Murray Bets Future on Lendl’s Past

Published: January 12, 2012

This week, the “Straight Sets” Blog at the “New York Times Online” had perhaps the best article on Andy Murray‘s new coaching relationship with Ivan Lendl.  What follows is some excerpts from the article.  Read the entire article – CLICK HERE

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No man needs a Grand Slam title quite as much as Andy Murray. His new coach, Ivan Lendl, was once in the same awkward position.

The fourth-ranked Murray, 24, has reached three major singles finals, including the last two at the Australian Open, but he has yet to win so much as a set in any of them. Lendl was 24 when he rallied to win the 1984 French Open against John McEnroe after losing his first four major finals. He went on to win eight Grand Slam titles over all.

Superstar tennis players often remain connected to the game in retirement through television commentary, senior tour appearances, or Davis Cup and Fed Cup captaincies. But they rarely become superstar coaches, rarely even attempt it.

There have been exceptions on the men’s tour. Pancho Segura, the savvy Ecuadorean who made his name largely on the barnstorming professional circuit, coached Jimmy Connors. Tony Roche, a French Open champion and marvelous doubles player, has had perhaps the most success in making the transition, coaching the No. 1 players Lendl, Federer, Patrick Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt.

“He has been through a lot of the same things that I have been through, so I am sure he can help me mentally with certain things,” Murray told reporters last week in Brisbane, Australia, where he and Lendl started their partnership with a tournament victory.

Wilander said that as players, Murray and Lendl could not be further apart.

“Ivan liked to bully his opponent in practice, in the locker room and eventually in matches, whereas Murray seems to pay a lot of respect to his opponent’s game, sometimes too much, and feels them out,” Wilander said in an e-mail.

Among the commonalities that Wilander sees: “A very involved mother, and they are both as fit as they can be physically.”

“They’ve been eerily similar so far to this point in their careers, and I think the personalities are quite similar in many respects as well,” (Darren) Cahill said. “When we met Ivan in Miami, we probably spoke for about three hours or so. I was sitting back and listening to Ivan talk about tennis to Andy and the way he was captivating in the conversation, and the way Andy would fire away with questions about the current game, and Ivan was all over it. He was all over Rafa, all over Novak, all over Roger.


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