The Gilbert and Murray Deal

A British friend of mine sent me this story from today’s London Telegraph: The richest coaching bradgilbertcontract in the history of British tennis was confirmed yesterday, with Brad Gilbert becoming an employee of the Lawn Tennis Association, and the domestic game’s ruling body then leasing the American out to Andy Murray as the teenager’s new personal coach.

Although the LTA did not publicly announce the length of the contract – on the insistence of their lawyers wanting to keep the details confidential – sources close to the negotiations claimed that Gilbert had signed a three-year deal, that his flat salary would be about £500,000 a year, and that he would also receive additional performance-related bonuses.

It is understood that Murray will pay a proportion of Gilbert’s salary, which will also be one of the most lucrative deals across the tennis world at the moment. Certainly, no LTA employee has ever come close to receiving such a large salary.

John Lloyd, a former British No 1 and possibly his country’s new Davis Cup captain, and John McEnroe have publicly questioned why the LTA should be paying for Murray’s new coach. There have also been some misgivings from within the LTA about the deal.

However, Roger Draper, the chief executive of the LTA, rightly believes that once Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski have retired, Murray will be Britain’s only player of international standing, and that the LTA should, therefore, do almost everything in their power to support him.

Murray, ranked 36 in the world, has been without a coach since ditching Mark Petchey in April, citing “a difference of opinion” over aspects of his game.

The famously extroverted Gilbert, 44, formerly the coach of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, will work with Murray for about seven months of the year, depending on the 19-year-old’s tournament schedule. Gilbert and Murray will start working together for the first time ahead of next week’s ATP tournament in Washington, DC.

The American, a former world No 4, will also be expected to spend between two and four months of the year on his wider role within the LTA, mostly at the new £40 million National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, London, where he will work with juniors and help to raise the general standard of coaching.

“The confidence and belief levels in British tennis at the moment are very low and we have got to raise them by surrounding ourselves with proven winners,” Draper said.

George says: I think they will get their money’s worth. Do you?

4 thoughts on “The Gilbert and Murray Deal

  1. For $900,000++++ over 3 years Brad Gilbert will make it work. With the talent he has to work with…..he will do great. The Brits got a BARGAIN!!!!!!

  2. I like this combination. Murray has the game to play with the top 10. He can play big on offense like other tall players, but he also has a fluid movement that allows him to defend. Rare for a tall guy.

    But he needs help with strategy and mental toughness. Gilbert can help there.

  3. Well, last weekend’s tournament shows that a good coach CAN have some immediate impact on a player…. Murray got to the finals (which makes Gilbert three-for-three in getting his new students to at least the semis in their first tournaments together). I don’t believe Gilbert had any real impact on technique; but he is such a good ‘X’s and O’s” guy, that he must have helped on match strategy + giving the youngster to mental boost to have Gilbert sitting in the stands and watching as ‘his coach.’ I predict: Top 10.

  4. George, I’m also predicting top 10 for Murray, but he seems to have trouble with the short, fast guys like Clement and Baghdatis.

    Murray is a self-described “counter-puncher” and he seems to match up well against big offensive players like Roddick, but against the quick and defensive players that get to everything, he seems to get frustrated and give up a bit, and the match ends quickly for him.

    Interesting to see if Gilbert can fix that. Murray has the physical skills to play with the top 10 guys.

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