The band is back together again. Andy Murray has made the shock announcement that Ivan Lendl will be re-joining his coaching team for a third time. The two previous spells together were the most successful times of Murray’s career, producing all three of his Grand Slam wins, two Olympic gold medals and a run to world No.1 in 2016.
But can the golden duo add to their collection of greatest hits after so long apart?
It’s an undoubted boon for Murray that Lendl wants to work with him again. It was reported that Lendl needed some convincing to commit to their second spell and wanted assurances about what exactly he was getting into, so he must see something now to bring him back again for a third time. His only coaching stint since splitting with Murray for the second time in 2017 was a 12-month spell with Alexander Zverev that seemed to end on sour terms. Zverev suggested Lendl was more interested in his dog and golf game rather than tennis practice; Lendl said it was “difficult to work” with Zverev due to some “off-court issues”.
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Lendl has not been on the coaching radar since that partnership ended in July 2019.
Perhaps it helps that Murray is not hiring Lendl as a full-time coach to travel around the world with him. Lendl is a reluctant flyer and ended the first partnership with Murray because he was not prepared to commit to more than 15 weeks on tour. He will not hook up with Murray in Indian Wells next week but could join him at the Miami Open as he lives nearby. The two will then work together over a training block in Florida during the clay season and try to get Murray in the best shape possible for the grass.
If this is not the last roll of the dice for Murray it feels close to it.
After some positive signs in the second half of last year, Murray has regressed somewhat in recent months. He made the final of the Sydney International but otherwise hasn’t won more than one match at any of the other five tournaments he has played. He has also cut a frustrated figure at times and has bemoaned not having “consistent messages” from his coaching team.
Murray has had trial spells with Johanna Konta's former coach Esteban Carril and Jan de Witt since splitting with long-time coach Jamie Delgado at the end of 2022. He has also worked with childhood friend Colin Fleming in Doha and ex-coach Dani Vallverdu, who is currently coaching Stan Wawrinka.
Murray has always stressed that he feels there is still more to come and that he is on the track. If anybody is going to take him to the next level it’s going to be Lendl.
The eight-time Grand Slam champion helped drive Murray to the greatest moments of his career, and may bring an edge back to his game. Murray has become bogged down in matches over the last year, rarely getting through them in straightforward fashion. That his body and his metal hip seem to have held up well is a huge positive, but Lendl will surely try to get Murray to play more aggressive and finish points quicker. Whether he still can is another matter.
Murray also conceded recently that he “mentally needs to be a lot tougher”.

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It is widely thought that Murray had some the calmer moments of his career when Lendl was in his corner. There wasn’t as much shouting or chuntering, not as much wasted energy. It is certainly hard to imagine Murray berating his box the way he did at last year’s US Open for only packing one pair of trainers if Lendl was there. Murray was two sets to love up in that match against Stefanos Tsitsipas but then seemed to get sidetracked by the length of his opponent’s toilet breaks and lost sight of the winning post.
Lendl should bring some steel and security back to Murray.
Rafael Nadal's uncle and former coach, Toni, credited Lendl for transforming Murray's mental approach.
“The talent and the shots, they have always been there, but Lendl definitely helped Murray with the mental side. In the important moments, Murray could be much calmer on court, much more tranquil."

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Lendl and Murray have plenty in common. They are both parents – Lendl has five kids, Murray four – they are both dog owners, and Lendl, like Murray, battled injuries later in his career. He will know what Murray is going through and should understand that training blocks may not be as intense as during their previous spells. Murray has previously suggested that he was pushing himself too much in the past and it was during his second stint with Lendl that he first experienced injury issues.
It would be fascinating to hear Lendl’s assessment of Murray’s game right now and how much room there is for improvement. One of the qualities Murray admires about Lendl is his honesty – “he says exactly what he thinks and while I don’t always like hearing it, what he says is often what I need to hear,” said Murray after winning Wimbledon in 2016 – and this might be exactly what is needed right now. But what if Lendl can’t lift Murray again? Is there anywhere else to turn?
With his 35th birthday soon approaching time is running out for Murray. Now it’s time to find out exactly what he has left.
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