ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The tall, barrel-chested man in the dead of night sun shades and blue hat provided soothing, supportive phrases to his two teenage pupils whereas hitting them tennis balls out of a basket.
Under an azure sky interrupted solely sometimes by wisps of white cotton clouds, the person operating the follow session on Court 16 on the U.S. Tennis Association National Campus seemed and sounded very very similar to any 50-something coach on any public courtroom.
“OK, Martin,” Ivan Lendl – sure, THAT Ivan Lendl – inspired, “try do better than last time.” Sending photographs to the gamers’ forehands, Lendl stated: “OK, Emilio, see if you can match the previous one. It was fantastic.”
In this Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 photograph, Ivan Lendl works with younger tennis gamers he coaches on the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. For a few years now, in a really underneath-the-radar type of means, Lendl has been an element-time scout and instructor for the USTA, figuring out _ after which working with _ American youngsters seen as attainable up-and-comers. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
This serene scene on a December day provided a glimpse at Lendl’s present position in a sport the place he has been a big determine, on and off, for many years . In a really beneath-the-radar kind of means, he has been an element-time scout and instructor for the USTA, figuring out and dealing with Americans seen as attainable up-and-comers.
With the Australian Open underneath method this week, 14 years and 56 Grand Slam tournaments have come and gone since a person from the United States gained a serious singles title (the phrases “Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open” have been seared into the reminiscences of even probably the most informal tennis followers). By Thursday’s shut of the second spherical in Melbourne, the three highest-ranked American males already have been eradicated.
Lendl hopes his contributions may help finish the drought.
“What is it going to take to change that? Good, consistent work,” he stated in an interview with The Associated Press. “The USTA is on a good path.”
The Lendl on show as he labored with Martin Damm, 14, and Emilio Nava, 16, provided a decidedly totally different model of the person the world thought it knew throughout higher-publicized phases in tennis.
As a participant within the 1980s and ’90s, Lendl was an eight-time Grand Slam champion who spent 270 weeks ranked No. 1. He was recognized for highly effective groundstrokes, sawdust in his pockets, an unfulfilled quest to win Wimbledon and a supposedly robotic demeanor that led Sports Illustrated to label him “The Champion That Nobody Cares About” on a 1986 cowl.
During two stints within the 2010s, up till a cut up introduced in November, he was the straight-confronted coach of Andy Murray. Lendl helped Murray win three main titles, together with the primary for a British man on the All England Club in 77 years.
With Murray, the main target was on technique. With Lendl’s present proteges, it is about method.
“We demand a lot of intensity, a lot of discipline and a lot of hard work,” Lendl stated. “And not everybody can handle that.”
The man in control of the USTA’s participant improvement program, Martin Blackman, finds Lendl’s 50 or 60 days per yr invaluable.
“He kind of looks backward and forward in terms of what’s happening at the top of the men’s game today,” Blackman stated. “It’s almost like coaching education whenever he’s here, because they get to pick his brain.”
During a Q-and-A session with about 20 gamers and coaches, for instance, highlights of Lendl’s victory over John McEnroe within the 1984 French Open remaining have been proven. Lendl then mentioned modifications he made earlier than profitable that first main trophy – new fitness training; new coach – and his ideas throughout that match.
“It was priceless,” Blackman stated.
So Lendl clearly is making an impression, even when his college students do not essentially know all the things there’s to find out about their instructor.
Nava and Damm take a look at YouTube movies to see Lendl in his prime.
“Being on the court with him means everything to me,” stated Damm, a 6-foot-6 lefty whose father is a former skilled participant who, like Lendl, was born within the nation then often known as Czechoslovakia.
Lendl invited Damm to work on the USTA facility after watching him at a junior event.
“When I was younger, I enjoyed when older players were helping me. I thought it was always tremendous to get involved on the court with them, either practicing or them giving us advice,” Lendl stated. “And I thought it would be good if we could do that here as well.”
More AP tennis protection: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis
In this Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, photograph, Ivan Lendl works with younger tennis gamers he coaches on the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. Lendl clearly is making an impression, even when his college students do not essentially know all the things there’s to find out about their instructor’s resume.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
In this Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, photograph, Martin Damm, from the Czech Republic, who competes on the Junior Boys worldwide tennis tour, practices at theUSTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
In this Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, photograph, Ivan Lendl works with younger tennis gamers he coaches on the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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