Ivan Lendl believes his former mentee Andy Murray has ‘earned the right’ to play as long as he likes and disagreed with Mats Wilander’s assessment that he is ‘taking wildcards from young players’.
Lendl, the former world No. 1 from the Czech Republic, had two stints as Murray’s coach, guiding the Scot to three Grand Slam titles, two Olympic Golds and to the top of the ATP rankings.
Since that burst to the top of the ATP leaderboard in 2016, Murray has struggled physically and has gone under the knife twice to tackle hip problems.
After a disappointing defeat to Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the French Open, Wilander took aim at Murray.
‘I think Andy Murray needs to stop thinking of himself and start thinking about who he was,’ said Wilander. ‘Does he have a right to be out there taking wildcards from the young players?’
Murray saw the comments from the seven-time Grand Slam champion from Sweden and responded on Instagram with a thumbs up emoji accompanied by the words: ‘Love this.’
‘What happened at the French I think was not normal. Something else happened and I don’t know what it was, but I think Andy has the passion. I think Andy is trying to prove that he can come back after serious hip surgery. And all I can say is we all should be pulling for him and wish him the best.’
Wilander added: ‘I’m pulling for him 100%. He has deserved it. I think the interesting question is passion. Does Andy have the passion? And I think he does. I am 100% sure. But are you supposed to show it every time you go on court?
‘When I got to 30, 31, 32, the only time I really felt like I had a chance to do anything was at the Grand Slams. And even back then, because it was five sets, and you felt I know how to do this. It was tough though, every day to try and get up and not to practice. That was easy, but to feel that passion that you need to make tactical decisions.’
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