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View Full Version : Ivan Lendl: deserves more credit?


War, Safin!
05-13-2007, 08:54 AM
Also, contention for 'The G.O.A.T'?
I mean his record looks awesome:
* Australian Open x 2 wins / 2 runner-ups
* French Open x 3 wins / 2 runner-ups
* US Open x 3 wins / 5 runner-ups
* Wimbledon x 2 runner-ups
* The Masters x 5 / 4 runner-ups
* 100-odd singles titles
* Career win-loss of 1072-238
* #1 for 3 years running.
:D

The only blemish is he never won Wimbledon....

Gilgamesh
05-13-2007, 09:16 AM
Another blemish is that he lost what 11 GS finals or somewhere near there?

Lendl is an all-time great though and has been villainized by tennis fans for his cold approach. Honestly if Lendl was American the US fans would be more forgiving I think. But yeah can the GOAT have a 42.1% winning percentage in GS finals?

CEvertFan
05-13-2007, 09:55 AM
I'm American and although I might be in the minority regarding Lendl, I always liked him as a player because I always enjoyed the way he played and even if he didn't win Wimbledon at least he tried his best to do so. He was a no nonsense kind of guy and that's how he approached tennis.

krosero
05-14-2007, 06:14 AM
Another blemish is that he lost what 11 GS finals or somewhere near there?

Lendl is an all-time great though and has been villainized by tennis fans for his cold approach. Honestly if Lendl was American the US fans would be more forgiving I think. But yeah can the GOAT have a 42.1% winning percentage in GS finals?Maybe not. But one thing that Lendl has going for him is that he lost the first 4 finals of his career, before he turned himself into a champion. Starting with the 1984 French, his first title, he was 8-7 in finals. Starting around 1985, he showed no more traces of whatever it was that had been holding him back before.

So what I'd like to ask is, how much should overall percentage count if the inferior competitive qualities which brought down the percentage actually disappeared? If the player actually overcame them, then they're literally just history; they're not a true reflection on Lendl the champion, however much they might say about Lendl before he was a champion.

I don't think he the GOAT, but he does deserve more credit.

35ft6
05-14-2007, 06:19 AM
I agree he deserves more credit. Most under-appreciated player of open era IMO.

andreh
05-14-2007, 06:23 AM
I agree. He's one of the best ever. And losing 11 GS finals could easily be contrued as merit, rather than the opposite. One has to win 6 matches to reach the final. That's gotta count for something. He also faced some fierce competition. Borg, Connors, McEnroe, then Wilander, Edberg and Becker. All of them are also among the greatest ever.

calvero
05-14-2007, 03:10 PM
But one thing that Lendl has going for him is that he lost the first 4 finals of his career, before he turned himself into a champion. Starting with the 1984 French, his first title, he was 8-7 in finals.

and starting with the '85 us open he was 7-5 in slam finals. beating mac at the us open was a bigger turning point for lendl than beating mac at the french.

latinking
05-14-2007, 04:17 PM
I agree he deserves more credit. Most under-appreciated player of open era IMO.

Totally agree, he was awsome. I find it amazing that nobody brings him up in the GOAT conversation.

FiveO
05-14-2007, 04:21 PM
Lendl v. some notables:

Connors 22-13

McEnroe 21-13

Vilas 10-5

Cash 5-3

Borg 2-5

Becker 11-10

Wilander 15-7

Agassi 6-2

Courier 4-0

Edberg 13-14

Sampras 3-5



Yeah consideration, for GOAT or GOAT 1a. Just not quite there. A lot of people tend to throw McEnroe in there over Lendl which is kind of odd to me. It's got to be a Mc fan based bias thing in that the h2h comparison is fairly lopsided in Lendl's favor:

21-13 overall
7-3 at the Majors
2-1 in Major finals
4-4 in Masters/WTC End of Year Championships
8-7 Major Singles Titles in favor of Lendl
110 or 94 career singles titles for Lendl (higher # if including invitational tourneys)
84 or 76 career singles for McEnroe (higher # if including invitational tourneys)
Performance on worst Major surfaces:
Lendl/Wimbledon 2 Finals, 3 Semis
McEnroe/RG 1 Final, 1 Semi

Additionally Lendl reached:

8 US Open Finals in a row, winning 3
9 "The Masters" Finals in a row, winning 5

In the Open Era I think Lendl ranks ahead of everyone else not named Laver, Borg, Sampras, and Federer.

I think his lack of popularity with the public and the press, as well as some "American home cooking" have alot to do with Lendl not being mentioned as much as Agassi, Connors, McEnroe, etc. I also think that Lendl's 8-11 record in Major finals keeps him just out of the very top echelon.

Lendl deserves alot more credit than he gets.

OrangeOne
05-14-2007, 04:36 PM
I've said numerous times I think his grasscourt play is completely underrated.

Two Wimbledon finals, Losing to Cash & Becker, followed by three consecutive Wimbledon Semi-Finals, losing to Becker & Edberg - that's some Wimbledon record if you ask me, a completely amazing 5 year period!

Also beat Becker in the Final of Queens in straight sets one year iirc....

