As the elite-level tennis season draws to a close and players take stock, there have been a string of changes in personnel within British tennis.
Jamie Murray has decided to part ways with Neal Skupski and reuinte with former partner Bruno Soares, Kyle Edmund has split with coach Franco Davin and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) academy in Stirling has lost one of its most high-profile coaches.
Murray, the seven-time doubles champion from Scotland, has decided to end his partnership with Liverpool’s Skupski after less than a year-and-a-half together.
The pair won their first ATP title together in the most peculiar circumstances in Sofia.
Their final opponents, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jurgen Melzer, had ensured Murray and Skupski would not qualify for the ATP Finals by reaching the final at the ATP 250 tournament in Bulgaria but quickly withdrew from the tournament’s finale to hand Murray and Skupski a first piece of silverware.
It was not enough to save their partnership, with Murray, 34, deciding to team up with Brazil’s Soares again.
Murray won his two men’s doubles Grand Slams with Soares in 2016 at the Australian and US Opens.
Soares is currently competing with Mate Pavic at the ATP Finals. The pair will guarantee themselves a spot in the semi-finals with a straight sets win over New Zealand pair Michael Venus and John Peers.
Edmund, meanwhile, has split with Davin after a run of just one win in seven matches since the tour resumed.
Davin, from Argentina, has teamed up with fellow South American Cristian Garin.
Edmund joins Johanna Konta and Dan Evans on the list of Brits searching for a new full-time coach.
The LTA has also suffered a coaching loss, with Carill stepping down from his role.
Carill was appointed on a part-time basis as performance advisor at the national tennis academy at the start of 2019 as part of a high-profile support team along with head coach Leo Azevedo, Colin Fleming and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.
Carill, who had previously worked with British No. 1 Konta, was billed as one of the star attractions for scholarship pupils moving to Stirling but parents have been told he is leaving. LTA coach Nick Weal is thought to be his replacement.
It’s a setback for the two academies – the other of which is based in Loughborough – to lose arguably the most high-profile coach across both centres.
The academies are the brainchild of former performance director Simon Timson, who left the organisation to work at Premier League club Manchester City.
There is scepticism outside of LTA HQ over whether the academies will prove a successful source of elite talent, although those in the organisation have called to be judged on the end results of their initial 10-year plan.
Andy Murray, the former world No. 1, pointed out the perils of juniors transitioning to the senior game in his most recent Twitch chat with French tennis player Gael Monfils.
‘It’s one of the things in our sport that you kind of have to get used to losing,’ said Murray.
‘You don’t have to like it but you have to get used to losing and learn how to deal with it. Most weeks, if you play 20 tournaments in a year, if you win 5 that’s considered a brilliant season. So you’re going to lose at least 15 times.
‘One of the things that can be difficult for junior players especially – a lot of juniors who come into the senior game are quite used to winning a lot at the junior level and then they step up to the seniors and all of a sudden they’re losing quite a lot and it can be quite a difficult transition to get used to losing each week.
‘For me, I’ve always tried to… I hate losing, I’m not a good loser, I’m not suggesting I am. But I have tried to use it in the right way, tried to use it to motivate me. I’m very hard on myself and I try to analyse my losses the best I can to learn from them, to get better basically.
‘It’s not always easy going from one week to the next having just lost a tough match. But it’s also one of the great things about our sport is we always get that opportunity straightaway to improve and to get over that defeat.
‘You need to try and win in a few days’ time. That’s one of the nice things about our sport is you don’t have to wait five or seven weeks before our next match.’
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