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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Murray splits with coach Lendl; Shvedova-Serena showdown

Sports Shorts: Murray splits with coach Lendl; Shvedova-Serena showdown

Last updated on: March 19, 2014 22:01 IST

Sports Shorts: Murray splits with coach Lendl

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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has split with coach Ivan Lendl after two years.

A statement on the British world No 6's Twitter page on Wednesday said they mutually agreed to end a partnership that saw Murray win two Grand Slam titles and a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

"I'm eternally grateful to Ivan for all his hard work over the past two years, the most successful of my career so far," said Murray, who became Britain's first Wimbledon men's singles champion for 77 years when he beat Novak Djokovic last year.

"As a team, we've learned a lot and it will definitely be of benefit in the future. I'll take some time with the team to consider the next steps and how we progress from here."

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Image: Andy Murray talks to his coach Ivan Lendl during a training session
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Since winning Wimbledon last year Murray's form has dipped

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Since winning Wimbledon last year Murray's form has dipped, not helped by having back surgery towards the end of 2013.

He is yet to win a title this year and was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open by Roger Federer.

Lendl was not at Indian Wells last week where Murray again suffered an early exit, losing to Canada's Milos Raonic.

Eight-times Grand Slam champion Lendl, 54, said he wanted to concentrate on his own projects.

"Working with Andy over the last two years has been a fantastic experience for me," Lendl said.

"He is a first class guy. Having helped him achieve his goal of winning major titles, I feel like it is time for me to concentrate on some of my own projects moving forward including playing more events around the world which I am really enjoying.

"I will always be in Andy's corner and wish him nothing but great success as he too goes into a new phase of his career."

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Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for adidas

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Lendl helped Murray to US Open title

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Until Murray teamed up with Lendl he had fallen tantalisingly short of winning a Grand Slam title.

He lost his first four grand slam finals to share a professional era record with Lendl but finally got over the line at the US Open in 2012 when he prevailed in an epic tussle against Djokovic to become Britain's first male Grand Slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936 years earlier.

Murray lost to Djokovic in the 2013 Australian Open final and, after skipping the French Open through injury, he thrilled the home fans with his run to the Wimbledon title.

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Image: Andy Murray with the US Open trophy
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Rijkaard unlikely to return to coaching

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Former Dutch national team and Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard says he is no longer interested in being a manager.

"As things stand now I won't become a head coach again. I have no desire to make a comeback," he told the Dutch magazine Voetbal International in an interview published on Wednesday.

The 51-year-old has been without a position for the last 14 months after being fired from his last job with Saudi Arabia in January last year.

"I'm grateful for everything I have achieved in football but now I'd rather do other things, go and watch games and enjoy discussing them afterwards. I have no desire to be 60-year's-old and standing on the side of the pitch," he added.

Rijkaard had an imposing playing career at both club and national team level before being fast-tracked into the coaching ranks, appointed Dutch national coach in 1998.

His fortunes on the bench in subsequent years produced contrasting results as he was the coach when the Netherlands' oldest professional club Sparta Rotterdam suffered relegation for the first time in their history in 2002 but four years later he won the Champions League with Barcelona.

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Image: Frank Rijkaard
Photographs: Mohammed Dabbous/Reuters

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Shvedova sets up Miami clash with Serena

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Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova beat former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-2 at the Sony Open on Tuesday, earning a second-round meeting with World No 1 Serena Williams.

The World No 59 broke the Italian to take the first set and broke again to move ahead 3-1 in the second before recording one final break to close out the contest and collect her first win in four meetings with the 2010 French Open champion.

Shvedova, whose only career WTA Tour win came seven years ago in Bangalore, has lost all three meetings with Williams but did push the six-times Miami champion to three sets during a round of 16 meeting at the 2012 Wimbledon.

The upset of the day went to 20-year-old Monica Puig who dispatched 36th ranked Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, a four-time winner on the WTA Tour, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7).

It was the second match win of the season for the 58th ranked Puerto Rican.

The tournament began on a down note for the home contingent with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands falling 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.

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Image: Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan returns a forehand
Photographs: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

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Contador signals his return to top form; wins Tirreno-Adriatico

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Alberto Contador signalled his return to top form by winning the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in impressive fashion on Tuesday, setting up a mouth-watering clash with Tour de France champion Chris Froome for next week's Tour of Catalunya.

Spain's Contador, who had not won a stage race since the 2012 Tour of Spain on his return from a doping ban, outwitted his rivals to claim two consecutive stage victories on Saturday and Sunday.

Movistar rider Adriano Malori won Tuesday's final individual time trial ahead of Swiss Fabian Cancellara and Britain's Bradley Wiggins, but Contador kept the blue jersey after finishing 29th in the 9.1-km effort against the clock.

Briton Froome, who had no rival on last year's Tour and finished the three-week race over six minutes ahead of fourth-placed Contador, sat out of Tirreo-Adriatico because of back pains.

Both riders, however, will start the Tour of Catalunya next week, three and a half months before the Tour de France's Grand Depart in Leeds.

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Image: Alberto Contador of Spain and Team Saxo-Tinkoff reacts as he crosses the finish line
Photographs: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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FIA backs meter maker in Red Bull flow row

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Formula One's governing body is satisfied with the fuel flow meter whose accuracy was questioned by champions Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the makers said on Tuesday.

Gill Sensors said in a statement that the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) had provided it with "positive feedback" since Sunday's controversial race in Melbourne.

The company added that the FIA had stated that the meters, which the governing body provides to all teams, met the specification for accuracy.

Red Bull have appealed against their Australian driver's disqualification, arguing that the flow meter was inaccurate and unreliable, with the matter now set to be resolved by lawyers in an FIA court.

The first big technical controversy of the year is unlikely to be the only one as the sport grapples with complex regulations governing the new V6 turbo engines and energy recovery systems.

Ricciardo finished second at Albert Park but was disqualified more than five hours later after stewards ruled his car had broken new regulations that limit the flow of fuel to the new V6 turbocharged engines.

The FIA said on Sunday that Red Bull had been told during the race that telemetry readings showed the fuel flow on Ricciardo's car was too high but the team had failed to correct the situation.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner argued that inconsistencies with the meters had "been prevalent all weekend up and down the pitlane".

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Image: Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing prepares to drive
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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Woods withdraws from Arnold Palmer; unsure about Masters

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Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday he had withdrawn from this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational with a bad back and was unsure whether he would be ready to play at next month's Masters.

The World No 1 posted a statement on his website saying he told Palmer in person that he would not be able to defend the title he won last year.

"I personally called Arnold today to tell him that, sadly, I won't be able to play in his tournament this year," Woods said.

"I would like to express my regrets to the Orlando fans, the volunteers, the tournament staff and the sponsors for having to miss the event.

"Unfortunately, my back spasms and the pain haven't subsided."

Woods has been plagued by back problems since last year but his condition has worsened over the past month. He failed to finish the Honda Classic at Palm BeachGardens earlier this month, quitting after 13 holes in his final round.

Then he tweaked his back again at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami a week later and the world number one said on Tuesday he was uncertain whether he would play at the Masters, starting at Augusta National on April 10.

"It's too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluated and work closely with my doctors," he said.

"I feel badly that I won't be able to play in this great tournament this week."

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of Woods's favourite events. He has won the tournament eight times, including each of the past two years.


Image: Tiger Woods
Photographs: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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