Tennis Elbow: Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl, back like the first time

published: Jun, 21, 2016

by: Charles Blouin-Gascon

Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps yet another Queen’s Club title for Andy Murray.

Maybe it will all work out for Andy Murray?

At the Aegon Championships finals, in front of a boisterous and pro-Murray crowd, the Brit continued his excellent 2016 season and added a title to his name by beating Milos Raonic 6-7(5), 6-4 and 6-3.

“To do it means a lot… It’s a tournament that obviously means a lot to me. It’s been my most successful tournament. […] My best tennis is there. I’m happy with that,” Murray said. “I didn’t come in, like I said, with hardly any preparation so maybe consistency could be better. But when I needed to this week, I stepped up and played my best tennis.”

That, he certainly did—though for a time it looked like his best tennis might not be good enough. For a while, Raonic looked as good as he had all week at the Queen’s Club, going up a set and a break and seemingly on the verge of going away with the match.

“Normally I’m pretty confident in a situation up a set and a break. There were two very close challenges there, maybe could make a difference or not, but I thought he played well,” Raonic said after his loss. “He stepped it up after that and came up with an incredible return on the first break point chance he had.”

On his first chance, Murray managed to do what no one else had up to this point in London and broke Raonic’s, which hadn’t happened in 55 games.

This win is a memorable one for a few reasons for the 29-year-old Murray, who becomes the first man to win five titles at the Queen’s Club, where they’ve played a tournament since 1890. It’s also Murray’s seventh grass title of the Open era, which brings level with Ken Rosewall and Boris Becker. He’s only a few behind another few of history’s best in Lleyton Hewitt, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras. (He’s far, far from Roger Federer at the top, but that’s fine: we’ve never confused Murray for the Swiss.)

This win also validates him for making the decision to rehire Ivan Lendl as his coach.

If you recall, their first partnership had ended somewhat suddenly when the coach couldn’t fully commit to Murray’s schedule. “I would try to impress my girlfriend a lot more the first few months I was with her than I do now,” Murray said at the Australian Open two years ago, after the split. “It’s the same with Ivan.”

By then, the player and the coach had barely spent any time together in the previous six months and, despite what had been and still the best moments of Murray’s career, they parted ways.

Now Lendl is back in Murray’s corner. Who knows for how long, but their second stint is off to a good start.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG

Charles Blouin-Gascon

I'm the mastermind (I use this word very generously) of the 'Tennis Elbow' column, which looks at the previous week in the world of tennis. I try to bring humor to my coverage, because life's much better when you're smiling. I can also hit a mean backhand down the line.

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