Football meets tennis in LA

Recently in LA my good friend Jez Green and Andy Murray had the opportunity to go and watch Real Madrid train under Jose Mourinho. Jez was struck by a few things. How pleased and excited the Madrid players were to meet Andy. How respectful everyone was and that Jose, then the Captain shook their hands first then the rest of the team followed.

What Jez learned is how well planned every aspect of the training was ending in exactly 90 minutes. He was told by the staff that Jose was totally strict on time and if a player was a second late for practice he would be excluded no matter who he was. He found Jose friendly with a good sense of humour. As a coach it is important to plan well because paradoxically it is easier to be flexible with a plan than without.

The myth that no plan means maximum flexibility is flawed because sensible options can only be measured against an existing plan with the alternative being chaos. Players love clarity and simple messages. Jez understands this well and I do not think Andy could have anyone better by his side in the run up and during the Open. We speak often and this is a key moment for Andy with life after Miles, and Jez will use his years of experience on tour with me and the players we worked with, to help Andy find the next step.

Miles is also and ex-pupil of mine and he is a man of good character and knowledge so it will not be long before he is helping another player. It is never easy to split but tennis is all about the edge and the next step and players and coaches have to feel always that progress is being made, and if they ever feel this is not the case must address it and if that means a parting then so be it.

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