Ivan Lendl has helped Andy Murray reach incredible heights the last two years, as the British tennis star transformed from a four-time Grand Slam runner-up into a two-time major champ and Olympic gold medalist.
Now the coach and player are parting ways, with the two announcing their decision with a mutual statement Wednesday on Murray's blog.
“I'm eternally grateful to Ivan for all his hard work over the past two years, the most successful of my career so far,” wrote Murray, who returned from back surgery before losing in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and in the fourth round at Indian Wells this season. “As a team, we've learned a lot and it will definitely be of benefit in the future. I'll take some time with the team to consider the next steps and how we progress from here.”
Like Murray, Lendl also lost his first four Grand Slam finals but went on to win eight major titles, as well as spend 270 weeks as the world's No. 1 player. And even though he lacked coaching experience when hired by Murray in December 2011, Lendl seems to have his protege pointed in the right direction.
In 2012 Murray won Olympic gold in London and the U.S. Open title. The next year, he won at Wimbledon, the first British man to do so in 77 years.
Lendl seems to have helped Murray with the technical aspect of his game -- in particular, his second serve and forehand -- as well as the mental aspect.
“When Murray looks up at his team and his monkey mind is just about to shout abuse, he suddenly sees the brooding, unsmiling Lendl, and the monkey backs down every time ... out of respect,” sports psychologist Don Macpherson said, via the Telegraph.
But it seems Murray may have helped Lendl rediscover his love for tennis as well. After spending the better part of two decades away from the sport, Lendl has recently played in exhibitions all over the U.S. and in London. He has opened new courts at the Ivan Lendl Junior Tennis Academy in Bluffton, S.C., and has given clinics in the Canary Islands.
“Working with Andy over the last two years has been a fantastic experience for me. He is a first-class guy," Lendl wrote in the statement. "Having helped him achieve his goal of winning major titles, I feel like it is time for me to concentrate on some of my own projects moving forward including playing more events around the world which I am really enjoying.
“I will always be in Andy's corner and wish him nothing but great success as he too goes into a new phase of his career.”