French Open

Andy Murray reunites with Ivan Lendl hoping to solve Novak Djokovic problem

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 June, 2016, 11:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 1:00pm

Andy Murray believes his decision to reunite with former coach Ivan Lendl will play a key role in the battle to end Novak Djokovic’s reign as world number one.

Murray announced on Sunday he has agreed a deal to resume his relationship with Lendl two years after they parted ways and the world number two immediately set his sights on unseating Djokovic.

The Serb holds all four grand slam crowns after beating Murray in the French Open final earlier this month and has won 24 of their 34 encounters, including 13 of the last 15.

But Murray enjoyed a golden period during his previous two-year spell with Lendl, becoming the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title for 77 years in 2013 after landing the 2012 US Open crown and a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Both Murray’s grand slam triumphs were completed with a final victory over Djokovic, who he also defeated in the Olympic semi-finals, and it is that dominance that the Scot hopes Lendl can help him recapture as he builds up to the start of Wimbledon later this month.

“I’m sure we will talk about Novak because the goal is to try to win the major events and currently to do that you more than likely have to get past Novak,” Murray said at Queen’s Club on Sunday.

“That will be a big part of it. It’s about developing your game so when you come up against the big players you are ready to do it and you don’t just change your game for one match.

“I’m on the right track but I think Ivan will be able to help with some things. I don’t think it’s just mental. Novak is playing great tennis, it’s as simple as that.

“The last few matches I’ve played against him, they are not all negative, there are a lot of positives.

“I’m getting closer. I think there’s a few things Ivan will be able to help me with.”

Murray originally split with Lendl because the United States-based 56-year-old was unwilling to commit to spending extra time with Murray on the gruelling ATP Tour.

But Murray remained in sporadic contact with the Czech legend and, following his decision to split with Amelie Mauresmo in May, the 29-year-old reached out to see if a reunion was possible.

“I only spoke to him on the phone on Thursday. It was the first time I’d spoken to him for a few months, so it happened unbelievably quickly,” Murray said.

“He slept on it and messaged me on Saturday to say he really wanted to do it.

“There’s not a time-frame on it, but I would like it to continue as long as possible.”

Lendl, an eight-time grand slam champion, had rejected a coaching offer from Czech star Tomas Berdych, while Murray had approaches from several other high-profile coaches.

However, Murray’s strong respect for Lendl convinced him to rejoin a coaching team that already includes former British Davis Cup player Jamie Delgado.

“With Ivan, we work very well together for a number of reasons. He’s a leader, a strong voice and a genuine team player,” Murray added.

“We’ve had a lot of similar experiences, so I can speak to him and learn how he dealt with those situations.”

Lendl is due to fly into London in time to link up with Murray ahead of his opening match in the Wimbledon warm-up event at Queen’s Club on Tuesday and the Scot can’t wait to get started.

“When we stopped working before we didn’t fall out,” Murray said.

“When Ivan agrees to do something he goes into it 100 per cent, so even him agreeing gives me a little boost.”