Ivan Lendl (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɪvan ˈlɛndl̩]; born March 7, 1960) is a retired Czech-American professional tennis player. He is often considered among the greatest in the sport's history. He was the world No. 1 for 270 weeks in the 1980s and finished his career with 94 singles titles. At the majors he won eight titles and was runner-up a record 11 times. He also won seven year-end championships.
Ivan Lendl in Miami, 2012
|Country (sports)|| Czechoslovakia (1960–1992)
United States (1992–1994)
|Residence||Goshen, Connecticut, US
Vero Beach, Florida, US
March 7, 1960 |
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Plays||Right-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HoF||2001 (member page)|
|Career record||1068–242 (81.53%)|
|Career titles||94 (3rd in the Open Era)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (February 28, 1983)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (1989, 1990)|
|French Open||W (1984, 1986, 1987)|
|Wimbledon||F (1986, 1987)|
|US Open||W (1985, 1986, 1987)|
|Tour Finals||W (1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987)|
|Grand Slam Cup||SF (1991)|
|WCT Finals||W (1982, 1985)|
|Career record||187–140 (57.2%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 20 (May 12, 1986)|
|Davis Cup||W (1980)|
|Coachee Singles Titles total||4|
|List of notable tournaments
Lendl's game was built around his forehand, hit hard with heavy topspin, and his success is cited as a primary influence in popularizing this "power baseline" style. As a tennis coach, he has helped Andy Murray win three major titles and reach the No. 1 ranking.
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Early life and careerEdit
Lendl was born into a tennis family in Ostrava, Moravian-Silesian Region, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). His parents were top players in Czechoslovakia, and his mother Olga, born Jeništová, was at one point ranked the no. 2 female player in the country.
Lendl first came to the tennis world's attention as a junior player. In 1978, he won the boys' singles titles at both the French Open and Wimbledon and was the world No. 1 ranked junior player.
Lendl turned professional in 1978. After reaching his first top-level singles final in 1979, he won seven singles titles in 1980, including three tournament wins in three consecutive weeks on three different surfaces. Lendl was part of Czechoslovakia's Davis Cup winning team that year. He was the driving force behind the country's team in the first half of the 1980s, and was also part of the Czechoslovak team that won the World Team Cup in 1981 and was runner-up in 1984 and 1985. However, he stopped playing in these events after he moved to the United States in 1986 because Czechoslovakia's Tennis Association viewed him as an "illegal defector" from their country.
The success continued in 1981, as he won ten titles, including his first season-ending Masters Grand Prix tour title, defeating Vitas Gerulaitis in five sets. He relocated to the United States in 1981, first living at the home of mentor and friend, Wojtek Fibak.
In 1982, he won 15 of the 23 singles tournaments he entered and had a 44-match winning streak.
Lendl competed on the World Championship Tennis (WCT) tour, where he won all ten tournaments he entered, including his first WCT Finals, where he defeated John McEnroe in straight sets. He faced McEnroe again in the Masters Grand Prix final and won in straight sets to claim his second season-ending championship of the WCT. In an era when tournament prize money was rising sharply due to the competition between two circuits (Grand Prix and WCT), Lendl's title victories quickly made him the highest-earning tennis player of all time.
Lendl won another seven tournaments in 1983; however, he had not won any Grand Slam titles in the early years of his career. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the French Open in 1981, where he lost in five sets to Björn Borg. Lendl's second came at the US Open in 1982, where he was defeated by Jimmy Connors. In 1983, he was the runner-up at both the Australian Open and the US Open.
In July 1983 Lendl played three exhibition matches (against Johan Kriek, Kevin Curren, and Jimmy Connors) in Sun City, South Africa, in the apartheid-era bantustan of Bophuthatswana. The Czechoslovak Sport Federation (ČSTV), controlled by the Communist Party, expelled him from the Czechoslovak Davis Cup team and fined him $150,000. Lendl disputed the punishment and the fine.
In 1984, Lendl bought his own house in Greenwich, Connecticut. Lendl's first Grand Slam title came at the 1984 French Open, where he defeated McEnroe in a long final. Down two sets to love, and trailing 4–2 in the fourth set, Lendl came back to claim the title 3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5. McEnroe subsequently beat Lendl in straight sets in both finals of the US Open 1984 and Volvo Masters 1984 (played in January 1985).
Lendl lost in the final of the 1985 French Open to Mats Wilander. He then faced McEnroe again in the final of the US Open, winning in straight sets. It was the first of three consecutive US Open titles for Lendl and part of a run of eight consecutive US Open finals. He reached the WCT Finals for the second and last time, defeating Tim Mayotte in three sets. He also won the Masters Grand Prix title for the third time, defeating Boris Becker in straight sets.
