Laura Robson to work with Andy Murray’s ex-coach Miles Maclagan

Laura Robson will start work with Andy Murray's former coach Miles Maclagan this week on a trial period through the grass season

laura robson
Laura Robson will begin working with Miles Maclagan this week Photo: Marianne Bevis

With the grass season about to get under way, British No1 Laura Robson has announced that she will begin working with Andy Murray’s former coach, Miles Maclagan.

The arrangement, which begins immediately, is for a trial period through Robson’s short but intense grass season that begins next week at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and is followed by Eastbourne and Wimbledon.

Maclagan’s coaching experience has been mainly on the men’s tour, where he worked with Andy Murray from 2007 to 2010 and subsequently with Marcos Baghdatis and Philipp Kohlschreiber. Maclagan, a former GB Davis Cup player, said of working on the women’s tour for the first time: “It’s a new challenge and that’s why we have a trial period—to see what happens.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There’s a lot I need to learn about the women’s tour and Laura’s not someone I’ve really studied…so there’s a lot about her game that I need to know.

“She clearly has the mind for the big stadiums, for the big time. Just to see those things—a young player with a lot of firepower and the ability to take on the top players—is exciting.”

Robson is currently ranked 37 in the world and, with a big-hitting, left-handed game, she has developed something of a giant-killer reputation.

Last year, she reached the fourth round of the US Open by beating two Grand Slam champions back-to-back: Kim Clijsters and Na Li. She finally went down to defending champion Sam Stosur.

Since breaking into the top 50 this season, she has also beaten former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the Australian Open, 11-9 in the third set, taken down world No4 Agnieszka Radwanska—for the loss of just four games—in Madrid, and beaten Venus Williams in Rome.

However her form and results have see-sawed, especially this year. Prior to Roland Garros, Robson had lost in the first round of tournaments six times, all but one of them to lower ranked players. In Paris, she went out in her opener to Caroline Wozniacki.

Robson has been without a permanent coach since separating from Zeljko Krajan in April. He subsequently commented that she was “not mature enough to do this kind of work enough times for me. She needs to be more serious and to commit herself more.”

The response of the 19-year-old was, in fact, very mature: “I do lack maturity—in press conferences in particular! No, we didn’t really click. He’s free to say whatever.”

She has since been working with Sven Groeneveld, one of the Adidas Player Development team, and Lucie Ahl from the Lawn Tennis Association. But the dilemma in this arrangement became clear in Paris, as Groeneveld also works with Wozniacki so was unable to support either woman.

In Rome, Robson had suggested that she was in no hurry to appoint a permanent replacement, pointing to after Wimbledon: “I have really good help at the moment with Sven and Lucy.

“It’s not long term but for now it’s good enough. I’ve worked on and off with Sven since I was 12 so he knows my game well, I really understand what he’s trying to tell me. I haven’t even thought about a replacement yet—probably not until after Wimbledon.

“I haven’t had on-court coaching in the last couple of matches. And last year I was pretty much coach-less around Wimbledon and it seemed to work out pretty well.”

However, with her early exit from Paris, the move to appoint Maclagan for this UK-based stretch looks a sensible one. Time—probably the five weeks or so that sees the culmination of the grass season at Wimbledon—will tell if it is also the right one.

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