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Lendl / Murray – A match made in heaven?

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Lendl / Murray – A match made in heaven?

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Tennis

The Terminator will bring added steel to Murrays Game.

If you ever wanted to get into a mental sports fight there would be some sports people that you would really want to have on your team.

Michael Schumacher would be one. He plays dirty if he thinks he's going to lose and will take you both off the track if it means the end result goes his way. In 1994 he did exactly that taking out Damon Hill and he should have forfeited his title that year. Just skip the after victory celebrations with him to maintain your self respect.

Muhammad Ali did his best to defeat you before you even got into the ring with him. His pre match rants were all designed to put fear into his opponent and build up his own confidence and self-belief.

"Joe Frazier should give his face to The Wildlife Fund! He's so ugly, blind men go the other way. Ugly! Ugly! Ugly! He not only looks bad, you can smell him in another country! What will the people in Manila think? That black brothers are animals. Ignorant. Stupid. Ugly and smelly."

Avoid small talk with Ali as he'll just make you look like an ignoramus.

Both Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry had incredible powers of concentration during their career heydays racking up 13 World Titles between them. You couldn't rattle them and they just played in their own world oblivious to anything you tried to do to upset them. Victory Celebration? A nice warm cocoa and let's practise that break off.

Stephen Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent would definitely be in your corner for their ability to train like demons and block out suffering. These guys would be good fun for after victory celebrations but make sure you have your swimming trunks for an early morning row to blow away any hangover.

My ultimate choice would be Lance Armstrong for single mindedness in the pursuit of winning. Both in beating cancer and deeds in the saddle.

This guy has the mental strength of a steel girder. Victory Celebration? A well earned kip in the sack before the next drug test control.

When we look back at the tennis greats it's quite amazing to see what John McEnroe has become.

Out of all of the greats that came from the seventies, eighties and nineties no one would have predicted that he would go on to have such an assured and successful broadcasting career. It would have been the last prediction on anyone's lips due to the way he turned the air blue with his constant ranting.

He was a loose cannon likely to self-implode at any moment but his self-berating was intended to inspire him to greater heights. He is a fantastic commentator who picks up every nuance of the game unfolding before our eyes.

In direct contrast Ivan Lendl was a study in concentration.

Similar in style to Bjorn Borg he defeated McEnroe when he won his first Grand Slam title at the 1984 French Open, in a long final to claim what was arguably his best victory. Down two sets to love and later trailing 4–2 in the fourth set, Lendl battled back to claim the title 3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5

This preceded a long stretch of tennis dominance where he became the number one ranked player for five straight years and the only title he failed to win was Wimbledon.

After reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1983 and 1984, he reached the final there twice, losing in straight sets to Boris Becker in 1986 and Pat Cash in 1987. In 1988, 1989 and 1990 he reached the semis but never reached the final again and the Wimbledon title eluded him.

He will be looking to put that right in his first stint as a tennis coach.

Now 51 he has the mental steel and toughness needed to stop Andy Murray crying to his box when things are not going his way and get on with the job of looking for alternative ways of destroying an opponent.

There is no doubt Andy Murray has the game. But he is unfortunate that his time has come when we have probably three of the greatest players the tennis court has ever witnessed in Federer, Nadal and Djokavic.

To win titles it is going to take superhuman effort from Murray to transcend the existing gap from also ran to title contender. Ivan Lendl will leave no stone unturned in his quest to win. For that is what Lendl is. He is a winner in terminator style. He will hunt you down relentlessly.

On the court he was a robotic winner, playing from the baseline and hitting topspin backhands, Lendl was machine like in his accuracy.

That he never won Wimbledon was surely because he never added a sufficient net game to his play to combat the varied bounce of the grass court.

Lendl is surely what Murray needs to bridge the final gap to champion. If Lendl cannot do it and well-intended barbs from McEnroe cannot do it then I don't believe it will ever happen.

Would it be too much to ask for the Lendl / Murray partnership to start off with a win at the Australian Open?

Betfred have a great offer so that you can take advantage of my foolishness in picking Murray to win his first Grand Slam:

Place a sports bet win single on the Men's Australian Open Outright prior to the start of the tournament and if Rafael Nadal wins we will refund your losing stake

So back Murray and if Nadal wins overall you get your money back.

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