He won French Open titles in 1986 and 1987, as well as the season-ending 1986 and 1987 Masters Grand Prix championship titles, where he defeated Becker (1986) in straight sets and Wilander (1987) in three sets. This took him to his fifth and last Grand Prix year-end tour title.
In each year from 1985 through 1987, Lendl's match-winning percentage was over 90%. This record was equalled by Roger Federer in 2004–2006, but Lendl remains the only male tennis player with over 90% match wins in five different years (1982 was the first, 1989 the last). From the 1985 US Open to the 1988 Australian Open, Lendl reached ten consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals — a record that was broken by Federer at the 2007 Australian Open.
Lendl began 1989 by winning his first Australian Open title with a straight sets final victory over Miloslav Mečíř, and went on to win 10 titles out of 17 tournaments he entered. Lendl successfully defended his Australian Open title in 1990.
The only Grand Slam singles title Lendl never managed to win was Wimbledon. After reaching the semi-finals in 1983 and 1984, he reached the final twice, losing in straight sets to Becker in 1986 and Pat Cash in 1987. He reached the semi-finals in 1988 and 1989, but lost to Becker on both occasions. In 1990, Lendl put in intensive efforts to train and improve his grass court game. He switched to a larger headed racket and skipped the 1990 French Open in order to spend more time practising on grass. He won the Queen's Club Championships, with comfortable straight set - victories over McEnroe in the semi-final and Becker in the final, but was unable to reproduce this form at Wimbledon, and although he reached the semi-finals for the seventh time in eight years, he lost to eventual champion Stefan Edberg in straight sets.
Lendl remained near the top of the rankings in 1991. He skipped the French Open again to focus on Wimbledon, but lost in the third round against David Wheaton, and was never to win the Wimbledon title. The Australian Open in January that year, where he lost in four sets to Becker, was his last Grand Slam final.
Lendl's was well known for his meticulous and intensive training and physical conditioning regime, and his scientific approach to preparation and playing. As part of his preparations for the US Open, he hired the same workers who laid the hardcourt surfaces at Flushing Meadows each year to install an exact copy in the grounds of his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Lendl announced his retirement from professional tennis on December 21, 1994, aged 34, due to chronic back pain. His last professional match prior to that had been his defeat in the second round of the US Open in 1994, three and a half months earlier.
Lendl won a career total of 94 ATP singles titles (plus 49 other non-ATP tournaments, a total of 144 singles titles) and 6 doubles titles, and his career prize money of U.S. $21,262,417 was a record at the time. In 2001, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Return to the courtEdit
On April 10, 2010, Lendl returned to play in the Caesars Tennis Classic exhibition match in Atlantic City, New Jersey, against his rival from the late 1980s, Mats Wilander, his first tournament since his retirement in 1994. He lost the one-set match 3-6.
On February 28, 2011, Lendl returned to the court again in an exhibition match against McEnroe at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was planned to be a one-set, first-to-eight event. However, McEnroe, leading 6–3, injured his ankle and had to retire from the match.
On December 31, 2011, Lendl was appointed to coach Andy Murray. Lendl has been credited with improving Murray's maturity and consistency, guiding him to his first two Grand Slam victories in the 2012 US Open, and 2013 Wimbledon Championships. On winning the US Open in 2012, Murray became the second player in the Open Era, after Lendl, to have lost their first four Grand Slam finals, and won the fifth. On March 19, 2014, it was announced that Lendl and Murray would be ending their two-year coaching partnership.
On June 12, 2016, Lendl rejoined Andy Murray's coaching team. By the end of 2016, Murray had become world No. 1, having won his second Wimbledon title, third major championship overall, second Olympic Gold Medal in singles, and his first ATP World Tour Finals title, defeating Novak Djokovic.
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Lendl was known, along with Björn Borg, for using his heavy topspin forehand to dictate play, although Borg's full Western-style topspin was more of a high loop. Lendl's forehand had a tighter topspin; was faster and flatter. His trademark shot was his running forehand, which he could direct either down the line or cross-court.
Early in his career, Lendl played a sliced backhand, but in the early 1980s he learned to hit his backhand with significant topspin. This shift allowed him to defeat John McEnroe in 1984 in the French Open, Lendl's first Grand Slam victory. In the first two sets, McEnroe used his habitual proximity to the net to intercept Lendl's cross-court passing shots. In the third set, Lendl started using lobs, forcing McEnroe to distance himself from the net to prepare for the lobs. McEnroe's further distance from the net opened the angles for Lendl's cross-court passing shots, which ultimately gained Lendl points and turned the match around.
