• Australian Open

Lendl: Murray deserves all the credit for improvement

ESPN staff
January 26, 2013
Ivan Lendl believes he still has not fully worked Andy Murray out © Getty Images

Ivan Lendl believes major success in 2012 has had a tangible effect on Andy Murray's confidence and composure already.

Lendl, the Scot's coach for just over 12 months, believes the Olympic and US Open champion gained more from those defining experiences than from any advice the Czech has tried to impart to him.

While admitting that their partnership has proved "positive" since they started working together, Lendl was reluctant to acknowledge any suggestion that he had played the decisive role in helping the 25-year-old finally get the grand slam monkey off his back.

With Murray set to face Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open on Sunday, Lendl believes his charge is beginning to come into his own after gaining self-confidence.

"I think it has more to do with him winning the Olympics and the US Open," Lendl said, speaking to Eurosport, when asked about Murray's impressive play. "He is more at ease with himself.

"I think I have seen some quotes where he says he can walk 'with his head up' now - and I don't agree with it. If you prepare well and give your best you can always walk with your head up, but apparently Andy felt a little different about it.

"But now with the wins he feels good and I think it has shown in its game."

Lendl believes that extra sense of relaxation has enabled Murray to retain greater balance in his play in the opening rounds of big events, helping him conserve energy for the latter stages better than he was previously able to.

Lendl noted: "He was able to focus quite well on the first five matches [this time] and not give anything away. He kept it simple and did not waste energy. So he came into the Federer match [the semi-final] with a lot of energy, and hopefully will for [the final] too.

"Also the calmness he showed in the semi, that was good. I was feeling very comfortable even after the fourth set."

Djokovic, the defending champion in Melbourne, will prove a daunting opponent on Sunday, however, even if Murray did emerge victorious when they met at Flushing Meadows at the end of last season.

Lendl refused to reveal any tactics the Scot might have for defeating the Serbian.

"He's the No. 1 player in the world," Lendl noted. "It is never going to be easy to beat Novak, but I am never going to talk to anyone but Andy and [training partner] Dani [Vallverdu] about how to beat any player, including Novak."

Despite the positive results of their partnership so far, Lendl believes he is still working out the best ways to interact with Murray.

"I bring a lot of attention - I wish I didn't, but I can't get away from that - so it put more spotlight on him," he said. "Lucky for us it is working quite well, so it is turning into a positive. If it wasn't working well it would be a problem.

"I just try to do the best job I can. I am still learning, learning which way to talk to Andy about things and how to do things so it's most effective.

"Sometimes there are better ways than others [of getting my point across]. I still don't think I know the best way to talk to him."

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