The end of Roland Garros last weekend brought a change in the surface on the men’s tour. Clay gave way to grass and that, in turn, made a couple of former Wimbledon champions and a two-time runner-up hot commodities for coaching services.
A couple weeks ago we learned that Milos Raonic had added John McEnroe to his coaching team. McEnroe, a former World No. 1, is also a former multi-time champion at Wimbledon having won the tournament three times in the 1980s. Raonic is a one-time semifinalist at the All England Club, but he has to like his chances of doing well in London this season. He’s in the prime of his life; he appears to be healthy, and his booming serve should do well on the fast-paced grass.
More recently Stan Wawrinka tinkered with his coaches as he added Richard Krajicek to his team. Krajicek, a Dutch national, won Wimbledon in 1996, beating MaliVai Washington in the final. Previously in that tournament, Krajicek took out Pete Sampras in the quarterfinals in what was a gargantuan upset at the time. The Dutch player’s victory over Sampras represented the American’s only loss at the All England Club over an eight-year period.
When judged in terms of best results, Wimbledon is Wawrinka’s worst Grand Slam. With one title each at Melbourne Park and Roland Garros, those are his best venues. He also made the semifinals of the US Open in 2013 and 2015. However, he has yet to break through and win his quarter at Wimbledon, falling in the round of eight in each of the last two seasons.
Wawrinka has Magnus Norman as his main coach, one of the better coaches out there in my opinion. In years past, Norman also coached Robin Soderling at a time when the Swede was a major force on tour.
Wawrinka tweeted about Krajicek recently:
“As I’m always looking to improve…I would like to take this opportunity to announce…immediately that I have added Richard Krajicek to my existing coaching staff to help during the grass court season for the next 4 weeks. Magnus, Yannick and I are really excited about the new addition to our team – adding a former Wimbledon Champion can only further my knowledge and understanding of the grass. It’s a real privilege and honor to add such a champion to my corner.”
Earlier this weekend it was reported by numerous agencies, including the BBC, that Andy Murray rejoined forces with Ivan Lendl. Lendl made the Wimbledon final twice, losing on both occasions in 1986 and 1987. However, more relevantly the former No. 1 was Murray’s coach when the Scot experienced his greatest successes on tour.
In a previous tenure as Murray’s coach, the Scot won the 2012 Olympic gold medal on grass, he went on to win the 2012 US Open, and he also won Wimbledon 2013. The gold medal was precedent setting for Murray as the event was played at the All England Club as part of the London Olympics. It marked his first title at the venue, even if it wasn’t the one that partisan British fans hoped for more strongly. However, under Lendl, Murray would win his first and only two majors beating Novak Djokovic in the Flushing Meadows final and at the All England Club.
In regard to Djokovic, he already has a positive long-term relationship with Boris Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion. However, it is interesting that Murray has gone back to the coach he had during a time in his career when he was able to give Djokovic more trouble in majors than what the Scot has given since.