Lendl's chance to lay his own ghost in SW19
Ivan Lendl insists that this afternoon's final is "all about Andy", but if Andy Murray can beat Roger Federer and become the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title for 76 years it will also be a remarkable triumph for his coach.
For all Lendl's success as a player – 94 titles, including eight in Grand Slam tournaments, and 270 weeks at the top of the world rankings – he was never able to lift the title here. He even skipped two entire clay-court seasons in order to concentrate on his preparations for Wimbledon, but in the two finals he reached he lost to Boris Becker and Pat Cash in 1986 and 1987.
Lendl is the only player in the modern era who went on to win a Grand Slam title after losing his first four finals. Despite the fact that he spent 16 years out of the game and had never coached a player before joining forces with Murray at the start of this year, his experience could prove invaluable in preparing the world No 4 for his biggest test.
"We will talk a lot about playing the late stages in major events," Lendl said yesterday when asked how his own experiences might help Murray. "You have to keep putting yourself in the position where you have a chance. Eventually you are bound to have a breakthrough."
Did Lendl think Federer was any less of a player at 30 than he had been earlier in his career? "Federer has won 16 majors, more than anybody else in the history of the game," Lendl said. "You don't necessarily look at his age."
Lendl believes that Murray can reverse his previous results in Grand Slam finals because he has "developed and matured as a player and a person". He said the home crowd, whose support had been "brilliant so far", would also help Murray on Centre Court today.
Having been expressionless during all of Murray's first six matches, will he show more emotion if his man wins? "Come and find out," Lendl replied.
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