Shahar Pe’er’s Wimbledon preparations suffered an early blow on Wednesday after she was knocked out in the second round of the Birmingham Classic.
The 27-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 86 in the world, suffered a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 defeat to Shuai Zhang (36) of China in the grass court tournament after one hour and 55 minutes.
Pe’er recorded her first win since April against Kristina Mladenovic in the first round in Birmingham, but squandered three of her four break point opportunities in the decisive set against Zhang while her opponent converted all three of her chances.
Elsewhere, Andy Murray’s first match under Amelie Mauresmo’s watchful gaze ended in a straightforward 6-4, 6-4 victory over Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round in Queens, London on Wednesday.
“I have started to listen to my body a lot more because, over the years, you start to pick up some things,” defending Wimbledon champion Murray, who had back surgery last year, told the BBC when the questions inevitably turned to his new coach.
“I think it’s important that the people you work with respect and understand and listen, you know, to how you’re feeling, as well, because you can’t just be pushed extremely hard every single day.
“I need to pick my moments during the year where I really go for it in training. That was one of the reasons... For me, it didn’t feel a strange thing to do.”
So few tennis players, male or female, hire female coaches that Murray’s decision was bound to have some scratching their heads.
But, he said, he does not care what others think, even though his decision to go with Mauresmo could cause some logistical issues as she will not be allowed in the men’s locker room at Wimbledon.
“A few people have come up to me and sort of asked if it was serious,” he said. “But I don’t really care whether they think it’s a good or bad appointment. It’s whether it works well for me and my team, and hopefully it will be a good move for my career.”Reuters contributed to this report.
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