Edinburgh-based tennis coach Marcel du Coudray insists it is his responsibility to do all he can to help ensure Andy Murray’s early exit from Wimbledon next week.
Du Coudray, who is in charge of the Scottish Tennis Academy, attached to Merchiston Castle school, is employed by Murray’s first-round opponent, Nikolay Davydenko, as a hitting partner with responsibilities that include organising practice sessions.
Within minutes of the draw being announced, du Coudray, who became friends with Russian Davydenko at a tournament in Poland a few years ago, made it clear there could be no split loyalties, while clearly hoping the winner of the tie could go on and claim the title.
“Andy is favourite, but we’ll see what happens,” said du Coudray, who added: “Davydenko is my player [and] I will be supporting my player 100 per cent.
“If Nikolay causes an upset so be it . . . if things don’t work out for him I’ll be back at the Scottish tennis academy by Wednesday morning!”
The encounter is undoubtedly a potential banana skin for Murray, not least because Davydenko’s big-game temperament has contributed to him being one of the few players on the circuit who has a positive win-loss ratio in clashes with Rafael Nadal.
Although unseeded, Davydenko has appeared in four grand slam semi-finals – two French, two American – and his highest world ranking is the same as Murray’s at No.3, making him a genuine test.
Du Coudray feels it is just the match to really set the championships ablaze, saying: “It is a good opportunity for these guys. They love the big stage. That is what they live for, it’s part of their life. It beats playing someone on one of the outside courts where there is not much atmosphere and watched by not very many spectators.”
Murray and Davydenko have played nine times since 2006 with the Scot winning five of them. They have not met since 2009.