Lendl's serve was powerful but inconsistent, with a very high toss. Lendl was highly consistent from the baseline, and his groundstroke setup was very complete, with a powerful top-spin backhand and high accuracy from both the forehand and backhand. Though tall and gangly, he was very fast on the court. Lendl's inconsistency at the net caused problems for him at Wimbledon, as grass courts yield notoriously bad bounces, which destabilized his baseline game. He devoted considerable effort to improving his net play, but fell short of a Wimbledon title. Lendl was also known for his mental strength on court.
At the beginning of his professional career, Lendl used Adidas clothing and Kneissl rackets, subsequently changing to Adidas rackets. Toward the end of his days on the ATP tour, Lendl ended his long-term clothing, shoe, and racket deal with Adidas. He signed with Mizuno, and finally began to play with a mid-sized racket very similar to the Adidas racket he had used throughout most of his career, itself based on the Kneissl White Star model. Since 2010, he has been using Bosworth rackets.
Singles performance timelineEdit
|Australian Open||2R||F||4R||SF||NH||SF||SF||W||W||F||QF||1R||4R||2 / 12||48–10||82.76|
|French Open||1R||4R||3R||F||4R||QF||W||F||W||W||QF||4R||2R||1R||1R||3 / 15||53–12||81.54|
|Wimbledon||1R||3R||1R||SF||SF||4R||F||F||SF||SF||SF||3R||4R||2R||0 / 14||48–14||77.42|
|US Open||2R||QF||4R||F||F||F||W||W||W||F||F||QF||SF||QF||1R||2R||3 / 16||73–13||84.88|
|Win–Loss||0–1||4–3||9–4||9–3||9–2||20–4||20–3||20–3||20–1||24–2||20–4||21–3||16–2||13–3||12–4||1–4||4–3||8 / 57||222–49||81.92|
|Masters Grand Prix||F||W||W||F||F||W||W||W||F||SF||SF||SF||5 / 12||39–10||79.59|
|WCT Finals||SF||W||F||W||SF||2 / 5||10–3||76.92|
Grand Slam finalsEdit
Lendl reached 19 Grand Slam singles finals in his career. He won eight titles, and was a runner-up in 11.
|Runner-up||1981||French Open||Clay||Björn Borg||1–6, 6–4, 2–6, 6–3, 1–6|
|Runner-up||1982||US Open||Hard||Jimmy Connors||3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 4–6|
|Runner-up||1983||US Open||Hard||Jimmy Connors||3–6, 7–6(7–2), 5–7, 0–6|
|Runner-up||1983||Australian Open||Grass||Mats Wilander||1–6, 4–6, 4–6|
|Winner||1984||French Open||Clay||John McEnroe||3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5|
|Runner-up||1984||US Open||Hard||John McEnroe||3–6, 4–6, 1–6|
|Runner-up||1985||French Open||Clay||Mats Wilander||6–3, 4–6, 2–6, 2–6|
|Winner||1985||US Open||Hard||John McEnroe||7–6(7–1), 6–3, 6–4|
|Winner||1986||French Open (2)||Clay||Mikael Pernfors||6–3, 6–2, 6–4|
|Runner-up||1986||Wimbledon||Grass||Boris Becker||4–6, 3–6, 5–7|
|Winner||1986||US Open (2)||Hard||Miloslav Mečíř||6–4, 6–2, 6–0|
|Winner||1987||French Open (3)||Clay||Mats Wilander||7–5, 6–2, 3–6, 7–6(7–3)|
|Runner-up||1987||Wimbledon||Grass||Pat Cash||6–7(5–7), 2–6, 5–7|
|Winner||1987||US Open (3)||Hard||Mats Wilander||6–7(7–9), 6–0, 7–6(7–4), 6–4|
|Runner-up||1988||US Open||Hard||Mats Wilander||4–6, 6–4, 3–6, 7–5, 4–6|
|Winner||1989||Australian Open||Hard||Miloslav Mečíř||6–2, 6–2, 6–2|
|Runner-up||1989||US Open||Hard||Boris Becker||6–7(2–7), 6–1, 3–6, 6–7(4–7)|
|Winner||1990||Australian Open (2)||Hard||Stefan Edberg||4–6, 7–6(7–3), 5–2 retired|
|Runner-up||1991||Australian Open||Hard||Boris Becker||6–1, 4–6, 4–6, 4–6|
- These records cover the entire period of tennis from 1877.
|Time span||Selected All time tournament records||Players matched|
|1981 Swiss Indoors—
1983 US Pro Indoor
|66 consecutive match wins indoor||Stands alone|
|1983 Tokyo Indoor —
1986 Australian Indoor
|19 consecutive indoor finals||Stands alone|
|1981 French Open–
1991 Australian Open
|11 consecutive years at least 1 Grand Slam final||Pete Sampras|
|1981 French Open–
|Reached all 4 Grand Slam finals in career||20 players tied|
- These records were attained in the Open Era of tennis.
