US Open champion Marin Cilic believes that Andy Murray will be back to peak form soon after a difficult year in which the Scot also named a woman head coach. World number-nine Cilic of Croatia faces his fellow Grand Slam winner in the Philippine capital in the marque men’s singles match-up when the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) debuts on Friday.
“I believe Andy’s going to show next year the good form that he’s been showing for the last few years,” the Croat said of Murray, currently ranked sixth.
The former world number two and Wimbledon winner has been criticised by friend and British great Tim Henman for hiring former female world number-one Amelie Mauresmo in a ground-breaking partnership in place of former coach Ivan Lendl.
“Concerning his coaching team, I believe he knows the best. And I mean with having a woman coach, I don’t see any problem there,” said Cilic, the reigning US Open champion.
“Tennis is tennis and he’s played the same,” the Croat said of Murray, currently ranked sixth in the world. Murray faced most difficulty from his back injury at the end of the last year and later on ended with the surgery said by Croat.
The Croat said the IPTL, which will also have stops in Singapore, New Delhi and Dubai next month, “is going to make our sport very interesting”.
“Everything is going to be quicker and I believe the preparations are going to be much sharper off the court, in the locker room and in the gym before the matches,” said Cilic, part of the UAE Royals team of world number-one Novak Djokovic.
On Saturday, Sharapova plays world number-five Ana Ivanovic of the Federer-led Micromax Indian Aces, while Murray takes on Gael Monfils.
On Sunday, Murray faces Tomas Berdych of the Singapore Slammers, who also include world number one Serena Williams.
Williams plays Sharapova’s and Murray’s teammate Kirsten Flipkens on Sunday.