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Murray emotional over Lendl split

Reading Andy Murray's quotes in the wake of his split with Ivan Lendl, it would have been easy to mistake him for a heartbroken lover rather than a tennis professional.

"That night (of the split) it was tough," Murray said in an emotional interview with the Telegraph last week. "He was a big part of my life. And the next couple of days on the court were not particularly fun. I was gutted but I still think the guy is great. It's not like anything has changed there."

It is a feeling of helplessness that many will relate to. Not wanting to lose something but being unable to stop it from slipping away.

In witnessing Lendl leave his support team, Murray has lost the man who many consider the key reason behind his development into a two-time grand slam winner. And someone like that will not be easy to replace.

In sport, coaching splits are often inevitable. Few were surprised when Andy Flower left the England cricket job after the Ashes debacle, likewise when Steve McClaren was kicked out by England. But the Lendl-Murray separation was harder to predict.

A mutual parting of the ways was reported at the time, but as the days have gone by it appears that Lendl may have been seduced by pursuing a career on the senior's tour and, as good as life may be travelling around the world with Murray, he cannot do that from the coaching box.

So Murray is now left wondering what to do next. In the short-term he has nothing to think about other than the ongoing Sony Open in Miami and a Davis Cup tie against Italy next month, where coaching needs will be fulfilled by former mentor Leon Smith.

Beyond that, though, he has a dilemma. Before Lendl came along, Murray swapped coaches with the regularity of a Serie A football club. The likes of Brad Gilbert, Miles Maclagan and Mark Petchey all tried but ultimately failed to turn him from a top-four player to a grand slam winner.

Lendl, a man steeped in big-time failure before ultimately winning eight slams. He knew what it was like to cry after failing in a major final and then shed a tear after winning one. He 'got' Murray.

It was often said that the pair were a perfect fit, not just because of their tennis trajectories but because of their personalities. Both have been called miserable and moody and, in the wake of Murray's Wimbledon win, much was made of whether or not Lendl would crack a smile. He did.

However, most can testify to the fact that something that appears such a good fit can end in the blink of an eye, and Murray must now join that group.

His form has yet to get back to where it was before his back surgery in the autumn of 2013, but that will not pass as a reason for much longer.

He is likely to know he is at a crossroads and it is not unfair to suggest this could be his biggest decision. Find someone who can make him tick like Lendl did and more majors could await.

He could of course win plenty with a different kind of coach, but history dictates that he could well fall short.

He knows it will not be easy to find someone, adding in the Telegraph: "It's very hard to replace someone like Ivan. Often with the ex-players it doesn't tend to be a long-term thing.

"There aren't that many guys out there who are willing to commit the time, that are willing to travel and make sacrifices.

"I will definitely sit down after the Davis Cup and give it a lot of thought. Because these decisions are very important, you don't want it to be a two-or-three-month thing, you want it to be there for the medium to long term."

As a fan of British tennis it is to be hoped that Murray can find someone to help him get his mojo back.

To see him at the peak of his powers during his time with Lendl was a thrilling experience, with the Olympic, US Open and Wimbledon wins memories to treasure for a long time.

Tennis in Great Britain needs Murray at the top of the sport and back as a real presence amongst the big four on a regular basis and, whether it is an unknown or known coach, or a mixture of his current team, it seems imperative he can find someone to make him feel as special as Lendl clearly did.

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