Andy Murray’s split with coach Ivan Lendl will fuel rumours over his future

Kevin Palmer
Andy Murray chats with Ivan Lendl

For a third and almost certainly final time, Andy Murray has split with his coach Ivan Lendl.

Murray won all three of his Grand Slam titles in his first two spells with the former world number one and they reunited again last March.

But, although the Scot regained his place in the top 50 after years of battling to overcome hip problems, he has not achieved the results he wanted, particularly at the biggest tournaments.

“Ivan has been by my side at the biggest moments in my career and I can’t thank him enough for all that he’s helped me achieve,” said Murray.

“He’s a unique character who understands what it takes to win and I’ve learnt an awful lot over the years from him.”

An issue throughout their partnership has been Lendl’s reluctance to travel from his home in the US, and that has been particularly acute this year.

Murray will continue to work with Mark Hilton and Jonny O’Mara, who have both been much more frequent presences courtside than Lendl in recent months.

“I will look back with some great memories of the time Andy and I worked together,” said eight-time grand slam champion Lendl.

“He’s as hard a worker as there is and the sport is better because of him. I wish him only the best in the years to come.”

Eyebrows will be raised over the timing of this announcement, with Murray giving big hints last month that he is starting to doubt whether he can make a return to the top of the game after a challenging 2023.

The Scot, who is playing with a metal hip, has had fleeting moments of success and he has pushed some of the biggest names in the game at times this season.

Yet the end results have not been forthcoming and Murray cut a downbeat figure after his latest loss to Australian Alex De Minaur in Paris last week having held a dominant lead and admitted he is not enjoying playing at the moment.

“I’m not really enjoying it just now in terms of how I feel on the court and how I’m playing,” Murray stated

“The last five, six months haven’t been that enjoyable, so I need to try and find some of that enjoyment back because playing a match like that there’s not much positivity there.

“When I play a good point, I’m not really getting behind myself and then in the important moments, that will to win and fight has always been quite a big, big part of my game.

“If I want to keep going, I’m going to need a lot of work.

“It’s not just going to be like one or two weeks of training to get me to where I need to get to, it’s going to have to be a lot of work and consistent work to give myself a chance.”

But he is set to be part of Britain’s Davis Cup team for their quarter-final against Serbia in Malaga later this month and it was announced earlier on Friday that he will begin next season at the Brisbane International.

It is clear that Murray is planning to continue to play into 2024, but the exit of Lendl will fuel rumours that his time as a professional may come to an end at some point next year.

He has stated that he will hang up his rackets if he feels he is not making progress and his ATP ranking does not improve and unless results improve dramatically in the first half of the New Year, an emotional farewell appearance for Murray at Wimbledon next summer could be where his remarkable sporting story reaches a natural conclusion.

READ MORE: Andy Murray casts a big doubt over his future after devastating Paris defeat