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Absence of Lendl not a factor for Murray

IT WOULD have been intriguing to have been a fly on the wall in Ivan Lendl's living room as Andy Murray struggled to victory over Jiri Vesely at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Monday.

The Scot's coach is watching from afar on television this week, after opting for the third successive year not to travel to the Californian desert.

What he has seen so far from his home in Connecticut will not have made for pleasant viewing, with Murray dropping the opening set both against Vesely and in the previous round against Lukas Rosol.

It has caused some to ponder whether Murray performs better with Lendl sitting courtside but, ahead of his fourth-round match with Milos Raonic today, the world No.6 insisted that is not the case.

"I don't think having Ivan here would have helped me play better," Murray said. "I made the final here before and I have played well at tournaments when Ivan hasn't been around.

"The way I played [against Vesely], I just didn't have any rhythm on the court and I was missing balls. That isn't down to anyone that's sitting in the stands, that's just down to me [not] executing the shots properly."

Lendl will reunite with Murray in Miami next week for the first time since January's Australian Open. For now he remains in close contact with the Murray camp via telephone, speaking to Dani Vallverdu, his assistant, on a regular basis.

"I spoke to [Lendl] for about half an hour two days before the tournament started" Murray said. "Normally during the tournaments I don't speak to him loads. He and Dani will communicate most of the time.

"There are things we may discuss after Miami that I wouldn't discuss with him right now or after Indian Wells because there isn't always time to work on things in the space of four or five days. When you have a little bit longer you can discuss things you want to practise or if there's stuff you want to change."

The exit of Rafael Nadal, who was knocked out in the third round by Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov, is a bonus for Murray, with the Spaniard a potential quarter-final opponent, but Murray knows he will have to improve vastly against big-serving Raonic if he is to have a chance of reaching the last eight.

"I think in his first match he served 30-something aces," Murray said. "That's the challenge basically, to get a serve back. When you do that, then can you make things happen. When I've played him I have done fine returning his serve but here it's just a bit different because of the conditions."

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