IVAN Lendl is one of the main reasons why Andy Murray had such a successful 2012, according to the Scots tennis star’s mother, Judy Murray.
Murray recorded his best ever year on the main tour, winning the US Open and the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, while he lost in the final of Wimbledon and made the quarter-finals of the French Open and the semi-final of the Australian Open.
Lendl, himself a multiple Grand Slam winner, joined up with Murray this time last year and Judy believes that Andy’s success is no coincidence.
“He’s been a crucial factor in Andy’s improvement and success this year,” she said.
“The wonderful thing about Ivan is that he’s very similar in character to Andy, not least they have the same awful sense of humour! But, seriously, he’s very driven, very dedicated and he absolutely has his eyes on the prize.
“He knows what you have to go after and he knows that you have to be very single minded about going after it.
“He’s got a real sense of direction, a real toughness and he’s really helped Andy with the mental side of the game. Being able to reset if you suffer a disappointment, a bad call or a run of bad games. That’s allowed him to play his best tennis for much longer periods of time.”
Murray’s mother also believes that more major titles are just around the corner for her son.
“It’s been a significant year for him,” she added. “It’s given him a lot of confidence. He’s worked even harder than before to go after another Slam in Australia.”
Murray spent Christmas in Dunblane and flew out to Abu Dhabi last night to take part in an exhibition tournament in the Gulf over the coming days. That event, however, will be shorn of former world No 1 Rafael Nadal, who has pulled out with a stomach virus.
Nadal has not played since the end of June, when he lost in the second round of Wimbledon to little-known Lukas Rosol. He later took time away from the game to recover from a long-term knee injury He was due to make his comeback in the UAE but the virus has put that on hold. “Rafael Nadal has been forced to make a last minute withdrawal from the 2012 event due to a stomach virus,” organisers said yesterday.
Nadal said: “I am very disappointed that I will not be able to compete this year in Abu Dhabi.
“I was really excited about returning to play and I always have a wonderful experience at the event and this is the first time I will miss the tournament.”
In a move to reassure his fans on his injured knee, he continued: “My rehab has gone well, my knee feels good and I was looking forward to competing. Doctors have informed me that my body needs to rest in order to fight this stomach virus.”