Andy Murray’s trip to this year’s Wimbledon final just six months after appointing former world number one Ivan Lendl as his coach shows that, sometimes, it’s not what you hear that counts, its who you hear it from.
The Scot’s former coach agrees. According to the Telegraph, Miles Maclagan has said: “What Ivan Lendl is saying to Andy might be the same as what I used to say. But maybe it carries more weight because he has got eight grand slams in his trophy cabinet.” The paper notes that Maclagan’s career peaked at number 172 in the world.
Murray has always had the skill and speed to succeed. But his overtly emotional on-court presence has often been blamed for slip-ups. It’s OK to get mad – like McEnroe – but to get down in the dumps never helps a player win. Lendl’s attitude, though, has always been a different story.
At the height of his career, the Czech became synonymous with a robotic and unemotional style of play. And that approach seems to have rubbed off on to the right places of Murray’s game, while keeping the Scot’s essential passion and drive firmly in place.
It should be noted that Andy’s trip to the final was rendered much easier by the unexpected early departure of Raphael Nadal. While a few (British) papers refer to the “Big Four” of tennis, the truth is that tennis in fact has a “Big Three” (with Djokovic rounding out that field), and there is a gulf in class between that elite and Murray at number four. But the gap is getting smaller – and Lendl’s steady hand has played a massive part in that.
Management ups and downs
According to Alex Ferguson, fans favourite Park chose to move from the gold plated surroundings of Old Trafford to somewhat less salubrious digs at QPR’s Loftus Road because Fergie couldn’t offer him enough games. When was the last time you saw an old-fashioned, hard-working team player make such a step down just so that he could play football? Refreshing.
There’s no problem with rich foreign owners buying English clubs per se – as long as they run them correctly. But the potential purchase of Forest by a wealthy Kuwaiti family is turning into a drawn-out process, complete with allegations of “tapping up” possible new managers. Meanwhile, players are due to start pre-season training with the club’s financial future up in the air. These are not encouraging signs.