Andy Murray revealed Ivan Lendl was still smarting from Taiwanese-American Michael Chang’s cheeky underarm serve at the 1989 French Open as the old rivals face off as coaches at the Australian Open.
The Wimbledon champion, in a column for the Melbourne Age yesterday, said rivalry remains strong among the group of ex-players who are now back working with today’s stars, including his coach, Lendl.
Chang and Lendl’s fourth-round French Open clash is famous for the audacity of Chang, then 17, who surprised the multiple Grand Slam-winner with an underarm serve in the fifth set — and won the point, the match and later the championship.
“Obviously, Michael Chang threw in the underarm serve against him so I think that’s one that kind of hurts him a little, but I think Chang is the nicest guy,” Murray wrote. “Ivan doesn’t dislike any of the guys who are here.”
As well as Lendl and Chang, who is working with Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Boris Becker has teamed up with Novak Djokovic and Stefan Edberg is coaching Roger Federer.
Although Murray said Lendl gets along with most of his former adversaries, he is still very competitive with John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.
“That was the sort of rivalry that got to Ivan,” Murray wrote. “That still remains to this day. When Ivan and McEnroe met at the French Open, it was just amazing: They started straight away when they saw each other, they just started challenging each other. It was like, ‘When are we going to play? Are we going to play an exhibition?’ I was warming down on the bike at the time. McEnroe was also on a bike. Ivan was saying: ‘What are you doing on the bike?’ McEnroe says: ‘Oh, I’m just doing this.’ And Ivan’s like, ‘Well, I can do that. I can do this on the bike’... they are both still very competitive.”