So we’ve heard the news that Andy Murray is breaking up with Brad Gilbert. Who the hell knows what happened, but I say BAD IDEA, ANDY! I’m sure Gilbert can be annoying (although I was a fan of his brief ESPN commentating stint – the guy knows his stuff and is fair and funny), but Andy should just grin and bear the inane patter and bad jokes. He’s finally doing well for goodness’ sakes! Murray had an outside chance of making it into the Masters Cup this year after being out for months with a wrist injury and missing two Slams – and he has definitely matured as a player and person under Brad’s tenure. B.G. doesn’t suffer fools, and Murray used to act and play like one quite often.
And did he forget what happened to the other Andy after he dumped Brad? Roddick’s entire season was wasted and he needed a miracle (i.e. Jimmy Connors) to pull him out of his post-Brad slump. Unless Andy M. has a similar Santa Claus waiting to take the reigns, he better prepare himself to slide back down the rankings. But could Tim Henman already be bored at playing house husband? If Andy M. dumped Brad for Tim, I understand. Otherwise, he’s crazy.
Which brings us to Roger and his weird victory over Davydenko today. (Painful to watch the errors pile up, but pulling it out in straight sets gives him a slight edge over Gonzo to make it into the semis.) As I was watching Fed struggle against his own game, I couldn’t stop pondering his coachless state. Is he mistaken to keep playing without one?
Part of me relishes Fed’s no-coach status – it is a subtle, steely, statement of his superiority over the rest of the field. The richest man in the room doesn’t need to carry a bulging wallet in his pocket. Yet Roger does occasionally claim to be hoping to find the time to start thinking about hiring a coach. This doesn’t sound like the most proactive attitude to me, but it does allow for some speculation. Would he really be so cheeky (the Fed phobes might say arrogant) to go into the Aussie Open without some weathered old tennis nerd sitting in the player’s box, chewing gum with Mirka? Definitely. I wager that Fed will wait until the start of the clay court season to finally hire someone to open his Dunlop cans for him. The Aussie isn’t important enough to Roger to merit a change in strategy.
So who will this special someone eventually be? I don’t know enough about the inside world of tennis coaches to make anything more than stabs in the dark. Darren Cahill or Paul Annacone are the obvious choices – both have the right pedigrees and temperaments (Darren being an Aussie and Annacone coaching both Sampras and Henman) to mesh well with Rog. Pairing with Brad Gilbert is almost unthinkable, but kinda fun to imagine. He’d drive Mirka to the bottle, for sure!
You know who I really want to hook up with Brad? Marat Safin. I think B.G. has the ego and the “win-ugly” mentality to whip the Russian into shape. If only.