General Ivan
Lendl
Male
Czechoslovakia
1960-03-07
Ostrava, Czechoslovakia


About

Although he'd been a prodigious winner for four years, it was not until the French final of 1984 that Ivan Lendl began to really stake his claim to greatness. Then, from two sets down to the year's leading player, John McEnroe, Lendl battled back to win in five sets, seizing the first of his eight major singles (of 19 finals). He won two other French (1986-87), two Australian (1989, '90), and three U.S. (1985, '86, '87). Until 1984, at 24, his competitive zeal in big finals had been questioned, particularly after his U.S. Open finals losses to Jimmy Connors of 1982-83. But Lendl dispelled all that, and won in 1985 over McEnroe, in 1986 over Miloslav Mecir and 1987 over Mats Wilander. Ivan's two other French titles were banged out in 1986 and 1987 over Swedes Mikael Pernfors and Wilander.

In Australia, after falling in the 1983 final to Wilander, he bounced back to win in 1989 over Mecir and 1990 over Edberg in an injury walkover. His 1985 U.S. Open conquest of McEnroe hoisted him past the New Yorker to No. 1 in the world, a position he held until losing the Open in 1988 to Wilander - 156 straight weeks, four short of Jimmy Connors's record at the time. He returned to No. 1 for 1989 and spent a total 270 weeks at the peak during 13 seasons in the Top 10 between 1980 and 1992. Lendl's Flushing Meadow time has been spectacular: Appearing in eight successive finals (from 1982), he equalled the record of Big Bill Tilden (1918-25). His loss of the 1988 final to Wilander halted a 27-match winning streak in the U.S. championship, second only to Tilden's string of 42 between 1920 and the quarters of 1926.

Born March 7, 1960, at Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, and reared there, he has an excellent tennis bloodline. His mother, Olga Lendlova, was a Top Ten player in their homeland, ranking as high as No. 2. His father, Jiri Lendl, also was a fine player, ranking as high as No. 15, and who, in 1990, became president of the Czechoslovak Tennis Federation. Unlike countrywoman Martina Navratilova, he did not announce his defection, but left no doubt when he settled in the U.S. in 1984, and declined to play further Davis Cup after 1985. In 1992, he became a U.S. citizen.

In 1980, Lendl, unbeaten in seven singles and three doubles, led Czechoslovakia to its lone Davis Cup. Before an uproarious final round crowd in Prague, he anchored the 4-1 triumph over Italy. He won both his singles on the first day and, with Tomas Smid, clinched with a stirring doubles decision over Adriano Panatta and Paolo Bertolucci.

A 6-foot-2, 175-pound, right-handed paragon of hard work and fitness, he amassed stunning numbers campaigning tirelessly between 1980 and 1983, when he won 36 of 101 tournaments. He played 32 in 1980, winning three on a 113-29 match record, and won 15 of 23 in 1982 on 107-9. He won 11 of 17 in 1985 on 84-7. His last big production year was 1989: 10 of 17 on 79-7. His 92nd pro singles title in 1992 left him second only to Connors' 109 in the open era. In 1982 he put together the third longest winning streak of the open era, 44 straight matches, two shy of Guillermo Vilas' 1977 record.

A basher from the baseline, relying on strength and heavy topspin, Lendl wasn't particularly stylish but got the job done with an intimidating will and appetite for victory. His anticipation and speed afoot were often overlooked. Ivan's pursuit of the one prize beyond him, Wimbledon, was Jobian. He played 14 times at the Big W but, strain and try as he did to become a serve-and-volleyer, and as close as he came - final-round losses to Boris Becker in 1986 and Pat Cash in 1987 - grass was his no-no. That may be unfair to say about a man who batted .774 there, was also thrice a semi-finalist, but he joined Ken Rosewall and Pancho Gonzalez as the greatest never to win the Big W. An aching back didn't help as, seeded seventh, he lost his last attempt, in 1993, to Arnaud Boetsch in the second round.

The damaged back caused him to default in the third set of his second-rounder against Bernd Karbacher at the 1994 U.S. Open. He would not play again, and announced his retirement shortly after that at age 34, ranked No. 30. His last title, Tokyo (indoor) in 1993, was a 6-4, 6-4 win over Todd Martin, and his last final, Sydney 1994, was a loss to Pete Sampras. Lendl's was a hefty pro career of 17 years: 94 singles titles, six doubles titles, and a 1,279-274 singles W-L record (.805), topped only by Connors. He was the all-time prize money champ with $21,282,417 when he quit. An avid golfer, he lives in Connecticut.

