While Andy Murray basked in the glow of his first major tennis championship, his coach celebrated the US Open title with a few rounds of golf with his buddies.
There was little talk of tennis, and that was just fine with Ivan Lendl. “I’m just with my friends, and we have a good time,” he said.
It’s a well-deserved break for Lendl, who was on hand on Monday when his pupil Murray beat defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in the Flushing Meadows final.
It was Britain’s first major men’s tennis title since 1936, and Lendl said it went to a worthy champion.
“It’s very nice to see when somebody who wanted to work hard and is willing to put the work in gets rewarded for it,” he said.
Now Lendl is returning to the court himself to sub for injured Jimmy Connors on four stops in a series of matches around the country featuring several former grand slam champions.
Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras also are in the group of competitors scheduled to take part in the four-player mini-tournaments.
“I enjoy playing every now and then,” the 52-year-old Lendl said. “I don’t want to play too much. It’s too hard on my body.”
Lendl won eight grand slam singles titles and 94 tournaments overall during a 17-year career on the ATP Tour. He spent 270 weeks as world No1. He got involved with Murray when Darren Cahill called him in December and said he was helping the Scot with his search for a coach.
“I said, ‘Have Andy call me’. We chatted a little bit and we both decided ... to sit down face to face and talk about it more,” Lendl said.
With Lendl’s help, Murray made it to the Wimbledon final, where he lost to Roger Federer in four sets. But Murray turned it round a month later when he beat Federer in the Olympic final at the All England Club.
Then came the US Open win – which Lendl thinks could make it easier for Murray to add another major title to his resume.
“Once you win, you have no doubt that you can win,” said Lendl, who, like Murray, lost the first four times he reached a major final. “So you have gone through it once and you can do it again.”