Tennis: Ivan Lendl eager to bring best out of Andy Murray

Ivan Lendl knows what it takes to move a player’s game to the next level and he believes he can help Andy Murray do it.The career of Lendl, who was named as the world No 4’s new coach on New Year’s Eve, showed certain parallels to that of Murray as the 51-year-old lost his first four grand slam finals.

Murray, 24, has lost three but Lendl, who went on to claim eight grand slam titles, believes the Scot can make the same step up as he did under coach Tony Roche.

“To me this is like Groundhog Day, I have been in this movie,” Lendl said. “I was that player once, who needed something to help make it work, it was the same as I was before I hired Rochey.

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“What happened then changed my career around.”

He continued: “What excites me about this partnership? More than anything, it is simply that this is absolutely the best match-up.

“Our senses of humour are very similar and we have an understanding that we need to bring our best all the time if we want to achieve.

“I didn’t get everything I wanted from tennis, not everyone does, but it is about not wasting chances.

“It does not mean that it will work as we want it, but I believe it will.”

Murray makes his 2012 bow in the Brisbane International against Mikhail Kukushkin tomorrow, with Lendl set to arrive in Queensland later in the week.

Former world No 1 Serena Williams made a successful return to action yesterday, beating South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Brisbane International.

The 30-year-old was returning after a lengthy lay-off following a tirade against the chair umpire in the US Open final last September.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Elena Baltacha began 2012 in positive fashion with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over the home nation’s Sacha Jones in the first round of the ASB Classic in Auckland.

The British No 1 battled tough conditions to overcome the 21-year-old wildcard and set up a second-round tie with fourth seed Flavia Pennetta.

She said: “First matches are always tricky, especially when you haven’t played a match in a long while, so it’s a good one to get through.

“It was very windy out there and she had a lot of support so I’m pleased to get the win and get a good start to 2012.”

Anne Keothavong failed to make it through to the main draw as she lost in the final qualifying round, 6-1, 6-4 against Jamie Hampton of the United States.