I'm quoting this in full as it's not available unless you subscribe, but I was interested in how good Petch and Andy seem together. I have long been a huge fan of Petch, and as I've doubtless said on here before, it means diddly squat whether you yourself have the same talent in order to teach something.
There is a huge difference between playing and coaching. Mac, despite some more whimsical press articles by the press, would have been a disaster. Petch is just what Andy needs.
The only thing that would be even better would be that Petch hadn't got young kids and a solid family. Ultimately it may be too high a price to pay to coach his young charge. I hope not. Reading this article is like reading the story of where so many youngsters lost it. They didn't have someone to be their friend and companion on the long, lonely slog that is the tour.
Why I’m the right coach to make Andy a real worldbeater
TAKING care of a national treasure — in many ways, it is the most envied job in British sport.
Developing it, polishing it and nurturing it to glory. Wimbledon glory, if we are being greedy. Grand Slam glory, whatever the surface, would be wonderful.
While Andy Murray stands alone on a tennis court, it is the responsibility of Mark Petchey to fortify the teenager with everything he needs for the battles ahead.
The progress so far is deeply impressive. Could any other coach in the world have lifted Murray’s ranking more than the 350 places it has risen since Petchey began working with the teenager at the Stella Artois Championships in June?
Mark Who? — a 35-year-old former player of limited ability — has become Mark Petchey, the man charting Murray’s path towards the pinnacle.
As Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Duncan Fletcher have proved, playing ability at the highest level is not a necessary prerequisite for a world-class coach.
Petchey said: ‘Let’s be honest. When Andy asked me to be his coach, there weren’t too many people putting their hand up saying that was a good decision.
‘I understand that. My highest ranking was 80 and people will say that now Andy is 60-something, what can Mark bring to the table for Andy from here?
‘That will always be there. But I’d like to think that I’ve proved in the last few months that I’m certainly not going to hinder his progress.
‘I’ve told him: “The way you play this game is pretty special at times and there’s an element of genius in it. There are also parts of it on which you have to do the hard slog. But believe in yourself, believe in what you’re doing and make good decisions about the people around you”.
‘Andy’s a tough character and he’ll make the decisions. If it wasn’t me who was right for him, I wouldn’t be around and I wouldn’t want to be around.
‘If there comes a point in a year or two years when I’m not the right person to do the job, we’ll both sit down and amicably say: “Look, let’s move on.”
‘Hopefully Andy realises that I’m not somebody who thinks he knows it all. I will go to people I respect in the business, talk to them about Andy’s game and say: “What do you think? Which do you think are the areas in which he can be a bit weak?”’
That honesty would have seen Petchey leave his post as head of men’s national training at the Lawn Tennis Association when his contract expired in September, had he not been offered the chance to guide Murray’s Magical Mystery Tour.
Petchey was prepared to leave the comfort of a job with the LTA because of differences in opinion with national performance director David Felgate.
He added: ‘I don’t think anybody will find it a shock that I was going to leave the LTA. I don’t think David would deny it. We were definitely not in a position of seeing eye-to-eye on where we were going.
‘David is the boss at the end of the day and he’s got to make the calls. He can’t sit in his position with someone else not agreeing with the direction in which they were going.’
Petchey feels the same freedom now as Murray felt after severing ties with his previous coach, 70-year-old Colombian Pato Alvarez, with whom he had nothing in common.
To witness Petchey and Murray together is to see two happy-go-lucky adventurers discovering new landmarks by the week on a road filled with laughter, wind-ups and innocent mischief.
Petchey’s only regret is the time he has to spend away from
wife Michelle and their two daughters, Nicole and Myah.
‘My wife has been unbelievably supportive and Andy was great with having the girls around when we were in the States for six weeks.
‘But when they’re at school, there’s no opportunity for them to come with me. It is difficult, but I signed up to do the job and I will do it.
‘We’ll have to make it work as long as Michelle and I are happy. But I don’t know any fathers who willingly want to go abroad possibly five weeks in a row and not see their kids. It’s never going to be easy. Even if Andy was winning Grand Slams, I’m still going to find it a tug to be away.
‘Professionally, though, working with Andy has been a release for me. A player who saw me when I was with Andy in Canada, said: “Geez, Mark looks completely different than when I saw him at Wimbledon when he seemed completely stressed and unhappy.”
‘It’s been good companionship for me and I hope for him. It’s a pretty lonely place out there. You’ve got to find your own way, find friends on the tour and find your own journeys together.
‘The coach-player relationship is almost more intense than a marriage because you’re literally living with each other on the tour. So you’d better have a good rapport with the player you’re working with, or it’s going to be a struggle.’
Big kids off court. Dynamite on it. The national treasure is in good hands.