Thursday 26 April 2018

McEnroe urges nearly man Murray to hire 'another Lendl'

McEnroe: Open to offers Photo: Christophe Ena
McEnroe: Open to offers Photo: Christophe Ena

Simon Briggs

Andy Murray could still benefit from the presence of an all-time great in his player's box, according to John McEnroe, who also suggested that he would have been available himself if Murray had picked up the phone.

The coaching debate will be back on the agenda after the French Open, where Murray produced his best-ever showing at Roland Garros, but also ended up lamenting his fifth straight defeat to Novak Djokovic in grand slam events.

Murray's latest assistant coach, Jamie Delgado, who joined the camp after the Australian Open, has fitted neatly into the team and made an outstanding contribution.

But Murray's latest near miss will inevitably prompt further speculation.

Is he still missing that extra ingredient that could propel him over the final hurdle, in the same way that Ivan Lendl did in 2012 and 2013?

McEnroe - who will be part of the BBC's commentary team at Wimbledon - is not available at the moment, having committed to helping world No 9 Milos Raonic improve his volleys over the grass-court season.

But on the subject of a potential tie-up with Murray, McEnroe replied: "When you look at someone who's that good, you're always interested. Andy is extremely professional. He won a couple of majors. So you're talking about the cream of the crop.

"I don't recall ever getting a call," McEnroe added. "It depends on what type of commitment you're talking about and for how long. There was never any discussion. I never heard from anyone.

"It's been a win-win for Boris (Becker) and Novak as an example. I think clearly my old rival Ivan Lendl made a positive difference with Andy."

Murray must realise that if he is to add to his tally of major titles then he will have to find a way through the Djokovic roadblock. And that might mean being prepared to gamble a bit more.

When push came to shove, Djokovic was the one who held his ground in Sunday's final, while Murray stepped back from the baseline.

"Of course your opponent plays a role in pushing you back off the court," says Craig O'Shannessy, lead analyst on the men's tour.

"But it is also about being prepared to take that calculated risk: you might be more exposed when you stand up to the baseline, and less able to scramble balls back, but you also get better value for your own attacking shots." (Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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