Murray draws the line at Lendl's target practice

 

Andy Murray believes he has made great strides since joining forces with Ivan Lendl but admits there was one aspect of his coach's game that he would not be copying.

"All he wants to do is hit people he's practising with," Murray said last week. "He's been trying to get me to do it. He's like: 'As soon as this guy comes to the net, just try and hit him.' That's more his sense of humour. If he gets hit with the ball his reaction is not: 'Ow, that's sore.' It's to laugh. That's what gets him going, I guess, weird things like that."

Murray added: "I've hit a few guys, but not like the way he hits them. If I was at the back of the court and they were at the net, I'd just be hitting hard at them. I've always done that. But if a ball pops up on top of the net [his aim] is just to absolutely nail them. I'm sure you've seen the videos of him hitting [Vitas] Gerulaitis on the forehead in matches. That's what he loved doing. Almost every player I've spoken to has a story about him hitting them in practice. It's what he did."

If drilling balls directly at opponents was one way Lendl tried to dictate every point, Murray uses a different tactic to intimidate rivals. "Mine would be for guys to feel like there's no space to hit winners into, making the court feel smaller by getting to every single ball and making them have to go for too much. That's more my style," he said.

"It's just different. You want to make guys feel intimidated by something you do on the court, whether it's hitting the ball hard, or your movement, or for someone like [John] Isner it will be their serve.

"That was something he [Lendl] was very good at, one of the best at. I think his attitude on the court intimidated people. He never looked flustered. He always had the same expression. No one really knew how he was feeling. But I know from speaking to him that he got really, really nervous. Everyone gets nervous – and he got more nervous than most people. But he knew how to deal with it."

Murray, who was speaking at Queen's Club in London after committing to play at the Aegon Championships in June for the next five years, will make his season's first appearance on clay at this week's Monte Carlo Masters in a field headed by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Although clay is his most challenging surface, Murray and his coach believe the world No 4 can win the French Open. Planning for Roland Garros began immediately after Murray lost to Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

"We spoke the following day about what I didn't do well in the match and what I did do well and, if I want to beat Novak, what I need to do well," Murray said. "Straightaway we were planning for the French Open, what we were going to do, what things we need to work on."

He said both he and Lendl wanted a long-term partnership. "He's already talking about planning for the Australian Open next year and which tournaments I'm going to play next year," Murray said. "I think just having him around is a calming influence on me. When I look to the box and see him there I feel much calmer.

He added: "He's a pleasure to work with because he wants to be the best at what he does. He wants to work hard and he wants to enjoy himself, so it's a great combination. Sorry to swear, but there's no bullshitting. He just wants to work hard, be the best.

"That's what I want to do and that's why I've enjoyed working with him. I think he respects that. I respect him for everything he's achieved in the game and also for what he's been like as a person to all of the guys I've worked with."

To watch Lendl's shoot-on-sight tactics see these YouTube clips: youtube.com/watch?v=vLRx2TACIKA; youtube.com/watch?v=bfL4GMFrRGI

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up