In March last year, Andy Murray announced that after just over two years, he and his coach, former World No1 Ivan Lendl, were to part and go their separate ways. He admitted in his speech that the decision has left him feeling "gutted", and said that the Czech would be a "very hard person to replace."
"He made a huge difference to my tennis."
It was evident in Murray's statement that the decision had come from Lendl who was unable to commit to enough weeks on tour, and was keen to pursue his own interests back in the USA.
In June 2014, three months after the split, Murray began working with former 2001 Ladies Singles Champion, Amelie Mauresmo, and by the end of the season had picked up three ATP titles, after returning from back surgery.
This January, he has already reached the first grand slam final of his career at the Australian Open since winning at Wimbledon more than 2 and a half years ago, but sadly fans watched as the British No.1 lost in three straight sets to current World No.1 Novak Djokovic.
People still speculate as to whether the split from Lendl was the right decision for Andy Murray, at the pinnacle of his career. Below we look at 5 reasons why Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl shouldn't have split.
- Increased pressure in Murray's game
Lendl was originally brought in to help Murray deal better with the pressure during big tennis events, and he did this successfully, coaching him on to win the most coveted grand slam of all, Wimbledon 2013. Murray conceded that his game was already there but he struggled with the pressure of such big events. He spoke of Lendl being a "very hard person to replace" due to his experience playing in similar matches during his own tennis career. This was a view shared by Chris Evert, who said: "Andy used to get so down on himself, and that was having an impact on his tennis. Ivan stopped that. He had Andy mentally balanced.
- A successful partnership others wanted to emulate
Murray and Lendl's partnership was clearly successful and infectious; it encouraged other key tennis players to join forces with former greats, for example, the partnership between Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker, Federer hooking up with Stefan Edberg , Maria Sharapova's brief partnership with Jimmy Connors and US open champion Marin Cilic who is currently coached by Ivanisevic.
- He was winning titles
In his first year with Lendl as his coach, Murray went on to reach his first Wimbledon final, won the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal, and became Britain's first male grand slam champion for 76 years when he won the US Open against Djokovic, also in 2012. In 2013, he ended Britain's 77-year wait to see a men's single champion win Wimbledon - his second huge win against Djokovic. In fact, Murray said in his parting speech from Lendl that the two years they worked together were "the most successful of my career so far". Since 2013, Murray has only reached one Grand Slam final. Despite Murray being optimistic he is now back to his best, it didn't stop him from losing in three straight sets to one of his biggest rivals in the final of the Australian Open last month.
- Tennis greats disputed it
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has said he thinks that Andy Murray made a mistake splitting from Lendl . "Last year was up and down for him, he changed the coaches. For me that's maybe his biggest mistake, letting Ivan go," Ivanisevic said."Because it was a perfect match. They did everything well together. They won two Grand Slams, he played the best tennis under Ivan, they were similar tennis players." Rafa Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni, is also of the view that Lendl transformed Murray's mental approach. He once said: "The talent and the shots, they have always been there, but Lendl definitely helped Murray with the mental side. In the important moments, Murray could be much calmer on court, much more tranquil."
- His emotions are once again exposed
During the final of the Australian Open last month, Murray's emotions were once again picked over - he certainly appeared a lot calmer when he was with Lendl and questions are now being asked about whether Murray would have dared behave like that if Lendl was still his coach. Murray's mother once said that the greatest thing that Ivan Lendl ever did for her son was "to get him to understand that you play your best tennis when you're emotionally calm".
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