With recent changes to the coaching teams of both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic it is clear that Andy Murray’s coaching setup is influencing the game's top players.
Murray famously hired tennis legend Ivan Lendl as his coach in early 2012 and hasn’t looked back since, as under his influence Murray gained his first Grand Slam victory and achieved his perceived career goal of success at Wimbledon. Before Lendl’s influence, Murray didn’t appear to have the fifth gear that he needed in order to see off his fellow top players, the attitude to accompany the talent that he possesses in abundance.
He also acts as a calming influence on Murray, as the only other man to lose his first four Grand Slam finals was Lendl, giving Murray the belief that despite his unfortunate form, things would improve and result in triumph, which they certainly have.
Focus had also moved away from the negativity shown towards Murray by some British fans following his famous and often misinterpreted jibe at England during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Lendl too knew the weight of negativity, in fact far greater than that of Murray, persuading him to eventually become an American citizen in 1992. Murray found the height of his popularity this year winning Sports Personality of the Year, transforming his image along with his fortunes.
It is no surprise therefore, to see Roger Federer looking to Stefan Edberg for assistance as he looks to end his career in professional tennis successfully, desperately trying to find a top form which many believe may have deserted him. He comes into the Federer camp as a specialist coach and will replace Paul Annacone who had led Federer back to world number 1 before his formed dropped, causing his first year since 2002 without a Grand Slam Final appearance.
As for Djokovic, he has named Boris Becker as his new coach, getting off to a winning start at a non-ranking event in Abu Dhabi, beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 6-3. The German was a surprise choice as coach but has similarities with the Serbian, both of them having won six Grand Slams. There is the essence of Murray’s choice surrounding the decision, as Djokovic has come up short in the big finals at times this year, mainly against Murray at this year’s Wimbledon, hoping the German’s experience can add to his game.
It is therefore clear that the model created by Murray to create success at the top of the professional game has inspired those around him and hints at further success for the British player as by matching it, the potential assistance ex-players can offer has been recognised. It adds a further edge to this year’s tour too, as the tour legends compete for coaching honours.
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