Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl Relight the Fire With Wimbledon In Sight

Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl have once again joined forces.
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Four and half years after they last split up, Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl are back together for the third time. Their reunion has stunned the tennis world, but for Murray it is an understandable decision. The best moments of his career came with Lendl at his side, as he won three Grand Slams, two Olympic gold medals and climbed to the top of world rankings.

Their success even helped to start the phenomenon of the ‘super coach’, as more top players hired the services of former Grand Slam winners. The likes of Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic have all gone into coaching in the years since. However, their last split in November 2017 effectively closed the chapter on the most successful part of Murray’s career. Under Lendl’s guidance in 2016, the Briton had won a second Wimbledon title, another gold in Rio and ended the year as the world #1. His star had never been brighter – but it was also the precursor to the toughest years of his life.

By the end of 2017, Murray was trapped in a living nightmare – the hip injury that would change the trajectory of his tennis life forever. He had already spent months away from the court to undergo rehabilitation. In a largely injury-free career, this was a new and devastating challenge. Eventually, the pair decided Ivan Lendl would not be part of the solution. The exact reasons for the separation were not made public. As the months passed though, the seriousness of Murray’s injury became clear. His hip injury was so severe that his career was effectively reset. As he has movingly described many times, he wondered if he could ever come back at all.

This type of recovery was not what Lendl signed up for. From the start of their partnership in 2012, he was there to help Murray win Grand Slams. Murray’s talent was not in doubt, he just needed the right advice to translate it into success at the Majors. And he and Lendl could not do that from the treatment table. Murray’s new goal was to rebuild his career from the ground up. It was a goal with no apparent end date. We have seen since just how hard it was – with years of rehabilitation, a hip replacement, and even an emotional near-retirement at the 2019 Australian Open.

Fast forward to 2022, and Murray has slowly clawed his way back from the brink to be a competitive ATP player again. He is longer the young pretender of 2012, or the world #1 of 2016. He is far from his best days, but he is also far from his lowest moments. Realistically, Murray is not going to challenge for every Grand Slam he plays. But he’s certainly not content with anything below perfection – or the perfection that he is physically capable of.

This year, he has a plan to win consistently. That is where Lendl comes in. After Indian Wells and the Miami Open, the pair will stay the US to focus on the grass court season. Wimbledon will of course be the focal point. Just as Roger Federer did during his 2017 resurgence, Murray plans to miss the entire clay campaign, his weakest surface. He will play less, but hopefully he will also play better.

His competitive edge remains as sharp and focused as ever. As he says himself:

‘This is a really important year for me for a number of reasons, and I want to perform well in the big events.

Making the second round of Slams is not something I find particularly motivating. I want to be doing better than that.’

Ultimately, time is not on his side. As the 34-year-old moves into the final years of his career, it is surely worth throwing the dice again. We have seen in bursts that he still has that Andy Murray magic. With Ivan Lendl at his side, perhaps he has another title run left too.

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