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Murray splits from coach Mauresmo

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Andy Murray split with coach Amelie Mauresmo on Monday, ending a groundbreaking two-year relationship during which the British star improved as a clay-court player but failed to add to his collection of Grand Slam titles.

A statement released by Murray’s management company didn’t disclose the reason behind the decision, although Mauresmo said “dedicating enough time along with the travel has been a challenge for me.”

The Frenchwoman gave birth to her first child in August and took six months off from coaching.

“Working with Andy over the last two years has been a fantastic experience for me,” said Mauresmo, a former top-ranked player who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of the great team of people he has around him.”

Murray became the first high-profile tennis player to hire a woman as a coach when he brought Mauresmo on board in June 2014.

By that time, he was already a two-time Grand Slam champion – at the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 – and had also won a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

Under Mauresmo, Murray reached the final at the Australian Open in 2015 and `16, losing both times to top-ranked Novak Djokovic. He won his first clay-court titles last year in Munich and Madrid.

“I’ve learned a lot from Amelie over the last two years, both on and off the court,” Murray said in the statement. “She’s been a calming influence in the team and we will all miss having her around.”

Murray is heading into a busy period of the season, with the French Open, Wimbledon, Rio de Janiero Olympics and U.S. Open all in the next four months.

“I’ll take some time to consider the next steps and how we progress from here,” Murray said, “but I’d like to thank her for everything she has done, she’s been an invaluable member of the team.”

Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping tournaments like Federer

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MONACO (AP) For now, Rafael Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping any major tournaments the way Roger Federer has been sitting out the French Open.

The veterans are back at the top of world tennis, with Nadal needing to win the Monte Carlo Masters this week to avoid losing his top ranking once again to Federer in their seemingly eternal battle for tennis supremacy.

For the second consecutive season, the 36-year-old Federer is skipping the entire clay-court season in order to be at his best on grass.

After coming back from injury to win the Australian Open last year, Federer skipped the clay-court season, won Wimbledon, and retained his Melbourne crown to extend his record tally to 20 majors.

The Swiss star is keeping his aging body fresher by playing a bit less – avoiding Nadal on clay at Roland Garros or elsewhere – and it is working for him.

But Nadal still thinks he can play a full schedule.

“There (are) tournaments that I can’t imagine missing on purpose, because (they are) tournaments that I love to play,” Nadal said on Wednesday. “I don’t see myself missing Monte Carlo on purpose. I don’t see myself missing Wimbledon on purpose, or the U.S. Open, or Australian, or Rome. These kind of events, I don’t see missing (them).”

The 31-year-old Spaniard recently returned from a right hip injury which forced him to retire during the fifth set of his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic.

With his 32nd birthday coming up on June 3 – during the French Open – the 16-time Grand Slam champion accepts he may think differently when he gets closer to Federer’s age.

“Of course, when you get older, you need to adjust a little bit more the efforts and the calendar. But for me (it) is difficult to say I don’t play, for example, grass, or I don’t play hard (courts),” Nadal said. “(It) is not in my plan, but I can’t say `never’ because I cannot predict what’s going to be in the future.”

Nadal is chasing an 11th title at both Monte Carlo and Roland Garros, which begins on May 27.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Jerome Pugmire on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jeromepugmire

Thiem reaches third round at Monte Carlo

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MONACO — Dominic Thiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

Rublev was serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide. Fifth-seeded Thiem broke him with backhand pass down the line and held for 6-5.

The Austrian was 15-40 up on Rublev’s serve and clinched victory on his first match point, when Rublev double-faulted with a weak serve into the net.

“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” a relieved Thiem said. “But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes).”

Thiem has reached the French Open semifinals for the past two years. He next meets 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric of Croatia, who play their second-round match on Wednesday.

“I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday,” Thiem said.

In the second round later Tuesday, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faced Pierre-Hugues Herbert and seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille played Mischa Zverev.

In remaining first-round play, there were wins for Gilles Simon of France, Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.