Why Lendl is the man to save Murray


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He's young, he's Scottish, he's brilliant, and he's just beaten
the world's best players at a massive tournament in Florida

How Andy Murray would love to swap places with golfer and compatriot
Martin Laird this morning.

Instead, Britain's top tennis player will have woken up
wondering how his seemingly limitless potential has turned
into a brutal headache sustained in a collision with tennis's glass ceiling.

Consecutive defeats at the hands of lower-ranked opponents
sting any tennis player. But Murray's latest by Alex Bogomolov Jr will really
hurt: this is no up-and-coming star whose lowly ranking belies their talent,
but a player so relentlessly average that he is regularly teased in this very blog.

A couple of bad matches don't make Andy Murray a bad player,
of course, but it does suggest that the Scot is having a massive problem
dealing with the real prospect of never becoming the very top-level player it was always expected he would do.

For ordinary people, the experience of discovering that you
aren't the best in the world at something is entirely commonplace. Tramlines,
for example, once dreamt of penning exquisite and evocative novels that would
win Nobel Prizes; instead, it is scratching a living blogging about tennis in a
breezeblock shed on a Heathrow industrial estate.

The shock for Murray, however, must be far worse: he had been
tipped to hit the top for several years, identified as one of the likeliest pretenders
to the throne that Roger Federer was meant to have vacated fully by now and Nadal didn't have the all-surface game to grab. But Nadal found the key to success on faster surfaces; Novak
Djokovic found an astonishing new dimension to his tennis; Federer found that, despite his encroaching age, he can still beat anyone on his day; and Murray found he'd become an afterthought.

Little wonder, then, that in Murray's darkest moment he is to
turn to one of the few men on the planet who can give him genuine hope: Ivan

The Czech legend was so emotionless on court that he made the
average microwave look charismatic, but off court he is reputed to be an
intelligent and engaging man - much as those close to Murray claim of the Scot.

A veteran of four Grand Slam final defeats before he lifted
a big one, Lendl's career lifted off after he broke his duck at the French Open
in 1984. He soon ascended to the world number one spot, and went on to win a total
of eight Grand Slams as well as setting a record of making at least one Grand
Slam final for an astonishing 11 consecutive seasons.

Not bad for a guy who'd been widely written off as a serial choker and not quite good enough to mix it up with the acknowledged superstars of the

Sound familiar? If anyone can give Murray the tools to break through that glass ceiling, it's Lendl. And if he did, tennis would be all the richer for having a cool quartet instead of a terrific trio.

Tramlines awaits with bated breath. 

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No updates this week due to the fortnight-long tournament in
Florida - but some genuine news in any case as, ironically, Murray is set to return
to the world number four spot when the new, post-Miami rankings are released.

Last year Robin Soderling breezed into the semi-finals in
Miami, but this year he has shared the Scot's fate of an ignominious early exit
and will lose an oversized racquet bag's worth of points. Murray's flop last year, meanwhile, means he loses barely any points and will vault back into the top four. 

 - - - -


Two tweets tied for the top this week - one from Serena
Williams and the other from British number eight Mel South. Both made Tramlines
feel slightly queasy along with its usual Monday morning bucket of caffeine.

Serena Williams: "I know its not on purpose but
#Ihatewhen people spit when they talk. Someone just did and it got in my eye!!

Melanie South: "A bird has just shat inside my car with
my window open!!! It's not my day"

 - - - -


Massive congratulations to A-Bog (US), aka Alex Bogomolov Jr,
who beat Andy Murray en route to the last 16 in Miami.

Meanwhile, A-Bog (GB), aka Alex Bogdanovic, lost in qualifying
for the Challenger event in Bath to world number 958 Andrew Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is British, yet not even in Britain's top 25.

What can Tramlines say? This is becoming a mismatch. With one
A-Bog about to enter the world's top 100 and the other about to fall out of the top
400 - and still dropping like a stone - it is on the verge of declaring final victory to the American.

Feel free to leave your suggestions for a suitable replacement head-to-head
nugget in the usual space down below.

Standings: A-Bog (US)
24-13 A-Bog (GB). Season standings: 4-1.

 - - - -

W., alias enze88er

Billie Jean
King nicely explains the appeal of tennis: "violent action taking place in
an atmosphere of total tranquility". No other sport has this balance of naked
aggression and civilised veneer.

can maim rivals, but how do tennis players express disdain for theirs? Actually,
they have a more deadly weapon: the post-match interview.

Failing to compliment
the rival, for example, is worse than a boot in the cruciate ligaments. What
then did Nole intend by calling Rafa the Greatest Of All Time... after thrashing both
him and Roger back to back? Did he knobble both Roger's (psychological)

 - - - -


Good work from martins.ricardo18, who wins our weekly
competition and thereby earns the right to see his 100-word rant appear in next
week's 'Reader's Corner' by emailing

He came up with this little beauty for our picture of Roger Federer:
Gillete - The (third) best a man can


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