Australian Open 2014: Ivan Lendl lets facade drop to praise Andy Murray's recovery


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The Independent Online

Coming from Old Stoneface himself, this was praise indeed for Andy Murray. "He is hitting the ball great," Ivan Lendl, the Scot's coach said. "I think he has played enough matches now. I am not concerned about that."

As Murray prepares for his Australian Open quarter-final against Roger Federer, Lendl is confident that his charge has recovered well from the back surgery he had four months ago. He also believes Murray's lack of time on court – he had played only two competitive matches since September before arriving here – has not held him back.

"It's definitely easier to come back from an injury at the beginning of the year than it is at Wimbledon, when everyone has played for six months," Lendl said. "There's no question Andy had a very good draw and took advantage of it. He has played his way into the tournament nicely."

Murray has reached the quarter-finals or better in 18 of his last 22 appearances in Grand Slams. Lendl said that consistent success was much tougher to achieve now than it had been in his day because there is so much more strength in depth.

"You look at the players in today's game and even guys ranked 200 are good players, so you still have to perform well," Lendl said. "In our times when anybody was ranked 200, it was most of the time just glorified practice. That has changed dramatically."

Murray looks set to play two singles rubbers as well as the doubles with Colin Fleming when Britain's Davis Cup team take on the United States in San Diego next week. Kyle Edmund and James Ward complete the team for Britain's first World Group tie for six years, while Dominic Inglot – who lost his doubles quarter-final alongside Treat Huey against Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen – is a travelling reserve.

Leon Smith, Britain's captain, has dropped Dan Evans from the squad, saying that the clay surface did not suit him.