Amelie Mauresmo's groundbreaking role with Andy Murray will pave the way for a host of women coaching men, according to Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Frenchman Mathieu admitted surprise at Mauresmo's appointment, ahead of his second round clash with reigning Wimbledon champion Murray at the Queen's Club Aegon Championships tomorrow.
The 32-year-old saw off Aljaz Bedene in straight sets, 7-6 6-4, at Queen's to set up his showdown with Murray.
Strasbourg-born Mathieu praised Mauresmo's appointment, backing Wimbledon champion Murray for taking the bold step.
"It's going to be an interesting relationship," said Mathieu, expecting a stern test against Murray. "I didn't hear about it in advance, but they must have thought about it, and talked about it together, and I think it can work. She has a lot of experience in the game, and she loves tennis, she always played with passion and I think like Andy as well. Approaching the game and the big event I think she can help him.
"I was surprised, honestly, and I think I'm not the only one. It's the first time this has happened that a woman will train a man. I don't think it's a bad thing, and I think we'll see it more and more."
Meanwhile, James Ward saw off Blaz Rola for the second time in three weeks to set up a second-round tie with number four seed Grigor Dimitrov at the Queen's Club Aegon Championships.
The 27-year-old beat Rola in straight sets 7-5 6-4 in Kensington to tee up a showdown with Bulgarian world number 13 Dimitrov.