Murray is out to copy Lendl's work ethic

Scot learns from coach that putting in "110 per cent" can help him become world No 1

Ivan Lendl has been Andy Murray's coach for little more than two months but his positive impact is clear already. On the court you can see it in the 24-year-old Scot's much-improved focus on his game. Off the court, you hear it in his language. The phrase "110 per cent" peppers his conversation – a sure sign of the influence of Lendl, who was the game's ultimate workhorse.

"You need to be there week in, week out, and put in 110 per cent," Murray said as he sat back in a chair in a room beneath the stadium where he reached the final in Dubai on Saturday. "So long as you give 110 per cent it shows everyone that you're not going to roll over ... If you're not giving 110 per cent then you don't really learn a whole lot."

Murray, it should be emphasised, was a fine player before Lendl arrived. The world No 4's first three tournaments since linking up with the eight-times Grand Slam champion – he won in Brisbane, went close to beating Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in Melbourne and became the first player to defeat the world No 1 this year before losing in the Dubai final to Roger Federer – followed a fine run in the second half of last year. Lendl wants to ensure those standards are maintained all year.

Since last summer's Cincinnati Masters, Murray has played in 10 tournaments, winning five of them. If the world rankings were decided by points won since then, Murray (4,920 points) would be within touching distance of Federer (5,735) and Djokovic (5,340) and comfortably clear of Rafael Nadal (3,540).

However, the rankings are based on a rolling total of points won over the previous 12 months. Murray is in fourth place (5,860 points behind Djokovic) thanks in part to his woeful run at this stage last year, when he lost first time out in Rotterdam, Indian Wells and Miami. The consolation is that he can make up plenty of ground over the next four weeks, starting with the Indian Wells Masters beginning on Thursday. Murray has just 20 points to defend in his next two tournaments; Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have 2,000, 1,200 and 720 respectively.

Murray, who has a habit of fixing his interviewer firmly in the eye, spoke with conviction as he underlined the need to be consistent. "If you want to get to No 1 in the world you can't have a month where you're not winning matches, because the guys at the top are winning every single week," he insisted. "I did a good job last year when I got to the clay and since then I've got to the last stage of a lot of events, but that month in February-March last year hurt me."

The influence of Lendl, who will next link up with him in Miami in a fortnight's time, is evident. "That's really the main thing that we've talked about the last couple of months," Murray said. "If you want to get to No 1 you have to play well every single week. You need to show all the guys that even if you're not playing well you're going to fight as hard as you can every single week and not show any signs of weakness.

"You can lose matches. Guys can play some great tennis against you or you can play a bad match. You're not always going to play your best, but so long as you give 110 per cent it shows everyone that you're not going to roll over and you're going to fight as hard as you can."

There was a time when Murray talked about focusing more on the Grand Slam tournaments, but Lendl wants him to give his all everywhere. "It's the only way to see where your game's at and whether the things that you've done in practice are actually working," Murray said. "If you're not giving 110 per cent then you don't really learn a whole lot either. That's the thing that Novak did last year and Roger a few years ago and also Rafa a couple of years ago. They showed that it is possible to win [almost] every single event."

While Lendl will be with Murray at the Grand Slam tournaments, Murray sees their training weeks together as crucial. Lendl plans to come to Europe for the first three and a half weeks of the clay-court season, beginning with preparations for Murray's opening tournament in Monte Carlo next month. He will then accompany him to Barcelona, after which he will return for the French Open.

"The training weeks that you do are so important, because that's where you work on the things that he might see in the matches," Murray said. "When you get to the Slams all the work should be done. Then it comes down to the tactics and the player being mentally tough and executing the game plan."

Whether or not Murray plays for Great Britain against Belgium in the Davis Cup next month will depend partly on his progress in the Miami Masters, which finishes just five days before the tie. Victory in Glasgow would send Leon Smith's team into a September play-off for a place in the elite World Group, but Murray sees a more modest target.

"I spoke to Leon early in the year and I said that the goal this year would be to try and stay in the group that we're in, because I believe that's really the level that we're at," Murray said.

Dan Evans was Britain's hero in Murray's absence against Slovakia last month. The Scot has talked up Evans' potential in the past but believes the 21-year-old Brummie needs to add some 110 per cent thinking to his ability.

"He obviously is a talented player, but he lost 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of a Challenger last week," Murray said. "That's the thing that's tough on the tour these days. You need to be there week in, week out, and put in 110 per cent every week. That's how you get used to playing guys who are 70 or 80 in the world on a regular basis. If you have one good week and then a month or month and a half when you're not doing much, it's tough to get your ranking up there. That's really the challenge for him."

A fortnight after Britain's men face Belgium, their women will travel to Sweden to compete for a place in World Group II of the Fed Cup, a level at which they have not played for 19 years. Britain's captain is Murray's mother, Judy.

As Murray began talking about her, Djokovic entered the room and invited the Scot to discuss instead his refusal to take up the Serb's challenge on PlayStation. Just as he has been doing on court, however, Murray maintained his focus, determined to give his mother credit for her achievements.

"She's always been a good coach," he said. "A lot of the players she's worked with have done well. Obviously, with the Fed Cup team doing well, I think all of the girls will have enjoyed it. Having a female coach doesn't happen that often. A lot of the work was done in the last couple of years with the guys that were there before – like Nigel Sears before he left – so they need to get some credit too. But my Mum's done well."

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own