Ivan Lendl believes Andy Murray has ‘earned the right to retire when he wants’ in response to Mats Wilander’s controversial French Open comments.
Wilander upset many Murray – and tennis fans – by suggesting Murray should call time on his comeback bid following an uncharacteristically quiet exit from Roland Garros.
Lendl, though, who coached Murray to his Wimbledon breakthrough, has told Wilander he simply can’t agree with him on this issue.
“I know you got criticised a lot for saying that and they should not be taking wild cards and leave it to the young players and I disagree,” Lendl told Mats Wilander on the Eurosport Tennis Legends Podcast.
“I think players like Andy Murray or Pete Sampras, before he won his last US Open, everybody was asking me, shouldn’t Pete Sampras retire? And I said, ‘Pete Sampras has earned the right to retire when he wants to retire.’
“To me, Andy Murray has earned the right to play when he wants to play, as long as he has passion for it.
“I’m not in touch much with a text exchanged here and there. And I do the same thing with Jamie Delgado. And I do believe from little bits and pieces I have that Andy has the passion.
“What happened at the French I think was not normal. Something else happened and I don’t know what it was, but I think Andy has the passion.
“I think Andy is trying to prove that he can come back after serious hip surgery. And all I can say is we all should be pulling for him and wish him the best.”
One comment from Wilander that attracted a lot of criticism was his suggestion that Murray is ‘taking wildcards away from younger players.’ Lendl, though, disagrees again.
“Let’s go a little bit back in the history of wild cards,” he explained. “The wild cards in general were given to the sponsors to get attractive players for the tournament.
“It turned somewhat towards young players, which is fine as well. But it’s nowhere written that it needs to be a young player, not somebody older.”
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