British tennis star Andy Murray and coach Ivan Lendl have decided to part ways after two years. The two-time Grand Slam champion won the 2012 U.S. Open, the 2013 Wimbledon title and an Olympic Gold Medal under Lendl’s tutelage.
Thanking Lendl for all his effortsin a statement that he’s learned a lot as from Lendl and it will be of benefit in the future.
Lendl said he now plans to play more dates on the senior tour as well as concentrate on his Tennis Academy in South Carolina. Born in Czechoslovakia, Lendl won eight Grand Slam tournaments, including the French Open three times, the U.S. Open three times, and the Australian Open twice. Although he made the Wimbledon final twice, the former number one never won the title.
Lendl, who held the world’s number 1 ranking for 270 consecutive weeks during his 16 year career, became Murray’s coach in December of 2011 after former players Brad Gilbert, Alex Corretja, Mark Petchey, and Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leo Sith all tried their hand at coaching Murray. The split came as something of a surprise, considering Murray has achieved more with Lendl in their two years together than he had in his previous eight years as a pro. Prior to hiring the 53-year-old Lendl, Andy Murray had reached three Grand Slam finals—the U.S. Open in 2008 and the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011—and lost all of them, three to Roger Federer and two to Novak Djokovic.
Despite Andy Murray and coach Ivan Lendl deciding to part ways, the marriage of current star and former star as player and coach has become increasingly popular in the tennis world. ATP number two Novak Djokovic is currently coached by six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker and current number five and former number one Roger Federer is coached by six-time Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg. And before retiring last year, former number one and U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick worked with eight-time Grand Slam champion Jimmy Connors.
Murray and Lendl’s partnership opened to mixed results. He advanced to the Wimbledon final for the first time ever, but lost a heartbreaker to Roger Federer in four sets. Success would catch Murray soon after, however, as he would return to the same venue, centre court at Wimbledon, one month later to win the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Murray’s career-defining run would reach a fever-pitch later that summer with his first Grand Slam victory, a five set thriller over Novak Djokovic in the 2012 U.S. Open final. The most successful year of Andy Murray’s career culminated with a straight set victory over Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, making him the first British man to win the title in 77 years.
Murray’s 2014 season is a return, of sorts. The Scotsman went under the knife in 2013 to correct minor back issues, which had reportedly plagued him intermittently for quite some. According to his website, Andy Murray and coach Ivan Lendl deciding to part ways is behind him now behind him and he’s next scheduled to play the Sony Open in Miami before taking the road to represent Great Britain in the Davis Cup quarterfinals against Italy.
Commentary by Rick Sarlat
Follow me on Twitter @RickSarlat