Andy Murray finds missing link
Andy Murray has credited coach Ivan Lendl for providing him with some much-needed mental steel as the stroppy Scot returned to winning ways at the Miami Masters.
The world No.4’s fragile mind has long been his Achilles heel and was brutally exposed following last year’s Australian Open final defeat when he dropped his next three matches.
In his last event at Indian Wells Murray made a shock exit to Spanish qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his opening clash, however he immediately bounced back at Key Biscayne by beating Alejandro Falla 6-2, 6-3 in the second round. And the 24-year-old, who plays the big-serving Milos Raonic in the last 32, admitted Lendl’s experience was key to his quick turnaround, saying: “A year or two ago there would be a problem or I’d play a bad match and rather than getting the issue sorted out it would drag and affect my practice. As you get more mature you have to deal with it and Ivan knows the right advice to give.”
In terms of coaching, Lendl, an eight-time Grand Slam winner, is a novice with the Czech legend having had no previous experience prior to linking up with Murray. But his pupil insists it hasn’t taken him long to find his feet.
“One of the most important things a coach can do in an individual sport is listen to the player and pick their brains a little bit, about what they’re thinking on the court and what they feel most comfortable with in pressure situations. That’s something he’s been great with,” Murray added.
“He’s asked for advice from other coaches because he’s never coached before and that was something very refreshing, for such a great player to ask for help.” Meanwhile, former world No.1 Venus Williams took a big step in her comeback from illness after knocking out reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to advance to the third round.
Williams, who hasn’t played since August after being diagnosed with a fatigue-causing autoimmune disease, said: “I’ve got nothing to lose. Everything, every shot, is a victory and a blessing. So it’s like I’m just, you know, going for it.”