Ivan was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001.

Source:Bud Collins



Media


Archive statistics 1976 - 1994
56
700
567


Tournament wins 1991 - First Bom Bril Transcontinental Cup (Professional)
1990 - Australian Open (Grandslam)
1989 - Australian Open (Grandslam)
1989 - Antwerpen (ATP)
1988 - Monte Carlo (Grand Prix Circuit)
1987 - ATP World Tour Finals (ATP)
1987 - US Open (Grandslam)
1987 - Roland Garros (Grandslam)
1986 - US Open (Grandslam)
1986 - ATP World Tour Finals (ATP)
1986 - Roland Garros (Grandslam)
1985 - ATP World Tour Finals (ATP)
1985 - US Open (Grandslam)
1985 - Monte Carlo (Grand Prix Circuit)
1984 - Roland Garros (Grandslam)
1983 - Luxembourg Indoor (Open)
1982 - WCT Finals (WCT Circuit)
1982 - Toronto Indoor (WCT Circuit)
1982 - WCT - Genoa (WCT Circuit)
1982 - WCT - Munich (WCT Circuit)
1982 - WCT - Strasbourg (WCT Circuit)
1982 - Frankfurt Open (Grand Prix Circuit)
1982 - River Oaks Tournament (WCT Circuit)
1982 - Delray Beach (ATP)
1982 - Antwerpen (ATP)
1982 - ATP World Tour Finals (ATP)
1981 - Swiss International Covered Courts (ATP)
1981 - Madrid Open (ATP)
1981 - Conde de Godo (ATP)
1981 - Vienna International Indoor ()
1981 - Cologne Indoor Open (Grand Prix Circuit)
1981 - Calcutta Exhibition (Open)
1981 - Djakarta Invitation (Amateur)
1981 - Argentina International Championships (Open)
1981 - Brooklyn Masters (Open)
1981 - ATP World Tour Finals (ATP)
1981 - AMF Head Cup (Open)
1981 - Canadian International Championships ()
1981 - Las Vegas (WCT Circuit)
1981 - German International Covered Court Championships ()
1981 - Genoa Invitational Indoor (Open)
1980 - Canadian International Championships ()
1980 - Sao Paulo Cup (Open)
1980 - Conde de Godo (ATP)
1980 - Swiss International Covered Courts (ATP)
1980 - Bitti Bergamo Memorial (Open)
1980 - Japan Open (Open)
1980 - Hong Kong Open (Grand Prix Circuit)
1980 - Taipei Summit Open ()
1980 - Czechoslovakian International Championships (Open)
1980 - River Oaks Tournament (WCT Circuit)
1979 - Czechoslovakian International Championships (Open)
1979 - Czechoslovak Indoor Circuit - Leg 1 (Open)
1978 - Czechoslovakian International Championships (Open)
1978 - Austria Satellite - Masters (Open)
1978 - Austria Satellite - Leg 2 (Open)


