It’s just over a year since Lendl partnered up with Murray and it is no coincidence that Murray’s game has developed rapidly in this time. Murray has gone from being Mr Nearly to being a genuine contender at every major tennis tournament.
The statistics speak for themselves, Murray spent 4 consecutive years ranked 4th in the year-end ranking. With Lendl, he has finally gatecrashed the Top 3 party and he doesn’t look like he is ready to leave anytime soon. Winning the gold medal at Wimbledon undoubtedly raised Murray’s confidence and spurred him on further to claim the coveted US Open title. With his first Grand Slam title under his belt, he is playing with a new freedom which will surely see him go onto win even more major titles.
So what is it about the partnership that is working so well? 8 times Grand Slam winner Lendl obviously brings a great amount of experience into the mix. But there’s more to it than that. They say mothers know best and Andy’s mother Judy Murray believes that her son’s mental strength has significantly improved under his new coach; ”The thing that has impressed me most since Andy started working with Ivan is the focus, it’s absolutely massive.”
Lendl recently spoke about how he advised Murray that he should not hang his head after defeats. Reflecting on the Australian Open semi-final last year he told The Guardian “There was no reason for Andy to have his head down after that. Zero. And I told him that. It was the same after Wimbledon this year. There was no reason to hang his head. And because he didn’t, he won the Olympics. If his head was down he wouldn’t have won.”
It sounds like Lendl’s words of wisdom are working wonders for Andy and nobody would bet against Murray adding to the trophy cabinet this year. Still fairly young in the tennis world at 25, Andy has time on his side to become one of the great tennis players of his generation. He certainly has achieved legend status in is native Britain, becoming even more enamoured by his countrymen when he broke down after losing the Wimbledon final. He shed tears on the Centre Court in front of millions of viewers worldwide but it was that defining moment that allowed him to shed his Mr Nearly tag. His anguish was raw and uncontrollable for all to see. The following months proved exactly how he dealt with that pain – with inspiration wins at The Olympics and New York.
Now all Murray has to do is more of the same. His time is now and with Lendl by his side, this is a tennis double act made in heaven.