A lot had been made of the return of many legends as coaches in today’s game and the narrative for Sunday’s final was described by some as a showdown between bitter rivals John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, rather than the players they were coaching.
Lendl has done little to no press since he rejoined the Murray camp but when he spoke briefly with the BBC, he brought back memories of his rivalry with McEnroe with just one cheeky line.
He was asked if he had met McEnroe at Wimbledon during the tournament.
Lendl said he had seen him once in the locker room.
“Was it a long chat?” asked the reporter.
“I didn’t say we chatted,” Lendl quipped back donning his signature poker face.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray joked that Lendl might have a particular “ritual” during the Scot’s matches, and it’s not what you would expect.
Murray was asked about a moment during Sunday’s final where he appeared to be angry at something regarding his team. The reporter asked if it was because Lendl had left the stadium to go to the toilet.
“No, I wasn’t annoyed (by that). He’s done that after every single match here after two sets. I don’t know if it’s a ritual of his or not. Yeah, I was annoyed at something, but not that,” said Murray.
Reporter: “Can you tell us what you were annoyed at then?”
Murray, smiling: “No. It certainly wasn’t that.”
Another line of questioning sent the press conference room into laughter.
A journalist told Murray about a fan who on Tuesday came out of hospital after a month from having a crushed pelvis from being run over. On Wednesday he came straight here to see Murray play and he was at Wimbledon for the final as well.
“He had the last of his morphine to get himself through the day to watch you. What does it mean to you to have that sort of support? Anything you’d say to that man in particular?” said the journalist.
“Firstly, hopefully he’s okay, and get back on the morphine,” said Murray.
“No, I mean, that’s obviously, yeah, amazing. That’s the thing. Like hearing those stories now, I feel happy and proud.
“They’re all the things I’m trying not to hear during the tournament because there is a lot of pressure and stress. But the support that I had throughout the two weeks, especially today, was amazing support today. It really helps. It does make a difference when you’re out there, for sure.”
“Get back on the morphine” is likely to go down as the line of the tournament.
Murray described Raonic as one of the “harder workers” on tour and the Canadian certainly is.
Surrounded by a team that includes three coaches, Italian Riccardo Piatti, Spaniard Carlos Moya, and more recently, American John McEnroe, Raonic has shown that he is willing to do everything to reach his goals and this past fortnight, he came close.
“I’m going to work on everything. I’m not going to leave any stone unturned. I’m going to try to get myself back in this position, try to be better in this position,” said Raonic, who despite his weapon of a serve, could only hit eight aces past Murray and landed just 64 per cent of his first serves in.
“I’m going to try to get fitter, stronger. I’m going to try to improve my return game, improve my serve. I can improve there. Improve my efficiency coming forward. There’s not one thing that I’m not going to try to improve.”
Raonic has no regrets and is proud of the fighting spirit he showed to get passed Roger Federer in the semi-finals, a stage he had stumbled at twice in the past.
“I showed guts. I showed vigor. I got to carry that through to the next events,” said the 25-year-old.
Raonic said he knew that in a maiden grand slam final, he would never be able to play his best tennis “by any means” but he still did enough to make it competitive.
“I was keeping up with him. But then when it counted, I wasn’t able to get on top,” said Raonic.
McEnroe has spent five weeks consulting with Raonic’s team and it is unclear if the American legend will continue working with them in the future.
Raonic hopes to have McEnroe still involved in some capacity, while Piatti believes the seven-time grand slam champion is a much-needed addition to what is essentially a team that is as stacked as the Golden State Warriors.
“I hope John stays part of the team because it’s good for everybody. He has great experience, he loves this game, he loves to work in a team and everybody wants him,” said Piatti.
The Italian coach said Raonic’s serve was not great but it was tied to the fact that he was not doing well on return.
“Serving was not great but for me every time he’s serving depends on how he’s returning. If he’s more aggressive, it’s more easy for him to serve and to make points and to control better. Today was not great but anyway a lot of respect to Murray,” said Piatti.
“Andy is a very smart player because when Milos is staying in the back, he’s moving, when Milos comes, he comes, so he knows a lot about that kind of game.
“That’s his experience that Milos does not have. Milos needs to play many of that kind of matches to get experience. That’s why I think Milos needs also to speak a lot with John McEnroe and Carlos Moya to understand much better how to use his potential.”
Andy Murray joked during his trophy ceremony that Ivan Lendl “just got lucky” that the Scot captured the Wimbledon trophy only five weeks into their reunion.
But Murray’s mother, Judy, believes Lendl deserves a lot of credit, even though he’s only rejoined the team recently.
Lendl coached Murray to the US Open title in 2012 and the Wimbledon title in 2013 before the pair parted ways in early 2014 because the Czech-born American was no longer willing to commit to all those weeks of traveling.
Murray rehired Lendl last month following his French Open final defeat to Novak Djokovic and the world No2 has not lost a match since, winning 12 in a row on grass to win the Queen’s and Wimbledon titles.
“I think he’s been very focused on the job at hand across Wimbledon, with Ivan in his corner because the first time that he started to work with Ivan, the whole focus in the slam, you have to win seven matches in 13 days,” Judy said on Sunday.
“You do not get excited about winning round one, two, three, four, five, or six. You’re allowed to be excited about winning seven if you happen to get there. But with everything else it’s just another step on the way and as soon as the match is finished, it’s onto preparing for the next match.
“So the focus and the resetting of the focus if you start to lose it a little bit, is one of the things Ivan helped him with enormously with the first time he worked with him.
“And I think because he’d worked with him before it was easy for him to jump back in and just go ‘I know exactly what you have to do to win a slam and we’re going to be on it from the start’.
“And they have been, the whole team has been. So I think Ivan should take a lot of credit for what he brings to not just Andy but the rest of the team as well.”
Judy, who coached Murray when he was young, described her son as a man “on a mission” during his final against Milos Raonic on Sunday and said it was a match-up that suited him well.
“I think today was probably as good as I’ve seen him play,” admits Judy.
Murray is often criticised for getting angry on court and losing his temper. Judy says he’s always been “temperamental” during matches but that it is something that does not necessarily need to be eradicated from his behaviour.
“When he was very young, because he’s a perfectionist and he always wanted to win, he was very temperamental as a young player, very temperamental,” she says.
“But I actually thought going to Spain helped him a lot with that because he was a small fish in a big pond, he was playing with older players and they just kind of deflected it all. I think that helped him a lot.
“But it’s part of who he is, and you wouldn’t want to change it, you just have to temper it.”