A grim-faced Ivan Lendl watched Andy Murray throughout the US Open, but even his stoic countenance wavered just a bit as he watched his pupil celebrate a long-awaited first Grand Slam title on Monday.
The 25-year-old Scotsman lost his first four career Grand Slam finals, an Open-era futility run matched only by Lendl, who went on to win eight Grand Slam titles in his career, the last of them at the 1990 Australian Open.
The 52-year-old Czech began working with Murray nine months ago and the partnership paid dividends when Murray reached the Wimbledon final and captured Olympic gold in the past two months.
When Murray celebrated his Grand Slam breakthrough, Lendl's stony visage wavered ever-so slightly as he stood inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Were those nigh-invisible curls at the edge of his lips a smile?
"That's almost a smile for him," Murray said as the crowd roared in delight.
Afterward, Murray was asked about maintaining his typical mellow demeanor in the wake of the triumph of a lifetime.
"I think we're sort of learning from Lendl a little bit," Murray said. "He doesn't smile a whole lot."
What he has done is help guide Murray to the promised land, pushing the maturing tennis star's mental game to new heights.
After all, Lendl was the only other man on the planet who had gone 0-4 in his first Grand Slam finals and he had recovered to win eight Grand Slams.
Djokovic could also see the difference Lendl has helped make.
"It's mental in the end mostly," Djokovic said. "In the end to really make a breakthrough. He definitely changed his mindset towards the big matches."