Andy Murray rekindles coaching partnership with Ivan Lendl ‘hopefully for a long time’
Andy Murray reunites with former coach Ivan Lendl before the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club
Andy Murray, who begins his campaign for a record fifth Aegon Championship title at Queen’s Club tomorrow, has today announced that Ivan Lendl will rejoin his coaching team with immediate effect.
It is the second time the two men have worked together. Murray set what quickly became a growing trend among the top players to appoint big-name former champions—dubbed ‘super-coaches’—when he appointed Lendl, one of most successful players of the Open era, a former No1, and winner of eight Grand Slams singles titles from 19 finals.
The announcement on Murray’s website today noted that “their successful partnership saw Andy win Olympic Gold in the singles at London 2012, the US Open (2012) and the memorable Wimbledon victory in 2013.”
Murray commented: “I had two very successful years working with Ivan, he’s single minded and knows what it takes to win the big events. I’m looking forward to Ivan joining the team again and helping me try and reach my goals.”
Lendl added: “I enjoyed working with Andy in the past. [We] have always stayed in contact so it should be fun to be part of his team again.”
The two men parted ways in March 2014, apparently because Lendl, who is now a US citizen with a home in Florida, wanted to spend more time in the US pursuing his own interests, and was thus unable to commit to a full-time role on the road with Murray. The Briton was, at the time, clearly sorry to see him go: “He is a very hard person to replace and he made a huge difference to my tennis.”
Three months later, Murray announced the appointment of former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo, initially for the grass season but afterwards made permanent until the two separated in the middle of this year’s clay season.
The reason, again, was put down to the amount of time Murray wanted and the amount she was willing to give. Mauresmo took maternity leave during the second half of last year after giving birth to her first child in August, and Murray brought in Jonas Bjorkman to take the reins. However, he reunited with Mauresmo at the start of this year, adding Jamie Delgado in place of Bjorkman as assistant coach.
The announcement of his split with Mauresmo fuelled rumours that had already circulated about a breakdown in communications, but Murray was quick to defend their partnership when facing press at the Rome Masters—which he went on to win.
“She did come in at a difficult time, when I had just come back from back surgery [in late 2013]… I had just dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in eight years—and I’m now back up to No2, which is my highest ranking.”
Mauresmo also oversaw final runs in Australia last year and this, plus semi-final runs at the French Open and Wimbledon along with his first clay titles in Munich and Madrid last year.
During Murray’s best ever clay season this summer, including his first final at Roland Garros, there were further rumours that Lendl may again be in the frame to return to Murray’s coaching team, so today’s announcement, though swift, is not entirely out of the blue.
And while Lendl will continue to work with the USTA Player Development programme, Murray told the Aegon Championship media team that he hopes the partnership will be a long one.
“Well hopefully it will be for a long time, from my side. He’ll be here for the tournament and it’s good for him to spend a bit of time with the rest of the team as well.”
Jamie Delgado will remain part of that team.
Murray went on: “I think the most successful period of my career was while I was working with Ivan. I know what he can offer. The experiences he had I think psychologically helped me in the Major competitions and they’re obviously the events I’m trying to win and am competing for. I hope he can bring that same experience and those same benefits that he did last time.”
The news of Murray reuniting with Lendl is just the latest ‘super-coach’ news to hit the men’s tour since the French Open.
Milos Raonic, world No9 and a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year, has taken on three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe as consultant coach, while No5 Stan Wawrinka has appointed another former Wimbledon champion, Richard Krajicek, for at least a month through the grass swing to supplement his long-standing coach, Magnus Norman.
Meanwhile, Murray hit the grass for the first time yesterday at the Queen’s Club after his recovery from a successful clay swing.
“Well I took five days off. I didn’t do anything from Monday to Friday. I came in and practised here on Saturday… kind of want to get out there and get used to the conditions but also you have to realise how long the clay court season was for me. I’d never done that well on clay before so I needed to let my body rest and recover a little bit before I started practising on the grass again.
“I’ve played a lot of tight matches, quite a lot of long matches, so physically I’m not so concerned. It’s just a matter of trying to maintain your timing with the change of surface, but the first couple of practices have been good and that’s positive.”