Ivan Lendl calm as Andy Murray goes for first Grand Slam

HE may look rather scary and he may treat his interviewers a little like a schoolboy pulling the wings off flies, but deep down Ivan Lendl is a simple soul.

He is trying to steer Andy Murray towards his first grand slam title here in Flushing Meadows, but this is just a job like any other. And, Lendl believes, if Murray can treat it the same way, he will be just fine.

“I think you guys over-think everything, way too far,” Lendl chuckled as he held court yesterday. “I think you guys still don’t understand me after all these years. I will finish with Andy today after practice and until tonight I won’t think much about it. I didn’t think much about it either [as a player]. I really didn’t. I just was always able to separate the two.”

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The US Open is not the venue for the faint hearted or for anyone seeking peace and solitude so that is why Lendl used to spend as little time as possible at the courts. Keeping himself to himself at his Connecticut mansion, he won three titles in the Big Apple and reached eight consecutive finals. Encouraging Murray to follow the same plan, Lendl hopes his charge will be able to conserve his energies for the seven matches it will take him to win.

“I liked staying home,” he said. “I had the same crew which did the centre court at my house, doing my court, resurfacing every year. So I didn’t have to come here for practices. Out of the 14 days, I was here seven times unless I had an interrupted match, which is a great help because it’s very taxing physically and mentally to be here.

“That’s why we did a lot of training at Kooyong [during the Australian Open] this year as well, because we’d go there, we didn’t have to be there on the minute or somebody would kick us off the court in an hour. Food was there, they let us use the trainers’ room and you’re just on your own and can be at your leisure. You don’t have to stress about anything. I think there is enough stress on the match days.”