Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl returns to play in Greater Bangor Open

Andy Murray of Britain trains, with his coach Ivan Lendl (right), on a practice court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 4, 2013.
STEFAN WERMUTH | REUTERS
Andy Murray of Britain trains, with his coach Ivan Lendl (right), on a practice court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 4, 2013.
Posted July 24, 2013, at 5:09 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Ivan Lendl is in the International Tennis Hall of Fame thanks to his eight Grand Slam titles, including two in one year on two occasions, 1986 and ’87.

Another passion of his is golf and he has returned to the Bangor Municipal Golf Course to play in the Greater Bangor Open. He has played the GBO before and enjoys it. He also plays in a number of other tournaments, including celebrity events.

“I love it here. It’s so nice. It’s very relaxed. The tournament is well-organized. It’s beautiful up here,” said the 53-year-old Lendl, who now lives in Vero Beach, Fla.

Lendl, who was the No. 1 player in the world for 270 weeks, won the U.S Open and French Open in ’86 and ’87.

His first two Grand Slam championships came at the 1984 French Open and 1985 U.S. Open.

Later in his career, he claimed back-to-back Australian Opens (’89, ’90).

The Wimbledon title was the only one to escape him, but he did coach Andy Murray to the Wimbledon championship earlier this month when the Scotsman became the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years.

Lendl was the first person Murray hugged after the historic win.

“He believed in me when a lot of people didn’t. He has been very patient with me. I’m just happy I managed to [win Wimbledon] for him,” said Murray to BBC Sport.

“He has made a really big difference in Andy in terms of the emotional control on the court. That has helped Andy play his best tennis for longer periods of time. We all owe [Lendl] a lot,” Murray’s mother, Judy, told BBC Sport.

“It’s nice to see his hard work paying off,” said Lendl while working on his short game prior to Wednesday’s GBO pro-am.

Murray won his first Grand Slam, the U.S. Open, last year under Lendl’s tutelage.

Lendl, who began coaching Murray on Dec. 31, 2011, said he keeps things simple when working with the player.

“I just try to make a plan. I try to pick one thing at a time and keep improving [on it]. It’s nothing specific, it’s just little things here and there. He listens very well,” said Lendl.

Lendl will meet Murray in Canada next Thursday and spend 10 days with him in preparation for the U.S. Open from Aug. 26 to Sept. 9.

His love of golf has been passed on to three of his five daughters.

Marika Lendl and Isabelle Lendl played at the University of Florida and Daniela “Crash” Lendl is playing for the University of Alabama.

Cone seeks first GBO title

Dustin Cone won the Maine Open in 2010 and 2012 but is still looking for his first GBO championship. He believes this will be his fifth GBO.

He finished tied for 11th in the New Hampshire Open on Tuesday with a 4-under-par 140. The tourney was reduced from a 54-hole event to 36 holes by rain.

Jesse Larson of Mendon, Vt., won it with a 133 and he will be playing in the GBO.

“I played pretty well. I was lapped by the field,” said Cone, a native of Bennington, Vt., who now lives in Stuart, Fla.

Cone always looks forward to the GBO.

“I love it up here. It’s really fun. You play with the same group of guys. It’s comfortable. And I get to put my face in lobsters for four days,” quipped Cone. “Real lobster, not the Florida stuff.”

Cone said he is hoping he can get some birdies and contend for the win.

“It’s probably a little wetter than Rob [Bangor Muni assistant pro Rob Jarvis] wants it. But he’ll dry it out and I’m sure we’ll be talking to ourselves about some of our three-putts,” said Cone.

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