This paper describes how Ivan Lendl helped Andy Murray take his performance from ‘good to great’ to showcase what can be achieved through mentoring. Please note we are not claiming any Morgan Clarke involvement in this case.
Andy Murray, Scotsman and professional tennis player with 6/7 years experience on the professional tour, independently wealthy, winner of a number of minor tournament and loser of four Grand Slam finals was seeking to appoint a new coach/mentor to enable his career to transition to the next level and enable him to become winner of a Grand Slam (Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, Australian Open) tournament.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is about supporting, challenging and encouraging people to develop themselves, improve their performance and become the person that they aspire to be. In the workplace it is an increasingly popular way of helping people to progress in their careers. It is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee). The mentor is often a more senior, experienced person who will provide guidance and help the mentee to find the right path towards success in their career. Helping to shape and design cost-effective Mentoring Schemes that really work for clients is a Morgan Clarke speciality.
Ivan Lendl’s Approach to Mentoring
“I didn’t come in to this job [coach to Andy Murray] to have a good time, I came here to help Andy win” said Ivan Lendl as he watched poker faced while his mentee Andy Murray became the first British Men’s Wimbledon finalist in 76 years! No celebrations for Lendl. Winning the tournament was the aim, not coming second.
As Boris Becker says, “Credit to Andy for having the courage to make such a high-profile step, because it would have been easy to settle for a more comfortable appointment – somebody who he could have bossed about and listened to when he felt like it. He (Lendl) won’t be happy with Andy standing at No.3 or No.4 in the world, he will be driving him on to No.1”.
Murray acknowledges that he couldn’t have won either the 2012 London Olympics gold medal, or the US Open or Wimbledon in 2013 without having Ivan Lendl as his coach and mentor. Becker once again, referring to Lendl says “you are talking about a guy who knows the difference between winning and losing a Grand Slam. Having that insight helped Andy Murray get over the hump in his career”.
So how long is a mentoring relationship? “Both Andy and I were saying ‘give us six to nine months’” the 53 year-old Lendl said. “Do the maths. You can help somebody, clearly, in a very short period of time. However, it takes longer than that to help more, for the progress to set in. You can not do that in one week, you can not do it in one month. I hope that we are not yet anywhere near where Andy can get”, said Lendl in 2012.
Murray, having emulated his mentor in winning a Grand Slam final at the fifth attempt, then used his triumph as a springboard to attain a new level of excellence – and many more major championships, including a second Wimbledon title.
What is Achieved
So what did Ivan Lendl actually do? When invited to describe the precise changes that he had engineered in his mentee’s game, Lendl stonewalled: “I’m not going to discuss this! Andy still has many matches to play against the top guys. If I tell you what we worked on, what we planned to work on, or even if I dissect any of his matches, I am giving away information. And as you saw in the final, the margins are so small that letting slip any detail that might help somebody else – if just for a couple of points in the match – would be suicidal”. “I just try to pass on to Andy what Tony Roche [Lendl’s own coach] passed on to me, and what I learned on my own”. “I didn’t come in to this job to have a good time, I came here to help Andy win”. The fact that Murray ended a 78 year drought to become the first British man to win the Men’s single title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry, I think it is fair to say ‘job done’ to his mentor.