Why Ivan Lendl? Novak Djokovic coach Boris Becker surprised by Andy Murray decision

Former Wimbledon champion says Jamie Delgado was already having a positive impact on the Scotsman.

Boris Becker has been a successful coach to Novak Djokovic. Richard Heathcote / Getty Images
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LONDON // Boris Becker, coach to world No 1 Novak Djokovic, concedes he was surprised to see Andy Murray reunited with Ivan Lendl.

Murray persuaded United States-based Lendl to fly to London this week to start a second spell as the world No 2’s coach two years after they parted ways.

Murray, 29, won Wimbledon, the US Open and an Olympic gold medal in his previous stint with Lendl and their reunion has been tipped to help Murray emulate that memorable period.

Since splitting with Lendl, Murray, who moved into the Queen’s Club semi-finals on Friday, has lost 13 of 15 meetings with Djokovic, including this year’s Australian and French Open finals.

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But former Wimbledon champion Becker claimed he did not expect to see the pair get back together because Jamie Delgado, another member of the Scot’s coaching team, had been doing a solid job.

“I was a bit surprised, I must say,” Becker told the BBC. “I think [Jamie] Delgado did a good job. Andy’s never played better on clay.”

Becker’s collaboration with Djokovic has elevated the Serb from merely a contender for the top prizes to the sport’s preeminent force.

He completed his career Grand Slam by beating Murray at Roland Garros earlier this month and now holds all four of the major titles.

The success of German legend Becker and Lendl as coaches has convinced other former players to return to the game as advisors to current stars.

American great John McEnroe recently joined forces with Canada’s Milos Raonic and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek is helping Stan Wawrinka during the grass-court season, while Michael Chang coaches Kei Nishikori.

“I think it’s great for the game that stars like Ivan and John are back in it, and it’s good for the quality of the tennis,” Becker said.

“Let’s face it we do understand the game probably more than most, so everybody benefits.”

Murray off-song at Queen’s

Meanwhile, Murray survived a stern test from Kyle Edmund to reach the Queen’s Club semi-finals with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over the British wildcard on Friday.

He will play Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the last four on Saturday in a rematch of the 2013 final at the Wimbledon warm-up event in west London.

But the world No 2 had to dig deep to remain on course for a record fifth Queen’s crown after a lacklustre first two sets against an inexperienced 21-year-old ranked 83 places below him.

Canadian third seed Milos Raonic will face Australia’s Bernard Tomic in the other semi-final.

Kerber beaten at Aegon Classic

Angelique Kerber, who set her heart on defending the first grass court title of her career at the Aegon Classic, came agonisingly close to reaching the semi-finals before losing on Friday to one of the tournament’s many surprises, Carla Suarez Navarro.

The world No 15 from Spain was brought up on clay courts, but she coped resiliently and skillfully with extra pace and low bounce of the lush grass, in a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 victory in the best match of a rain-stricken tournament so far.

Three times Kerber came within two points of victory in a long tenth game of the final set, but could force the issue no further against an opponent who appeared to have just a little bit extra physically.

This was certainly one of the crucial qualities on a day in which both players had to complete unfinished overnight matches, both of which went to three sets.

That made it an even tougher setback for Kerber, whose successes since her grand slam title sensation in Australia at the start of the year have been disappointingly few.

“I may not have defended my title here, but I played well, and I will go to Wimbledon [starting in 10 days’ time] with confidence,” Kerber claimed, nevertheless looking upset.


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