Tournaments Australian Open - 1994 Australian Open - 1993 Wimbledon - 1993 Roland Garros - 1993 US Open - 1993 Australian Open - 1992 Wimbledon - 1992 Roland Garros - 1992 US Open - 1992 Australian Open - 1991 Wimbledon - 1991 US Open - 1991 First Bom Bril Transcontinental Cup - 1991 Australian Open - 1990 Wimbledon - 1990 US Open - 1990 Australian Open - 1989 Wimbledon - 1989 Roland Garros - 1989 US Open - 1989 Antwerpen - 1989 Australian Open - 1988 Wimbledon - 1988 Monte Carlo - 1988 Roland Garros - 1988 US Open - 1988 ATP World Tour Finals - 1988 Australian Open - 1987 Wimbledon - 1987 Roland Garros - 1987 US Open - 1987 ATP World Tour Finals - 1987 Jericho - 1987 Wimbledon - 1986 Roland Garros - 1986 US Open - 1986 ATP World Tour Finals - 1986 Australian Open - 1985 Wimbledon - 1985 Monte Carlo - 1985 Roland Garros - 1985 US Open - 1985 ATP World Tour Finals - 1985 Challenge of Champions - 1985 Australian Open - 1984 Wimbledon - 1984 Monte Carlo - 1984 Roland Garros - 1984 US Open - 1984 ATP World Tour Finals - 1984 Australian Open - 1983 Wimbledon - 1983 Monte Carlo - 1983 Roland Garros - 1983 US Open - 1983 ATP World Tour Finals - 1983 Newport Beach Classic - 1983 Bophuthatswana Tennis Challenge - 1983 Luxembourg Indoor - 1983 Monte Carlo - 1982 Roland Garros - 1982 US Open - 1982 River Oaks Tournament - 1982 ATP World Tour Finals - 1982 Antwerpen - 1982 Delray Beach - 1982 Indian Wells - 1982 Madrid Open - 1982 WCT Finals - 1982 Toronto Indoor - 1982 WCT - Munich - 1982 Frankfurt Open - 1982 Rosemont Invitation - 1982 WCT - Genoa - 1982 WCT - Strasbourg - 1982 Wimbledon - 1981 Roland Garros - 1981 US Open - 1981 Canadian International Championships - 1981 US Clay Courts - 1981 Italian International Championships - 1981 German International Covered Court Championships - 1981 Argentina International Championships - 1981 Conde de Godo - 1981 Swiss International Covered Courts - 1981 ATP World Tour Finals - 1981 Richmond Indoor Championships - 1981 Indian Wells - 1981 Madrid Open - 1981 Stuttgart - 1981 Washington Open - 1981 Djakarta Invitation - 1981 Las Vegas - 1981 Vienna International Indoor - 1981 Gunze World Open - 1981 North Conway - 1981 Cologne Indoor Open - 1981 Suntory Cup - 1981 World Team Cup - 1981 Rome Invitational - 1981 Brooklyn Masters - 1981 Frankfurt Open - 1981 Genoa Invitational Indoor - 1981 Turin Invitational Indoor - 1981 AMF Head Cup - 1981 Calcutta Exhibition - 1981 Australian Open - 1980 Wimbledon - 1980 Monte Carlo - 1980 Roland Garros - 1980 US Open - 1980 New South Wales Championships - 1980 Canadian International Championships - 1980 Austrian International Championships - 1980 Cincinnati - 1980 US Clay Courts - 1980 Italian International Championships - 1980 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1980 US International Indoor Championships - 1980 River Oaks Tournament - 1980 German International Championships - 1980 Czechoslovakian International Championships - 1980 Conde de Godo - 1980 Thailand Open - 1980 Japan Open - 1980 Swiss International Covered Courts - 1980 ATP World Tour Finals - 1980 ABN AMRO Rotterdam - 1980 Indian Wells - 1980 Madrid Open - 1980 Milano Indoors - 1980 WCT Finals - 1980 Hong Kong Open - 1980 Washington Indoor - 1980 Denver - 1980 Las Vegas - 1980 North Conway - 1980 King's Cup - Premier Division - 1980 Taipei Summit Open - 1980 World Team Cup - 1980 Tokyo Indoor - 1980 Frankfurt Open - 1980 Bitti Bergamo Memorial - 1980 Sao Paulo Cup - 1980 Wimbledon - 1979 Monte Carlo - 1979 Roland Garros - 1979 US Open - 1979 Canadian International Championships - 1979 Nice - 1979 US Clay Courts - 1979 Italian International Championships - 1979 US Pro Championships - 1979 Championships of Berlin - 1979 Argentina International Championships - 1979 Belgian International Championships - 1979 Czechoslovakian International Championships - 1979 Conde de Godo - 1979 Swiss International Covered Courts - 1979 Florence International - 1979 Austrian International Indoor - 1979 Vienna International Indoor - 1979 King's Cup - Premier Division - 1979 Tokyo Indoor - 1979 Czechoslovak Indoor Circuit - Leg 1 - 1979 Roland Garros - 1978 Czechoslovakian International Championships - 1978 Conde de Godo - 1978 Aix-en-Provence - 1978 Madrid Open - 1978 Vienna International Indoor - 1978 Stockholm Open - 1978 Cologne Indoor Open - 1978 Italian International Championships - Qualifying - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 2 - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 3 - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 4 - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Masters - 1978 Austria Satellite - Leg 2 - 1978 Austria Satellite - Masters - 1978 France 1 Indoor Satellite - Leg 5 - 1978 Czechoslovakian International Championships - 1976

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