'Murray needs to get mean': Lendl says his protege is too nice on the tennis court
17:49 GMT, 20 December 2012
Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl has revealed the British No 1 can be too nice on court and needs to get meaner in training in order to keep improving.
In his first year as Murray’s coach Lendl has helped guide the Scot to his first major at the US Open, a Wimbledon final and even an Olympic gold at Centre Court.
But speaking to the Times newspaper, the 52-year-old revealed Murray has to get tougher to get better.
Murray had his finest year in 2012, winning his first Slam and an Olympic gold medal
‘I think Andy is too nice sometimes,’
Lendl said. ‘You can only play the way you practice — there’s not way
you’re going to play differently than the way you practice. At least I
don’t see it.’
After watching Murray complete a
training match against fellow Scot Jamie Baker, Lendl added: ‘Andy knew
what I wanted (during a particular rally). I wanted it buried, either in
the corner or in the guy’s nuts, but bury it somewhere.’
This time last year, Lendl was
considering taking on Murray as his next coaching project after the
British No 1 had parted with ways with Alex Corretja earlier in the
When the pair met, and a mutual commitment to winning was established, it quickly became a match made in heaven.
But the year hasn't all been plain sailing – the Scot was devastated when Roger Federer bested him in the Wimbledon final
Lendl said: ‘Part of our discussions
with Andy (before becoming his coach) was me getting to know him a
little bit and see if he is as committed as I would be if I did it. The
answer was yes.’
Lendl also revealed the level of
scrutiny that Murray’s physical performance is under, and how minor
tweaks can have the most profound effect on on-court performance.
‘I went to Jez (Green, Murray’s
physical trainer) in Australia in January this year and said where I saw
weaknesses in his conditioning, whether it was movement, turning around
to one side or the other side. Jez then showed me some new exercises
and by Wimbledon he was better.
‘I understand, for Andy to do better,
he needs to be fit, he needs to be quick and he needs to be uninjured,
and they understand that, in order for him to do well, he needs to play a
lot of tennis in certain situations.’
Murray was thrilled with his US Open title, but Lendl says he will have to get meaner if he wants to win another
His next opportunity for Grand Slam success will be in Australia, but he will be up against defending champion Novak Djokovic
With the Australian Open on the horizon, Murray will be resting his body over the Christmas period.
The first Grand Slam of the year has bowed to player pressure and increased prize money for early losers at the season’s opening grand slam.
Tennis Australia announced in October the tournament would have a record purse and today confirmed the major beneficiaries would be players who lose in the opening rounds having incurred the sizeable costs of travelling Down Under.
The title favourites are also set to benefit with both the men’s and women’s champion receiving 2.43million Australian dollars – the biggest prize in the history of the sport.
'Our motivation is to make a major contribution toward helping ensure professional tennis players can make a decent living,' said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.
'To just reach the main draw of a slam, a professional tennis player has to be among the top 100 in what is one of, if not the most, competitive professional sport in the world.
'We will not be stopping here,' he added. 'There will be more talks and more increases during the next four years. This is just a very positive first step.'
The Australian Open starts on January 14 with Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka in line to defend their titles.