- Combined year end championships are: WCT Finals and Masters Grand Prix
- Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.
|Time span||Selected Grand Slam tournament records||Players matched|
|1981 French Open —
1991 Australian Open
|11 runner-up finishes||Stands alone|
|1981 French Open —
|2+ runner-up finishes at all 4 Majors||Stands alone|
|1982 US Open–
1989 US Open
|8 consecutive finals at a single Major||Stands alone|
|1985 US Open —
1990 Australian Open
|2+ consecutive titles at 3 Majors||Roger Federer|
|1982 US Open —
1989 US Open
|5 runner-up finishes at a single Major||Andy Murray
|1981–1991||11 consecutive years reaching 1+ final||Pete Sampras|
|1981 French Open —
1983 US Open
|First 4 finals lost||Andy Murray|
|Grand Slam tournaments||Time Span||Records at each Grand Slam tournament||Players matched||Refs|
|Australian Open||1989–1991||3 consecutive finals||Mats Wilander
|US Open||1982–1989||8 consecutive finals||Stands alone|||
|US Open||1982–1989||8 finals overall||Pete Sampras|||
|US Open||1982–1989||5 runner-up finishes||Novak Djokovic|||
|US Open||1985–1986||26 consecutive sets won||Stands alone|||
|Time span||Other selected records||Players matched|
|Year-End Championship[a] records|
|1980–1988||12 combined WCT and GP finals overall||John McEnroe|
|1980–1988||17 combined WCT and GP semifinals overall||Stands alone|
|1980–1989||50 combined WCT and GP match wins overall||Stands alone|
|1980–1989||18 combined WCT and GP appearances overall||John McEnroe|
|3 GP titles won without losing a set||Stands alone|
|1980–1988||9 consecutive finals||Stands alone|
|1980–1991||12 consecutive semifinals||Stands alone|
|1981–1983||18 consecutive finals||Stands alone|
|1981–1983||20 consecutive hard court finals||Stands alone|
|1983–1986||19 consecutive indoor finals||Stands alone|
|1981–1983||66 consecutive indoor court match victories||Stands alone|
|1981–1982||8 consecutive titles||John McEnroe|
|1982–1989||5 years with match winning percentage of 90%+ (417–36)||Stands alone|
|1981–1989||4 years winning 10+ titles||Jimmy Connors|
|1982||9 carpet court titles in 1 season||Stands alone|
|1983–1993||5 Tokyo Indoor titles||Stands alone|
|1980–1989||6 Canadian Open titles||Stands alone|
|1982–1990||4 Forest Hills titles||Stands alone|
|1982–1990||3 Toronto Indoor titles||Stands alone|
|1981–1983||7 consecutive match wins against World No 1||Stands alone|
Awards and recognitionEdit
Lendl was the International Tennis Federation's World Champion on four occasions (1985, 1986, 1987, 1990) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Player of The Year three times (1985, 1986, 1987). Earlier in his career, he was also named ATP Most Improved Player, in 1981.
In his book Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis, Bud Collins included Lendl in his list of the greatest men's tennis players of the period 1946–1992. Tennis magazine described Lendl as "the game's greatest overachiever" in its 40th anniversary series. In 1986, North Korea issued a postage stamp featuring Lendl.
Lendl successfully applied for a U.S. Permanent Resident Card in 1987, hoping to obtain U.S. citizenship in time to represent the USA in the 1988 Olympic Games and in the Davis Cup. A bill in Congress to bypass the traditional five-year waiting procedure was rejected in 1988 because Czechoslovak authorities refused to provide the necessary waivers. He became a U.S. citizen on July 7, 1992.
