Andy Murray's unsatisfactory season ended on aptly dour note earlier this week as Roger Federer ruthlessly mauled the British no.1 at the ATP World Tour Finals. The nature of the defeat has led to question marks over the future of coach Amelie Mauresmo.
Federer's stunning win saw Murray manage to pick-up just one point as he succumbed to the 6-0 6-1 scoreline. Secured in less than an hour, it was a result which ensured the Briton's already faint hopes of reaching the Finals' semi-finals were curtailed in the harshest of circumstances.
Though a large amount of praise must be heaped on Federer for his simply scintillating show, an inquest from the player, fans and pundits alike have begun; and inevitably Mauresmo's impact is under review.
Murray himself admitted in the aftermath of his loss by the world no.2 that he may need to work on changing some aspects of his game before the action starts again, with the Australian Open, shortly after Christmas.
Who will be in charge of ensuring the two-time Grand Slam champion's return to grace, however? The 27-year-old broke new ground in the upper echelons of men's tennis when he appointed the female coach in the summer, but their partnership has, thus far, failed to strike gold.
John McEnroe, who himself was linked with the Briton's vacant coaching position following a split with Ivan Lendl, hasn't rated the duo's work very highly. The retired American, winner of seven Grand Slams in an illustrious playing career, stopped short of saying Murray should chose a different route, but did recognise the need for change.
"I would not call it a roaring success, that would be the simplest way of putting it.," said the 55-year-old.
"That doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be given more time. When I played Ivan (Lendl) recently he said that for these things it needs a year or two. So if that’s true you’ve got to give her more time — if people believe that.
"If I was his coach I’d have him take a break," he continued. "He has played too much, he is on the verge of burn-out, I’d assume.
‘If he learns anything from Roger, it would be to forget that match. Roger is magnificent at forgetting devastating losses. He shrugs it off and moves on."
Murray appointed Mauresmo, who experienced Grand Slam joy in her own playing career, back in the summer - shortly after the French Open, in which the coach-less Scottish-born star reached the semi-finals despite a run of bad form in the build-up.
Having impressed at Roland Garros, and with the new coaching partnership, Murray was expected to have a strong defence of his Wimbledon crown, but things weren't as simple as that. A shock early exit from Queen's preceded a quarter-final loss at SW19 by Grigor Dimitrov.
When results didn't pick-up at, or in the the US Open, the former world no.2 lost his place in the top 10 of the rankings and faced an uphill task to reach the ATP Finals. However, in a show of grit and stamina, Murray did qualify in the top eight after playing six tournaments in six weeks - winning three.
Despite the titles at lower-ranking events, his inability to beat tennis' best stars this was brutally exposed at the O2 Arena.
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