Tuesday 12 December 2017

Lendl: Murray is the world’s best player

Andy Murray is watches by his coach Ivan Lendl
Andy Murray is watches by his coach Ivan Lendl

Andy Murray is the best tennis player in the world, according to his coach Ivan Lendl.

The Scot finally ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's singles champion at Wimbledon on Sunday, beating Novak Djokovic in three hard-fought sets in the final to add to last year's US Open triumph.

He remains a distant second to Djokovic in the ATP's official world rankings, though it is not impossible he could close the near 3,000-point gap to the Serbian by the end of the year.

But Lendl believes 26-year-old Murray's major double, allied to last summer's Olympic success, makes him the man to beat.

"Under pressure right now Andy has two majors and a gold medal," Lendl told reporters from several national newspapers at the Wimbledon champions' dinner.

"Novak is a great player, don't get me wrong. He has had a phenomenal last 12 months [and] basically since the start of 2011, so the rankings look at all of that.

"[But] if somebody has two majors and an Olympic gold medal, and everybody else [holds] only one major, everybody can make their own opinion on that."

The Czech won eight majors in his own playing career and believes that - rather than the rankings - is the measure by which a player is ultimately judged.

"Every champion knows how many majors they won," said Lendl. "Nobody remembers how many weeks they were number one."

In addition to his major wins, Murray lost to Roger Federer in last year's Wimbledon final and was also runner-up in this year's Australian Open, won by Djokovic.

Lendl is delighted with Murray's consistency and feels those experiences, particularly at SW19, helped him get over the line this year.

"This one was more difficult to win because there was more pressure on Andy than there was at Flushing Meadows," he said.

"If he hadn't played last year's final then he wouldn't have been prepared that well [this time]. I think it was a great experience to have. Any time you play a major finals and you get that experience I think it's very important.

"My expectations were to do the best job I can to give Andy the best chances to win as many as he can. And that's pretty much what happened.

"I wouldn't say it came extremely quickly. These things don't take a few weeks. The first one took over six months, seven months, but what I'm pleased about is his consistency.

"He got to the final of Wimbledon, followed by the Olympics, followed by winning the US Open, followed by the final of the Australian Open, followed by winning Wimbledon. That's a remarkable consistency and I'm very pleased with Andy in that regard. It's not easy."

Press Association

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