On September 16, 1989, six days after losing the final of the US Open to Boris Becker, Lendl married Samantha Frankel. They have five daughters: Marika, twins Isabelle and Caroline, Daniela, and Nikola. Two of his daughters (Marika and Isabelle) are members of the University of Florida Women's Golf Team. Daniela is a member of the University of Alabama Women's Golf Team. His daughter Caroline was a part of the University of Alabama Women's Rowing Team for the 2011–2012 academic year, and his daughter Nikola is an instructor at SoulCycle.
After finishing his tennis career in 1994, Lendl took up golf, reaching a handicap of 0 and achieving a win on the Celebrity Tour. Lendl has played in the Gary Player Invitational charity Pro-Am several times, and organized a charity competition in 2004 called the Ivan Lendl Celebrity Golf Tournament. Still competitive at the mini-tour levels, Lendl now spends much of his time managing his daughters' golfing careers.
- Known as "Masters Grand Prix" (1970–1989) and "ATP Tour World Championships" (1990–1999).
- Potter, Jerry (December 7, 2006). "Fatherhood, golf keep Lendl busy". USA Today. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
He lives with his family in Florida, splitting time between Vero Beach and Bradenton
- Tennis magazine ranked Lendl the fifth best male player of the period 1965–2005.
- "Ivan Lendl - Top 10 Men's Tennis Players of All Time". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
- Wallace, David Foster. "The String Theory". Esquire. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- "Connors beats Lendl in the final of the Sun City round robin exhibition tournament". New York Times. July 11, 1983. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
- "SPORTS PEOPLE; Lendl Suspended". Czechoslovakia: New York Times. July 16, 1983. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- "Lendl Picks Up $210,000 and His Fifth Masters Title". The Los Angeles Times. December 8, 1987.
- "Chronic back problems bring an end to Lendl's career". New York Times. December 21, 1994. Retrieved April 1, 2008.
- De Jonge, Peter (June 20, 2012). "Can Ivan Lendl Lead Andy Murray to Tennis Greatness?". New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- Fishpool, Nick (May 21, 2012). "Lendl takes to court at ITF Pro Circuit event in Prague". ITFTennis.com. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- "Andy Murray appoints Ivan Lendl as his new coach". BBC Sport. December 31, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- Ornstein, David (September 8, 2012). "Andy Murray beats Tomas Berdych to reach US Open final". BBC Sport. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- Pierce Newberry. (June 12, 2016). Andy Murray says Ivan Lendl has rejoined his coaching team BBC, Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- Garcia, Gabriel. "All Time Records: Indoor Finals Streak". app.thetennisbase.com. Madrid, Spain: Tennismem SL. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
- Garcia, Gabriel. "All Time Record: Consecutive Years at least 1 Grand Slam Final". app.thetennisbase.com. Madrid, Spain: Tennismem SL. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
- Gracia, Gabriel. "All Time Record: All Four Grand Slam Finals". app.thetennisbase.com. Madrid, Spain: Tennismem SL. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
- "Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to win sixth Australian Open title". BBC Sport. January 31, 2016.
[Murray] becomes only the second man - behind his former coach Ivan Lendl at the US Open - to lose five finals at the same Grand Slam since the open era began in 1968.
- Clarey, Christopher (July 8, 2012). "Federer Beats Murray, and Britain, for Seventh Wimbledon Title". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
The only other man in the Open era to lose his first four major finals is Ivan Lendl...
- "Grand Slam History". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- "US Open Singles Record Book" (PDF). US Open. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 1, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
- Gross, Jane (1984). "Mcenroe Overcomes Lendl in Final by 6-3, 6-4, 6-4". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- "40 Greatest Players of the Tennis Era". Tennis magazine. Archived from the original on November 12, 2006.
- USSR Philately (in Russian). Moscow (4): cover's 4th page. April 1991. ISSN 0130-5689. Missing or empty
- "Lendl's bid to get U.S.citizenship earlier denied". The New York Times. September 6, 1988. Retrieved June 25, 2007.
- "Lendl becomes U.S.citizen". The New York Times. July 8, 1992. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
- "Lendl gets married". The New York Times. September 19, 1989. Retrieved June 25, 2007.
- Arkush, Michael (May 24, 2007). "The education of Ivan Lendl – a golfing dad". ESPN.
- "Gator Women's Golf Roster/Bios". GatorZone.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- "Gator Women's Golf Roster/Bios". GatorZone.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- "2012-13 Women's Golf Roster". Rolltide.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- "What does the following say about Lendl?". Tennis Planet.me. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
- Willoughby, Ian (April 30, 2013). "Lendl: Mucha is only artist that interests me". Radio Prague. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- WILLIAM GRIMES (September 10, 1993). "Posters: Populist Art For the Collector". New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2013.