A few gentle enquiries from reporters are nothing compared to the barrage of questions the 52-year-old fields on a daily basis from his attentive and inquisitive young pupil.
A thirst for tennis knowledge is one of the secrets of Andy Murray's success and, judging by the Olympic champion's progress since hiring the Czech tennis great at the turn of the year, so far Lendl has come up with all the right answers.
"Andy asks a lot of questions," Lendl said. "Sometimes he surprises me, because some come out of nowhere. So he has been thinking about it. The more questions he asks, the happier I am. It shows he wants to learn. I don't like to push things on him unless I have to, as I do at times."
"He can pluck what he wants from this closet, that closet or that closet," the eight-time grand-slam title winner added. "I really don't know at times which is the best one for him – or whether any of them are right. Only he knows what he is struggling with inside, at times, and what he needs to know."
Lendl is no stranger to Flushing Meadows on men's final day. For eight successive years from 1982 to 1989, the Czech played in the championship match at the US Open, winning three times in a row between 1985 and 1987, and losing the others. Returning there as coach would be a different matter. In addition to the sundry members of Team Murray, Lendl admitted yesterday he still taps into the knowledge of his own mentor, Tony Roche, from time to time.
"I haven't coached on this level before, as you know," said Lendl. "However, I think I had one of the best coaches of all time working with me. I learned a lot from Rochey. I just try to pass on to Andy what he passed on to me, and what I learned on my own.
"But a US Open final is a lot of fun. You feel nervous, obviously. If you didn't there would be something wrong. You have to enjoy being nervous because it's a privilege. You work very hard to get there and so not to be nervous, or to be afraid of being nervous, is a mistake. Once you start enjoying it that's when you can play well."
A lot has been said about the parallels between his own career and that of the Scot. They are the only two men to have lost their first four grand-slam finals, and replace the likes of Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg with the names of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, and Lendl is reliving his career through his charge. His own epiphany came from an unlikely position, two sets down against John McEnroe at Roland Garros in 1984. He won 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5.
"I was just hoping that some miracle would happen after the first two sets because I wasn't even in the match," Lendl said. "John was wiping the court with me, playing serve and volley. But the miracle did happen. He lost his focus in the third set and after that I felt conditioning was a big part of it. And I felt the favourite after the third set. I felt it was my match and I was actually kind of annoyed it was getting so close."
"Andy and I are very similar in that," he added. "If you look at his losses he lost to Federer (three times) and Djokovic. We have spoken about that and I'm not going to rehash it. The Djokovic loss was thought to be a bad one but the year he had afterwards it turned out to be not so bad. The same thing for me. I lost to Borg and I lost to Connors twice. With Mats [Wilander] on grass in Australia I didn't really know how to play. And I was not in my prime and still learning."
There are one or two differences. Lendl never played in the Olympics, as he was completing his transition from being a Czech national to a US citizen. He denies he secretly covets the Scot's gold medal.
"I don't regret it because I didn't have a country to play for," Lendl said. "I was not a US citizen and I was not ready to play for Czechoslovakia. But at that time, nobody knew the Olympics would become that big. Olympics are harder to win than any grand slam right now. In the public's mind, it may not be right up there with the grand slams, but in the players' minds they are. Realistically, he had two cracks at it; at 25 and 29.
"Or look at Roger – he has not won the Olympics and will be 35 next time. I am not going to speak for him and say that he will regret not winning Olympics, that would be wrong, but it will be very hard for him to win it at 35. In my mind, myself and Andy both lost our first four finals and won the fifth one."
Then there is the Scot's love of Manhattan, while Lendl would rather live quietly at his home in the suburbs near Westchester.
"I was at home last night and I have not been to Manhattan since March," Lendl said. "It's too busy for me. I like it quiet. I only go there when I have to but I will be happy to go there this weekend to celebrate. Other than that, forget it."
Ivan Lendl is still learning his trade but is proving an effective foil for Andy Murray, writes Stewart Fisher
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