• Australian Open

Lendl: Chemistry required between coach and player

ESPN staff
January 10, 2014
Ivan Lendl became Andy Murray's coach in December 2011 © Getty Images

Ivan Lendl, the coach of Andy Murray, believes much is being made about former players becoming coaches of the top professionals, and feels if there is no chemistry then the relationship will not work.

Lendl joined Murray's team in December 2011, and the British No. 1 has since gone on to win a maiden grand slam at the US Open in 2012, the Olympic gold medal at London 2012, and the Wimbledon crown in the summer of 2013.

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Murray has played just four competitive matches since his surgery © Getty Images
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Recently, Boris Becker became the head coach of Novak Djokovic, while legend Stefan Edberg has teamed up with record 17-time major winner Roger Federer.

But Lendl is of the opinion that a former great becoming a coach can only work if there is a good and working relationship between the pair.

"There have been famous coaches before, look at Rochey [Tony Roche, the Australian who coached Lendl and Roger Federer], and more recently there has been [Jimmy] Connors [Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova]," Lendl told The Times.

"There's definitely something the older guys can help with, the experience of having been out there on the court, calming the guys down. Stefan plays five days a week for fun with Magnus Larsson [the former Swedish professional]. He plays exhibitions and he moves like he is still 20. He is a very smart guy, one of the best."

On Thursday, Djokovic revealed he hopes to gain a "mental edge" with the arrival of Becker, and Lendl added that despite having a legend on board, work is still to be done by the actual players themselves.

"But people are always reading a bit too much into things; mostly it's down to the guys on the court. In any relationship, the chemistry is important, be it with a grand-slam winner, team coaching in the Davis Cup or in an academy or with a junior," he said.

"Your best coach at an academy may not work with your best kid there, but you might put them with someone less good and they do a great job. If a guy with 30 majors comes in and the chemistry is not there, it's not going to work. You might get a guy who didn't do much in his playing career and if the chemistry is there, it works."

Lendl's player Murray lost out in a tie to Lleyton Hewitt at the AAMI Classic in Kooyong, going down in two tiebreaks at the invitational event against the man who defeated Federer to lift the Brisbane International last weekend.

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