Most tennis coaches feel the need to constantly be out there on the road, but not, it seems, Ivan Lendl.Instead, he has been showing in his partnership with Andy Murray how a long-distance player-coach relationship can work; the Britons dislodging of Novak Djokovic in Mondays rankings, which made him the first British man to hold the world No.1 singles spot, very solid evidence.In the five months since returning as Murrays mentor in June, Lendl has attended just three tournaments -- the pre-Wimbledon event at Queens Club, Wimbledon itself and the US Open.They will be reunited in London for the season-ending tournament, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which begins on Sunday, though that will be Lendls first appearance courtside for a couple of months. Lendl and Murray do not speak often on the phone, either.Yet, even from afar, during those absences from the tour, Lendl has had a significant impact on Murrays psyche, with the Scot playing the best tennis of his life over the last five months, winning a second Wimbledon and defending his Olympic title.Since Ivan returned, the changes have been more mental than technical, Paul Annacone, who coached Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, told ESPN.Ivan helps Andy to stabilise his emotions more -- this allows Andy to think more clearly and, I believe, helps with energy conservation. The emotional highs and lows drain you. Even if you dont feel it, they do. Ivan can help Andy understand this, which helps him execute his game plan.Lendl has never enjoyed airports or the touring life. But Annacone said Lendl has had an impact with small pieces of assistance at the most important moments, that is why it shows so much -- this happens at key moments and thats why Ivan can have huge impact.According to Annacone, Lendl couldnt have helped Murray without the assistance of Jamie Delgado, who has accompanied the Wimbledon champion to every tournament in the past five months. The British coach speaks to Lendl on the phone on a fairly regular basis, and then passes on any instruction and encouragement to Murray.That is how Murray prefers it -- only hearing directly from the coach who is there with him, though he does exchange messages with Lendl.Jamie has done a great job and should receive a huge amount of credit -- his contribution on a daily basis is invaluable, said Annacone.Not only is he a guiding light, he is the radar, antenna and evaluator of all things in the environment -- this is what enables Ivan to be effective. Jamie has a very difficult job and manages it extremely well.Ivan probably had more impact on Andy the first time they worked together. That initial breakthrough is toughest. Now it is different, but still so tough to win majors, and even tougher to continue to win majors.Since Lendls return in the summer, Stan Wawrinkas coach, Magnus Norman, has observed how Murrays team has operated.For sure Lendl has been a massive impact there, but at the same time you also have to credit the whole team -- Delgado is there every single day, Norman said. They seem to have a great chemistry and its clearly paying off.Andy has played well for the whole year, this year and last year. He reached the final of the Australian Open in January [several months before Lendls return]. Our team and me personally have the deepest respect for Andy and the team around him. Its tough to find a more dedicated athlete.What strikes me are the physical and mental strengths that really separate him and Novak from the rest of the field in 2016. They play in a league of their own in that department. Darius Leonard Jersey
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