Andy Murray hopes Ivan Lendl’s return can inspire him for more heroism at Wimbledon.
The two-time champion gave a positive assessment of his form and condition after facing a race against time to recover from an abdominal strain suffered during the ATP Tournament final in Stuttgart two weeks ago.
Murray showed his prowess on grass again to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios and faced last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini before picking up the injury.
He was forced to withdraw from cinch championships at the Queen’s Club and was unable to train at full throttle earlier this week, but has made encouraging progress since.
“It went well,” Murray said. “I was able to gradually progress in my training this week and I was able to play a few sets, a lot of points. The last few days have been good.
“I think I showed a few weeks ago that there was still good tennis in me. I beat a guy in the top five in the world, I was neck and neck with Berrettini, who is one of the best grass-court players in the world, before the injury.
“I also played well against Kyrgios. The first set was at a good level. And I’m doing pretty well in practices. I know the tennis is in there, I just need to bring it out during the event now.
“Obviously having Ivan in my team helps. We have had a lot of success in the past. We know each other well. He still believes in me. There are not many coaches, people there, who have done in this last period, and he did. It definitely helps me.
Murray announced in March that Lendl had agreed to return for a third term as coach after guiding him to his three Grand Slam titles before the Scot experienced his long-term hip problems.
Murray managed to play consistently over the past year but struggled to find the tennis and results he still felt capable of.
He parted ways with longtime manager Jamie Delgado – who originally worked alongside Lendl – at the end of last season and admitted he struggled to find a replacement who shared his optimism for the future.
The 35-year-old said: “For the most part when I had conversations with coaches, the potential to work with someone, it had happened most of the time and worked out, whereas this time here, I was refused by many coaches.
“It was obviously difficult to deal with because there are obviously good coaches there. I don’t know how many are top coaches that you might really want to work with if you’re trying to win the big events.
“It’s also why I’m grateful that Ivan has come back to work with me and is helping me try to achieve what I want to achieve.”
Murray, who hasn’t made it past the third round of a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2017, enters the tournament as Britain’s number three behind Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans.
Norrie built on his superb 2021 season this year, winning two more ATP titles in Delray Beach and Lyon and is ranked ninth in the men’s table.
What he has yet to achieve is a deep run at a Grand Slam, with his third-round loss to Karen Khachanov at Roland Garros the fifth time in the last eight majors he fell in the last 32.
“It’s a big goal for me,” said the 26-year-old. “Obviously I would like to tick that box. Played a third round a few times now. Obviously this helps with seeding and having a slightly better draw.
“I think if I keep doing the same thing I think I still have a lot of improvements and a lot of upside in my game. I’m looking forward to this challenge. There are a lot of good guys in the board, so it’s not going to be easy at all.