BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Overend

Archives for December 2011

Andy Murray puts faith in Ivan Lendl

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Jonathan Overend | 20:00 UK time, Saturday, 31 December 2011

Other than deciding where to serve and how to play his first championship point in a Grand Slam final, when that occurs, as I still believe it will do, the hiring of Ivan Lendl as a full-time coach may prove to be the most important decision Andy Murray ever makes.

Lendl, despite no previous experience of coaching on the tour, brings enormous credibility and huge experience of playing at the very top level. He won eight major titles and spent much of the 1980s as world number one.

I'm sure he won't attempt to alter Murray's natural style of play or drastically remodel certain strokes, and of course there is no guarantee his arrival will make any difference whatsoever, but one piece of advice, perhaps a small slice of fresh perspective from an outsider with major-winning credentials, could make all the difference as the quest for a first grand Slam title continues.

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From Melbourne to New York - a quickfire review

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Jonathan Overend | 14:05 UK time, Thursday, 29 December 2011

Ever seen those collages on Facebook that use the words that most frequently appear in your status updates? I thought I'd employ a similar process for my final blog of 2011, a stream of recollections and observations from my tennis travels in 2011.

I've been to Melbourne, Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Paris, New York and Shanghai, not to mention Glasgow for the Davis Cup and London for the ATP World Tour Finals.

So prepare for some random recollections, in vague chronological order, limiting myself to the all-important Grand Slams:

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Pre-match knock-ups should be scrapped

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Jonathan Overend | 08:46 UK time, Wednesday, 21 December 2011

This being the season of goodwill, I am willing to put on hold my friendly on-going argument with George Ciz, the ATP's ebullient marketing man.

Ciz is responsible for the big sound and light build up at the World Tour Finals, which is very good.

He thinks it's the best of the year (quite rightly, he's in charge of it) but I give it a room-for-improvement nine out of 10.

They do it even better at the Paris Indoors (10/10) where the visuals are faultlessly stunning.

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Djokovic's 'outrageous' season

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Jonathan Overend | 19:32 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

People often ask if sports commentators pre-prepare special lines to mark extraordinary moments. For the most part, the truth is we don't.

Sometimes you summarise your thoughts and make the odd note, but scripting commentary is a bad idea. You lose the spontaneity of the moment if you do.

And so I found myself listening back to the best bits of Novak Djokovic's remarkable 2011 season for a 5 live Sport Special (Thursday from 2030 GMT) and was struck by the moment he beat Rafa Nadal in the Rome final back in May.

Remember this was still the clay-court spring, with three of the four majors still to be played. Djokovic's win was a seventh title of the year and a fourth win in Masters 1000 finals over the world number one.

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