If you would like to receive more of news and insights from our team sign up here.
We’re probably tempting fate, but as we write Andy Murray has just cruised into the semi-finals of the Australian Open. That he has reached the semi-final is of little surprise, but the manner in which he has done so without dropping a set is an indication of the new Murray who has emerged under the guidance of Ivan Lendl.
There has never been any doubt of Murray’s talent but at one stage tennis fans were wondering if yet again the UK was championed by a player who just couldn’t step up to that final winning mark. A new partnership with Lendl has changed all that with wins at the Olympics and US Open in 2012 and an impressive start to 2013.
Lendl’s influence has helped Murray to be more focused and aggressive on court, a fact which is perhaps best summed up by the T-shirt which Murray wore at his post-match press conference bearing the slogan “Prepare, Attack, Destroy”. This approach has reduced the number of easy points which Murray was prone to give away and has also helped him to retain his focus after winning a key point. By focussing more, Murray is also calmer on court and we are seeing touches of humour, something which would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
The secret of the Lendl/Murray partnership appears to be in the respect which the two men have for each other. Murray has put his training in Lendl’s hands, commenting on the way in which Lendl “has lots of ideas. If they don’t work he will move on to the next thing. That’s what he was like when he played. He tried different things, always wanted to learn.” Lendl has also changed the way in which Murray approaches matches, talking over the contest the night before. Murray says that this means he can “sleep on it and make sure I’m prepared, rather than not thinking about the match at all and maybe starting off a little bit slow.”
Talking things through, having respect, sharing ideas, engendering belief; the formula which is drawing the best out of Murray is one which many employers could borrow when trying to engage and draw the best out of their employees. As the American Football coach Homer Rice said “You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation.”