Ivan Lendl has finally opened up on the reasons why he left his position as coach of Andy Murray in March, citing a disdain for airports and a change in his family situation.
The Czech born former player coached the British number one to two Grand Slams in a partnership that lasted for just over two years, as he became the first British male to win a major in 76 years at the US Open in 2012, before adding a maiden Wimbledon crown to an Olympic Gold Medal won at SW19 two years earlier.
But the 27-year-old suffered a loss in form after back surgery forced him to miss the end of the 2013 season and the pair parted company last March, as the Dunblane-born player needed a coach who could devote more time to the role.
Lendl feels that it was the right time for them to go their separate ways, and that Murray’s new coach Amelie Mauresmo has been able to give him the amount of attention he requires and deserves.
Time was right
The eight-time Grand Slam winner has been catching up with the world number nine in New York ahead of the US Open, and he is quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying: “Just doing 20 weeks a year was hard for me.
"And you know, with Andy, after his back surgery and after winning Wimbledon and all that, I felt that if anything he needed more time rather than less time.
"Everyone is different, and when you win a big tournament like Wimbledon, it’s not easy sometimes. Some people find it more difficult than others, and I’m glad Andy found Amélie who can give him the time he needs.”
Family commitments also played their part in ending what has been Lendl’s only coaching role to date, as he is now required to spend more time in the Czech Republic.
“I need to go to Prague more often now to see my mother, who was 79 this month.
“And my youngest daughter has also returned home; she is 16 and had been staying with horse people, because she does a lot of horse-riding, but now she is living with us again.”
It was seen by many that Lendl’s experience of winning Grand Slams propelled Murray to his greatest success, particularly improving the mental side of his game, as they shared the experience of having lost their first four Grand Slam finals before winning the fifth final.
But having travelled the world as a player, Lendl had become tired of making journeys via airports and aeroplanes on a regular basis, and the decision was finally made to terminate their agreement when a meeting was held earlier this year.
“The planes are a pain in the a---. As for the places and the hotels, England was good, Australia was great, and here it was all right. It was the smaller trips. It’s a big change to your life when you do stuff like that.
"In the end Andy and I sat down and I said: ‘Look, if you can come up with a way how it can work please let me know’, but neither one of us could figure out how to do that.”
Murray’s fortunes on the court have not improved in the five months since splitting with Lendl, as he is yet to reach the final of an ATP tournament since winning Wimbledon in 2013, and he enters this year’s tournament at Flushing Meadows seeded eighth, his lowest position since 2007.
He begins his campaign to regain his title in New York against world number 70 Robin Haase on Monday, and while it has been a torrid year for him, Lendl believes that he is capable of adding more majors to his trophy cabinet before the end of his career.
“Andy’s a great player. He is fully capable of winning more majors. As for how the coaching situation works out, we don’t know yet.”