Lendl fits the bill
Is it time for Ivan Lendl to step into Andy Murray's corner after his split with Alex Corretja?
Last Updated: 31/03/11 8:18am
The critics have been circling around Andy Murray of late, with a plethora of players, both past and present, having their say on the 23-year-old's recent troubles.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was disapproving of Murray's on-court temperament in an interview last week.
Former British number one Tim Henman then expressed his fears - before Murray suffered his latest setback in Miami - that the Scots' form could desert him until Wimbledon.
Sky Sports pundit Mark Petchey entered the debate on his former pupil's plight on Monday's Sky Sports News show, while brother Jamie also offered his thoughts on his younger sibling's woes in one of Tuesday's dailies.
Both men angled towards the need for Murray to secure a full-time coach, with the world number five so far resisting finding a permanent successor to Miles Maclagan, who was relieved of his duties in the summer.
This week saw Ivan Lendl become a surprise candidate to mentor Murray, with the multiple-champion commentating on Britain's top ranked performer's nosedive in form at the scene of his latest humbling.
Speaking at Miami's Sony Ericsson Open, the eight-time grand slam winner suggested he would be interested in becoming the Dunblane right-hander's coach.
And what of the great Czech-turned-American citizen, who is considered one of the players of the Open Era - is he the right man for the job and, dare one tempt fate, can he help Murray realise his slam ambitions?
Petchey was posed a similar question and Murray's coach during his teenage days has somewhat quashed the notion that Lendl could be about to trot across the globe to aid Britain's finest.
Petchey claims Murray is less than keen to add Lendl to his entourage, whereas the 51-year-old would welcome working alongside a marquee name after recently setting up a tennis academy Stateside - is Petchey cynically suggesting the legend is trying to stage a publicity stunt?
Boris Becker, on the other hand, argues Murray should give serious consideration to having a player who held the world number one spot for 270 weeks in his corner.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph the German former major winner said: "Andy is in crisis now and he requires some crisis management. From what I saw of Ivan as a player, I believe that he would be good for Andy."
But Becker also had words of warning for Murray, citing Lendl as a player who maximised his ability to win with mental fortitude and self-discipline, two qualities not yet associated with the Briton.
"In his time, no one worked as hard as Ivan did. It is no secret that he was not as talented as, say, John McEnroe, but he made up for that with his incredible discipline, hard work and determination, and he would expect the same from Andy.
"Ivan was a true modern professional, one of the first players to work so hard on his diet and fitness, and he was so dedicated to his tennis and to winning, so I don't think he would allow any childish behaviour from Andy.
"I really wouldn't recommend, if they do end up working together, that Andy screams at Ivan, in the way he has maybe screamed at other coaches, as Ivan would not put up with that," concluded Becker.
"Working with Ivan would be a big wake-up call for Andy."
Murray's decision to part ways with two-time French Open runner-up and former world number two Corretja means the British number one effectively has Dani Vallverdu as his interim coach.
The Venezuelan, who met Murray while they were both juniors at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, has minimal experience of playing on the professional tour - not exactly grand slam winning credentials for a coach - although Rafael Nadal's uncle Tony Nadal has enjoyed huge success despite a similar lack of tour experience.
The likes of Darren Cahill and Bob Brett have also been mentioned but Lendl remains the stand-out choice to move Murray's game to the next level, especially after taking a similar path to the Scot in the early stages of his career.
The former world number one lost his first four major finals before going on to win all of the most-coveted trophies apart from Wimbledon, where he was twice a beaten finalist.
Murray, winless in three slam finals to date, must surely consider Lendl ahead of his next tournament; the Barcelona Open on April 18.
I, like Henman, fear anything but a spritely appointment could result in the Scot's form deteriorating further rather than improving to the stage where he can compete for majors once again.