Can Andy Murray win his third Major under Ivan Lendl?
Talk about happy reunions! Andy Murray couldn’t have asked for a better start to his Wimbledon campaign. The Scot won a record fifth Queen’s title just days after appointing Ivan Lendl as his coach. Murray is gunning for his third Major and second here at Wimbledon.
Lendl is back by Murray's side after their split in a couple of years back when the American decided he had to concentrate on other interests. Lendl has been playing regularly on the seniors’ tour and runs his own tennis academy in South Carolina. But, now he is back to re-ignite the successful partnership.
Stint with Amelie Mauresmo
After, the schocking split with the American, Murray became the first high-profile tennis player to appoint a woman as a coach when Amelie Mauresmo came on board in June 2014. Under Mauresmo, Murray reached two Grand Slam finals, both in Melbourne as he came second best to Novak Djokovic on both occasions.
The Scot who had his fair share of struggles on clay managed to even win at Munich, before clinching his first Masters title on the surface in Madrid last year. He also stacked up a memorable 16-match winning streak along the way which culminated in a 5-set loss to Djokovic in the French Open semifinals.
The Frenchwoman could not, however, dedicate her time to coaching Murray after the birth of her son last August. Nevertheless, she had a calming influence on his game, apart from helping the Scot rise from No. 11 to No. 2 in the world.
Success under “Leader Lendl”
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were ruling the roost in the Grand Slams for close to a decade. Murray was still not part of the Big 4 as we know it today. He wasn’t considered an all-court player and lacked consistency at the big stages. All of this changed under the leadership of Ivan Lendl in the summer of 2012.
After losing the 2012 Wimbledon final to Federer in straight sets, Murray came back stronger. He put his home slam defeat to rest as he stunned the Swiss maestro and then World No. 1 Federer to take home the Olympic gold.
It was a great confidence booster to Murray to believe that he could beat the best in big finals. That confidence soon translated to success when he beat Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam at the US Open. The year 2012 was remarkable as each of the “big 4” won a Grand Slam that year.
Murray reached the final of the Australian Open in 2013, where he lost to Djokovic in 4 sets. The Scot was making the big moves having reached three Grand Slam finals in a row for the first time in his career. Back injury stopped his momentum as he withdrew from the 2013 French Open. He bounced back remarkably at Wimbledon, claiming his second Grand Slam beating Djokovic again in the finals.
Lendl brought in the much-needed aggression to Murray’s game, particularly on the forehand side. The Scot has been criticised for his weak second serve and has paid a price on numerous occasions. The World No. 2 added variety to his second serve under Mauresmo and found good results. He needs to be braver in the shot and let it affect his focus during crucial moments of a match.
Here’s how Murray fared under Lendl:
Total Titles: 7
Win-loss record: 113-29.
The Djokovic conundrum
With Nadal opting out of Wimbledon and Federer not having a great season so far, Murray has a great chance at adding to his Grand Slam tally. A record fifth Queen’s title must do his confidence a world of good. However, his record against Djokovic is a cause of worry for Murray fans. The Scot has won just 2 of their last 15 meetings, a win ratio of just 13.33%. When Lendl was at the helm, Murray beat Djokovic 4 out of 9 times, a win ratio of 44.44%.
In those 4 wins, Murray’s second serve, forehand, attitude and focus on the court came together in perfect harmony. He gets passive at times when facing the Serb and the World No. 1 doesn’t need a second invitation to pounce on Murray’s mistakes.
If the two meet in Wimbledon final again, we might just get a glimpse of Murray’s tactics against Djokovic.
Murray’s Wimbledon draw
He is seeded second at SW19 and opens his campaign against fellow Brit Liam Broady, who got a wild card to the tournament. His second opponent could be Yen-Hsun Lu, a man Murray beat three years ago en route his first Wimbledon win. Stars are aligning for him perhaps.
Benoit Paire could be his third round opponent. The Frenchman was a set and two breaks up in Monte Carlo earlier this year and ended up losing their only encounter so far. A tricky opponent in the form of Nick Kyrgios awaits Murray in the fourth round. The Australian famously took out Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2014 and has made the second week on his two visits to SW19. However, he has lost all his four matches against the British No. 1.
Murray’s prospective quarterfinal opponent is Richard Gasquet. The duo met in the French Open quarterfinals, where Murray managed to win after being a set down.
Stan Wawrinka awaits Murray in the semifinal. Murray got the better of the Swiss in their recent meeting in the French Open semifinals and holds a 9-7 winning record over him.
A familiar name in Grand Slam finals, Novak Djokovic, holder of all four majors and aiming to reach his seventh consecutive Major final could be Murray’s opponent in the final. The Scot’s last Grand Slam win against the Serb came right here in the Wimbledon final three years ago. With Djokovic playing just an exhibition match at Boodles and Murray having enough match practice under his belt after his win at Queen’s, it is expected to be a close match.