They broke up once before. They couldn’t quit each other.
But this time, it seems permanent.
After a season during which Andy Murray struggled with a hip injury, he and mentor Ivan Lendl have called it a day – again.
“I’m thankful to Ivan for all his help and guidance over the years, we’ve had great success and learned a lot as a team. My focus now is on getting ready for Australia with the team I have in place and getting back to competing,” Murray said in a statement Friday.
The pair had first hooked up in December 2011, and they lasted until the spring of 2014 – just before the Miami event – through Murray’s rehab from back surgery late in 2013.
Murray was the innovator in the “former top player as mentor to add that little one or two per cent” coaching system. Many players, including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic, followed in his path.
And it seemed to work. With Lendl by his side, Murray won his first major at the 2012 US Open. He also won an Olympic gold medal in London, and finally broke the British men’s curse at Wimbledon with his title in 2013.
Another breakup, another rehab
At the time, Murray wanted more weeks than the busy Lendl was ready to commit to. And in the last six months of their relationship, the focus was more on Murray getting back to 100 per cent after the back surgery than anything else.
There are some similarities to Murray’s current situation.
He hasn’t played since Wimbledon. And again, the focus over the last few months – and the months to come – will be on getting his chronically-ailing hip back to where he can play his best tennis again.
As well, Murray is now 30, a father of two and an experienced competitor who has those majors and the No. 1 ranking on his resumé. With coach Jamie Delgado on board on a daily basis, he has a good-enough team around him for the foreseeable future.
Truth: there’s not a whole lot Lendl can even do for him, at the moment.
Murray plans to return to the tour in early January at the Brisbane event, leading up to the Australian Open.