Andy Murray trials new coach after splitting with Jamie Delgado – but who is Jan De Witt?

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Andy Murray has parted ways with his long-time coach Jamie Delgado after more than five years. The former world No 1 had appointed Johanna Konta’s former coach Esteban Carril on a trial basis for his final tournament of the season in Stockholm last month but will now be trialling German coach Jan De Witt at next week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

Murray appointed fellow Briton Delgado in 2016 with the partnership immediately proving successful as he won his second Wimbledon crown and secured the world No 1 ranking for the first time in his career later that season.

When the three-time Major champion began struggling with a hip injury in 2017 and ended his season after Wimbledon, Delgado took on a full-time coaching role with the departure of Ivan Lendl from Murray’s team.

Delgado stuck with Murray even during his two hip operations which left him barely able to compete for several years, and the 34-year-old was able to make a successful return following a hip resurfacing surgery in 2019, winning his first tournament back in the doubles at Queens Club alongside Feliciano Lopez, and beating fellow three-time Major champion Stan Wawrinka in October of that year for his first post-op singles title at the European Open.

While a lot of Murray’s 2020 and early 2021 seasons were derailed by injuries, the pandemic, and even a positive Covid test, the current world No 134 has been able to gain momentum in recent months and looks to be in a good place ahead of the 2022 season.

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During his final tournament of the season at the ATP 250 in Stockholm, Murray brought Spanish coach Esteban Carril – who had been linked with Emma Raducanu – with him on a trial basis, perhaps an indication that Delgado was set to leave the team, but the former coach of recently-retired Johanna Konta will now not be working with the 34-year-old in 2022.

It was then announced on Friday (December 10) that Jamie Delgado had officially parted ways with Murray after five-and-a-half years, and would be joining the coaching team of world No 13 Denis Shapovalov, who routined Murray at Wimbledon earlier this year to knock him out in the third round.

The former world No 1 is now undergoing a trial period with German coach Jan De Witt in an attempt to find his replacement for Delgado, and the pair have already started working together this week at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, before De Witt will travel with Murray to the Middle East next week, where the Brit is playing the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition.

But just who is Murray’s potential new coach De Witt? Express Sport takes a look at the German’s previous experience.

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The German previously coached Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon – both Frenchmen who have reached a career-high ranking of world No 6 – as well as Nikoloz Basilashvil, Tatsuma Ito and Viktor Troicki, coaching the Serb back in 2010 when he then went on to be part of the winning Davis Cup team.

De Witt is known for his no-nonsense approach, with former players and colleages sharing his methods.

“Jan is very honest and very clear. He says things that you have to hear. You might not like it at the time, because sometimes it is negative. Sometimes, when I won a match, Jan would tell me that the way I played that day is not going to help me achieve my goals. And then sometimes, when I lost, he would be very pleased with what I was trying to do. I felt he was more interested in my long-term development and not just the moment. That made it very easy for me to trust him,” former world No 13 Jarkko Nieminen told the ATP in 2020.

De Witt was so popular that former world No 20 Dmitry Tursunov sought out his mentorship during the final months of his career before retiring in 2017, and was subject to a brutal first training session with the German when he was immediately sent home for being late to practice.

The German, who has been a coach since 1998, also has experience of coaching against Murray, as one of his former players’ only losses came to the Brit.

“When I started working with Gilles Simon, we had two goals; playing better in Davis Cup and better quality at the Grand Slams. In Davis Cup, he was 1-10. After we started, he only lost one match in Davis Cup. And that was to Andy Murray in a tie at The Queen’s Club,” he previously said.

De Witt had become popular with ATP players thanks to his honesty and no-nonsense approach, saying he knew when to stop players from making a mistake and when to push them to do the right thing.

He is also able to be upfront with his players as he doesn’t “fear being fired”, and once said: “If the player feels you are scared to lose your job, then you have lost already. I have a reputation that has been built up over 20 years. That is if I don’t feel like working with a player then I stop at that moment. I don’t care how much it is going to cost me.”

As well as his honesty, the long-time ATP coach is precise and ensures detail in his approach with everyone on a player’s team.

De Witt, who does not opt to use social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, is known for communicating with his player’s team daily via email, including his protege’s angents, coaches, physios, trainers and even mental coaches in the communications to send the daily, weekly and even yearly plans over to the teams, asking for specific feedback from everyone and updates in return.

As for how he describes his coaching style, he previously said: “My coaching philosophy is very simple. For the player being in the present moment during the match. That is the only way. Action-oriented thinking. The only thing that works. What is my action that wins me the next point? If you are not thinking on the next action, you are always going end up thinking about the past or the future. The only thing that helps is what options do I have to win this present point or what options do I have to keep my opponent from winning this point.”

Away from the court, his official ATP coach’s profile says he loves spending time on the beach, playing volleyball, listening to music, and football – a surefire way to bond with Murray who previously played himself and has been known to make fantasy football jokes.

Like Murray, the German also is married with a big family, so will likely understand the balancing act the 34-year-old faces in juggling his tennis career with having four children.

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