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Lendl could be missing piece for Murray's grand slam

Lendl, the new coach of Britain's Murray, watches his match against Dolgopolov of Ukraine at the Brisbane International tennis tournament
Lendl, the new coach of Britain's Murray, watches his match against Dolgopolov of Ukraine at the Brisbane International tennis tournament

(Reuters) - Ivan Lendl could be the missing piece to Andy Murray's grand slam puzzle, says the Briton's former-coach Darren Cahill, who helped pick his new mentor.

If anyone can relate to the Murray's Grand Slam struggles it is Lendl, who came up short in his first four finals before going on to win eight titles.

Murray returns to Melbourne Park to prepare for the season's first grand slam looking to make a breakthrough having battled his way to three finals, including the last two Australian Opens, but has so far been unable to clinch the title.

Cahill, a respected tennis commentator and former coach of world number ones Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, worked with Murray on a part-time basis last year and was keen to find the right man join the Scot's team.

"I do think it is going to be a great association," Cahill said during a conference call Wednesday. "He (Lendl) has been incredibly fastidious with everything he has done with Andy and I think a lot of that is going to wear off on Andy.

"He looks like he is taking this coaching job the very same way he took his playing career and that is to turn over every stone to be as good as he can.

"He was probably the most professional player back in his era and I am assuming he is going to take that very same attitude into his coaching career."

While still in the very early stages, the partnership has produced some positive early returns with Murray collecting his 22nd career title at the Brisbane International.

Top players have not always been great coaches and Cahill said that Murray had initially been concerned about Lendl's commitment, though after a meeting between the three men in Florida, Murray heard enough to be convinced to work with the former-world number one.

"I really encouraged Andy to consider Ivan," said Cahill.

"It's not easy, when players look at these former champions, to get their heads around the fact that they are going to fully commit to the coaching job because to be quite frank a lot of these guys they can go off and in two or three days make the type of money that they can make from a full year of coaching.

"So it is unusual that a Lendl, a Connors or a McEnroe or any of these legends of the game would actually commit to somebody else's career.

"We felt like Ivan ticked a lot of boxes in what Andy was looking for."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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