Andy Murray relied on the experience and wisdom of Ivan Lendl to help him win a U.S. Open and Wimbledon title to go along with an Olympic golf medal.
Those same teachings, along with the one-on-one instruction provided by some of the finest coaches in North America are available at the Ivan Lendl International Tennis Academy on Hilton Head Island, which is celebrating its second anniversary this month.
On the eve of the U.S. Open in New York, America is still on the lookout for its next top male and female tennis star, and Ivan Lendl has quietly accumulated some talent that is training on Hilton Head that will soon serve notice on a variety of stages.
Just to set the record straight, this isn't some camp that Ivan Lendl lends his name to and he sees a P&L and a balance sheet once a year. The former World No. 1 player and winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles, serves as Director of Instruction, and is often hands on with the students.
Still, breaking into the multi-million dollar business of tennis academies is tough, even when a name like "Lendl" is attached.
"We put ourselves in a challenging situation- being in a small market with academies already there," explains Rob Castorri, Executive Director of the ILJTA. "Ivan is very big on each student having their own program tailor made for them."
The word about ILJTA is getting out.
This spring, the ILJTA boasted students from 11 states and four countries including Bulgaria, Russia and New Zealand.
Castorri, who has served as past President of the Georgia Professional Tennis Association and has managed tennis clubs across the U.S. smiles when he sees Lendl working with the pupils.
"Ivan is going to go about discussing things in his own way- and (he) keeps it private between coach and player," explains Castorri. "It's what Ivan feels is the best way to plug up holes in a young player's game."
It works with Andy Murray, so it has to have some merit with the players soaking up the knowledge and experience of Lendl and his award-winning staff.
"We want to get our name out there and grow with our small group of players," says Castorri. "We feel like we are doing the right stuff."
The question the typical tennis parent has before sending a child off to a tennis academy always involves results and developing that weapon that leads to success on the court.
"We feel the biggest weapon a child can have is their attitude, adds Castorri. "That is what we look for."
Lendl has always felt that with hard work, anything is possible and Castorri seconds that.
"If we get a one star or two star player, our goal is to take them to three or four star," says Castorri. "We take them to a place they didn't think they would or could go."
That's music to a tennis player's ears and it's that sort of talk and coaching that has pushed Andy Murray to the top of the tennis world.
Some specifics on the Lendl IJTA:
It's a full-time program for those in grades 5-12
The program is geared towards the individual
Training and competition is geared for juniors to reach their goals, whether it be the college of professional ranks