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TENNIS

Murray seeking team of gurus after split with Gilbert

London (dpa) - Headstrong Scot Andy Murray plans to dig into his own pocket to fund a coaching brain trust after splitting with American Brad Gilbert after 18 months together.



The British number 1 made recent rumours come true as he announced he would no longer work with Gilbert, who guided Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick to the top of the sport.

 Murray had what was considered the most lucrative deal in tennis with the LTA paying the 1.5-million-dollar annual salary of his guru.

 Gilbert's future would remain lucrative though, even with the LTA pondering how to sever the now-useless relationship with their "performance director," who has a three-year contract.

 Reports of disagreement and friction between the dour Scot, who missed three months this season with a wrist injury, and the hypertalkative Californian had been making the rounds for several months.

 Murray confirmed that he is hunting for new blood before the start of 2008.

 "Despite being injured for almost four months this year, I am pleased with my 2007 results and am very grateful for the help that the LTA have given me by providing Brad Gilbert as a coach," the 20-year-old said. "But the time has come to move on to the next stage of my career.

 "I am ranked 11 in the world and can now afford to pay my own way and so will now hire a team of experts each to fulfill a specified role in the development of my tennis and fitness."

   The 46-year-old Gilbert coached other British players when he was not travelling with Murray, who ended the season on 11th after standing 36th when the American came on board.

 "Andy's success is vital for British tennis, and he has become an inspirational figure for followers of the sport," LTA boss Roger Draper said. "It is essential that he has a team around him that will allow him to fulfill his potential."

   "We are currently reviewing the situation in relation to Brad and will look to make a decision in the near future," Draper added.

 Gilbert was the second coach given the sack by the Murray, who parted with his original mentor, Briton Mark Petchey, in April 2006.


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