• ATP Tour

Lendl tells Murray to focus on slams, not ranking

ESPN staff
October 18, 2012
Ivan Lendl has played down his role in Andy Murray's US Open win © Getty Images

Andy Murray may have set his sights on becoming world No. 1, but his coach Ivan Lendl insists grand slams should remain his top priority.

Lendl, himself a former world No. 1 and eight-time major champion, has been hugely influential in helping Murray land his first grand slam title at this year's US Open after less than a year working with the Scot.

Murray has now targeted reaching the top of the rankings, but Lendl believes major wins count for more than weeks spent at world No. 1.

"I don't see why Andy should not have another big year in 2013," Lendl told the London Evening Standard. "I've never been a fan of how many weeks someone is at No. 1. I'm more interested in winning majors because then No. 1 comes as a by-product and it shows consistency.

"Being No. 1 was an honour and I take my hat off to Roger [Federer] for doing 300 weeks at the top. It's a good call by Andy to aim to become No. 1 in the world and he understands that it's not only about playing well in the majors, it also takes consistency throughout the year to achieve that. I don't see any reason why Andy won't win many more grand slam titles."

Like Murray, Lendl had to wait until his fifth grand slam final to land his first major, and he has praised his student's ability to learn from his mistakes.

"I was convinced from the beginning Andy would win a grand slam because I could see how good a player he was," Lendl said. "Andy learned very quickly from a couple of losses; against Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open and then against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Final and became an even better player.

"Nothing is God given - it's all about hard work. Andy has worked really hard to have good hands around the net and to hit the shots he does.

"It is very flattering that people say I've helped Andy to win a first grand slam but all the credit goes to him. He is the one who has done the work and won the matches.

"Would he have won the titles this year if I wasn't there? Maybe, maybe not or he could have won even more. We will never know, however, if I have played any small part in achieving the gold medal and the US Open title then I'm very happy for him."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.