Time is running out for Andy Murray.
His self-imposed deadline for appointing a new coach is the start of the French Open and that is only a couple of weeks away. He desperately wants to find a leader for his team but his disappointing defeat by Santiago Giraldo at the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday has done little for his mood and less for his confidence.
The fact that Ivan Lendl walked away from their hugely successful partnership without so much as a backward glance still rankles with Murray and the fact that he is no closer to finding a successor to Old Stone Face is a concern.
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"Normally you are the one that makes that kind of decision; the decision was kind of made for me," he said of Lendl's departure. "The whole point of having a full-time coach is to bring that structure, goals, a long-term plan and to kind of stick to it. I still have those goals in my head, the things I want to try and achieve, but you do also need help. All players need help and that's why you'll find pretty much every single top player will have a coach for those reasons.
"Ideally I'd have someone there but I also don't necessarily want to start working with someone like three days before a slam because that's not ideal. You want to spend a bit of time with the person beforehand and the French Open is still a big, big goal for me and I don't expect to have results or play like I did against Giraldo when I arrive in Paris."
After a lifetime of hitting balls and winning tournaments, logic dictates that Murray ought to know how to practise and play without someone telling him what to do. But at the top level of the sport, matches are won and lost on the smallest of margins and another pair of eyes overseeing his work or another voice in his ear offering advice could provide the spark that will inspire him to find his best form again.
"I think I can find a good replacement, someone who can motivate me and get me kind of learning and improving again because that's the most important thing," added Murray. "You don't want to stay still or start to go backwards at all; you always need to keep improving because the field gets better all the time. So that's what I need. I need to have someone that's going to teach me new things and help me learn."