Olympic24: Murray and Bjorkman team up; Pavey hits the road

12 March 2015 / 07:22

Andy Murray brings Jonas Bjorkman into coaching fold and Jo Pavey returns to the road in search of Manchester treble. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Bjorkman comes in to assist Mauresmo
  • Pavey set for road race in May
  • Watson safely through in Indian Wells
  • Geraint Thomas well-placed for leadership charge

Murray teams up with Bjorkman

Andy Murray will work with former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jonas Bjorkman for the next month with the Swede expected to become a full time member of the Olympic champion’s coaching staff.

The 42-year-old had been suggested as a replacement for Ivan Lendl but will now assists Amelie Mauresmo.

Bjorkman is also a semi-finalist at the US Open and reached the quarter finals of the Australian Open in 1998 as well as winning nine grand slam doubles titles – including three at SW19 from 2002-2004.

And Murray believes the move is a positive one that addresses a problem in his preparations.

"After the Aussie Open, I spent the next three or four weeks with no coach and I feel that's something I need to get sorted,” he said after Britain’s recent Davis Cup exploits.

"I feel like there are some things I need to continue to work on all the time. When I don't have someone there with me it's a little bit harder to do that.

"For me, it's better to have someone around, so I'll try to make sure I do that for the clay-court season. That's high on my list of priorities."

Pavey excited by road return

Jo Pavey admits she is relishing the prospect of getting back on the tarmac as she gears up for her first major road race in three years in Manchester this May.

The 41-year-old won the Great Manchester Run in 2007 and 2008 and will look to seal an historic hat-trick of titles when she races in the North West later this year.

Pavey was in tremendous form last year as she claimed 10,000m European gold as well as 5,000m bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

And she says she is delighted to return to the road after contemplating retirement.

“I am really excited about racing the Great Manchester Run, not least because I thought 2015 was going to be the year that I retired,” Pavey told Athletics Weekly.

“To be thinking about competing in events like the Great Manchester Run is such a massive bonus for me, when I thought I’d be hanging up my racing shoes. It’s a great race and a great opportunity for me.

“I’m really excited about getting out and racing on the roads again. It was something I couldn’t do last year because of the two major championships and having to qualify for them.

“Getting back on the roads is a real motivating factor for me and racing in Manchester is really exciting. It’s a great course – fast and flat –and it’s always a very competitive race.”

Watson books safe passage

After coming through a tricky encounter with Julia Gorges in Indian Wellls, Heather Watson admits nerves almost got the better of her. 

The British number one battled through in three sets in the end, winning 6-4 5-7 6-3 but it could have been a much smoother ride after Watson served for the match in the second set. 

The 22-year-old came out on top in a back and forth opening set that saw seven breaks of serve before Watson pulled ahead. 

Watson found herself 5-3 up in the second but gave the German too many opportunities and lost the next four games to force a decider. 

And despite losing her serve early, Watson battled through to eventually win in two hours and 25 minutes.  

"I was definitely a bit nervous, I think it showed closing out the second set there, but I kept fighting and was able to play the right way to finish the third set," she said.

"I just kept fighting. We both didn't play our best tennis but it was a good match"

Thomas sitting strong in Paris-Nice

Geraint Thomas will head into Thursday’s summit finish well placed for success after finishing ninth in the main peloton in Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule.

The 28-year-old sits 14 seconds behind new race leader Michael Matthews in the Paris-Nice race after moving from tenth to ninth in the standings.

Meanwhile Sir Bradley Wiggins has slipped down to 118th overall after he crossed the line 48 seconds behind the stage winner.

However, for the 34-year-old the main target on the road will be April’s Paris Roubaix before he switches his attentions to the track.

© Sportsbeat 2015