But, again, it's about getting the right person rather than rushing and making a bad decision.
“I'll try and find the right person to do it with my team and chat to them a bit about it, then speak to some people. But that won't happen in the next few days because I want to go and do other stuff and think about other things just now.”
So what’s next on the agenda for the British No1?
“I've spent like two and a half days at home in the last two and a half months, so I'm looking forward to getting back and spending a bit of time at home with my friends and family and my dogs and being away from the tennis court and the gym for a few days when I get back,” he said.