Novak Djokovic plays down Ivan Lendl’s role in British rival’s run to semi-finals
NOVAK Djokovic has welcomed Ivan Lendl’s return to top-level tennis but downplayed his role in Andy Murray’s latest run to a grand slam semi-final.
Djokovic and Murray clash in the last four of the Australian Open this morning – the fifth major in a row the Scot has reached this stage – in a repeat of the final here 12 months ago which the Serbian won convincingly.
That sobering defeat – and the two in grand slam finals which preceded it – prompted Murray to appoint Lendl as his coach at the turn of the year.
The world No 4 views the 51-year-old Czech as a kindred spirit as he reached four finals before landing his maiden grand slam crown at the 1984 French Open. He went on to win seven more.
And while Djokovic believes that the partnership will prove beneficial for Murray in the long-term, he has yet to see any major changes in his game.
“From my perspective it’s good to see a legend, one of the greatest players ever to play the game, being around the tour again,” he said.
“But I don’t know how much it has affected Andy. They haven’t had that much time to work on things. But I guess him winning the title in Brisbane and reaching the semi-finals here says the match is good.”
Murray is bidding to reach his third successive Australian Open final and the British No 1 is regarded as one of the quicker starters at the beginning of an ATP season.
“He’s always been successful in Australia,” added Djokovic. “He has always been very fit and committed and he proves that over and over again.
“I guess the effect of Lendl being part of his team will be felt in time to come.” Last year’s final in Melbourne marked the start of an incredible year for Djokovic – he went on to become world No 1 and win Wimbledon and the US Open while Murray was left to deal with more questions over his mental fragility.
“He’s definitely very motivated to win his first grand slam,” Djokovic said. “He’s been proving to himself and to the rest of the people that the Australian Open is probably his best grand slam.
“But on the other hand I have been playing quite well here in the last couple of years. I hope that I can step out on the court trying to repeat the same thing I did last year, but it’s definitely going to take a lot of effort to be a winner.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west