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Murray sure he has perfect set-up to fulfill No1 dream

ByPaul Newman

It is no coincidence that Andy Murray's remarkable run in the second half of this year has followed Ivan Lendl's return as coach, but the World No.2 is always keen to stress that there are other key figures in his team.

Murray, who plays his first match in the Paris Masters today against Fernando Verdasco, has won three tournaments in succession since he last worked with Lendl, at the US Open in September.

Jamie Delgado, who joined Murray's team earlier this year, was the main man in the Scot's corner when he won in Beijing, Shanghai and Vienna last month and is with him again this week as he continues his pursuit of the World No.1 ranking.

Murray will become the first British player to top the singles rankings if he wins the title and Novak Djokovic fails to reach the final. He said: "I spoke to Ivan (on the phone) for about half an hour before Vienna and Jamie and I spoke with him a couple of times the week before I went to China, but that's been it.

"We stay in touch, but in terms of actual talking, that's been it."

Lendl, who will be back by his side at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London later this month, keeps in regular contact with Delgado wherever Murray is playing, but the Scot prefers to go about his day-to-day business with the man on the spot.

"Jamie and Ivan speak and stay in touch most days," Murray said. "But when you have one coach who is there and another who's not around, I find it's much better to have the one that's on site as the one communicating with me."

When Murray spoke to Lendl the weekend before last they did not talk about specific tactics or matches.

"I go through all of that with Jamie," Murray said. "When they speak about it, I don't hear about it. I think that's a positive thing. I have one message coming to me directly and that's from the coach who's there with me."

Djokovic, meanwhile, is here without either of his coaches, Boris Becker and Marian Vajda, though the World No.1 insists there is no significance in their absence.

"I have a very large team," Djokovic said. "The people you see here with me are also part of the team. They have come with me because that was part of the agreement of the whole team."

The results of Murray and Djokovic this year underline how difficult it can be to maintain form throughout a season, though the Serb did that in 2011 and 2015, winning 10 and 11 titles respectively, including three at Grand Slam level in each year.

This year Djokovic was dominant until the end of the French Open, by which time he had won 44 of his first 47 matches and had a huge lead of 8,035 points in the rankings.

Since then it has been Murray who has taken charge, the Scot winning 41 of his last 44 matches and closing the gap at the top of the rankings to just 415 points.

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