NoBadMojo
05-14-2007, 04:42 PM
Lendl did lose a lot in the finals early on and had a reputation as a gagger early in his career..he sure turned that around. remember the loss to Chang at the FO? biggest forehand in the game for a while and his record speaks for itself. I may be mistaken, but didnt Lendl refuse to play Wimbledon for some while? Also, back then, you really had to play serve volley to have a chance to win W, and that wasnt something lendl ever got good at...didnt he even have Roche working with him?..now? well you dont have much of a chance of winning W by playing serve/volley
I also think that lendl doesnt get more recognition because of his personality..dour and not very welcoming. Sampras was better, but if Pete was more flamboyant and controversial rather just letting his racquet do the talking, i think he would have been considered even greater than he was...i suspect this same idea is why many people consider crazy Mac as better than lendl..those who make the most noise and demand the most attention to themselves..well..they get the most attention..oh, the American press wasnt exactly kind to Lendl either...they seemed to apply his stern personality to his nationality, and in some ways, i dontt hink he was ever given a fair chance

El Diablo
05-14-2007, 05:28 PM
Personality does figure in the equation, as does committment to the game. Lendl had particular notoriety, deserved or not, as one who would tank a less consequential match if there was a plane to catch, who would find excuses to not play Wimbledon if he could help it, and who didn't let the door hit him in the rear as he got as far away from the game as he could after retiring. People don't want a GOAT to be someone who seemed to have only pragmatic interest in the game.

krosero
05-14-2007, 05:29 PM
A lot of people tend to throw McEnroe in there over Lendl which is kind of odd to me. It's got to be a Mc fan based bias thing in that the h2h comparison is fairly lopsided in Lendl's favor:

21-13 overall
7-3 at the Majors
2-1 in Major finals
4-4 in Masters/WTC End of Year Championships
8-7 Major Singles Titles in favor of Lendl
110 or 94 career singles titles for Lendl (higher # if including invitational tourneys)
84 or 76 career singles for McEnroe (higher # if including invitational tourneys)
Performance on worst Major surfaces:
Lendl/Wimbledon 2 Finals, 3 Semis
McEnroe/RG 1 Final, 1 SemiLendl also beat McEnroe in their only Davis Cup meeting, in 1981. However if you bring in Davis Cup, which I think should be considered, then McEnroe goes up in any evaluation because his Davis Cup record is one of the greatest ever. If Mac gets placed ahead of Lendl in the GOAT discussion, his Davis Cup record is probably an element.

And McEnroe has that great doubles career.

But sticking to singles, I'd still say that Lendl is a greater player. Now, who would win on their best day? Who is the best, as distinct from the greatest?

Mac on grass, Lendl on clay. For hard courts and indoor carpet, there are still a few matches I'd like to see to form an opinion, but it would be close.

357sig
05-14-2007, 08:46 PM
Ivan is an American has been for a long time

Deuce
05-14-2007, 11:47 PM
Ivan is an American has been for a long time
On paper only.

He speaks better Czech than English, and very likely always will.

His formative years were spent in Czechoslovakia, and his roots will always be Czech.

And that is perfectly fine.

noeledmonds
05-15-2007, 03:04 AM
The reason Lendl did not get the credit his numbers deserve is that he was not an inspiring player to watch. He was not a character who inspired people to watch tennis.

Wilander also has the same problem. Wilander of course won as many grand slams titles as McEnroe and won the small slam in 1988. However his retirieving style of play really made him a pusher, so he did not popularise tennis.

Also the Wilander-Lendl rivalry is great in terms of numbers but also fails to get recognition. With 5 grand slam finals and many more slam encounters and tournament finals this was a rivalry that extended to everywhere except Wimbledon.

krosero
05-15-2007, 08:53 AM
Performance on worst Major surfaces:
Lendl/Wimbledon 2 Finals, 3 Semis
McEnroe/RG 1 Final, 1 SemiIf you extend this stat to grass generally, then you can given Lendl one more final and two more semis, at the Australian before it converted to Ace Rebound.

krosero
05-15-2007, 09:12 AM
I've said numerous times I think his grasscourt play is completely underrated.

Two Wimbledon finals, Losing to Cash & Becker, followed by three consecutive Wimbledon Semi-Finals, losing to Becker & Edberg - that's some Wimbledon record if you ask me, a completely amazing 5 year period!

Also beat Becker in the Final of Queens in straight sets one year iirc....Also 1 final and 2 semis on Australian Open grass.

He has some very good wins on grass. Probably the best was over Edberg at the 87 W, but he also defeated Zivojinovic, Mayotte, Leconte, Kriek, Tanner and Cash at Wimbledon. He defeated Cash at the Australian Open in 1983 and lost a very close semifinal to Cash in 1987.

He was up two sets to one on the eventual champions at the both the 1985 Australian (that was Edberg, who beat him 9-7 in the fifth) and the 1989 Wimbledon (Becker, who benefited from a rain delay).

Then again, it raises the question: Why didn't he come through and win a major on grass? Was it all just bad luck running into great grass-court players?

edmondsm
05-15-2007, 09:17 AM
Totally agree, he was awsome. I find it amazing that nobody brings him up in the GOAT conversation.

This has already been said, but how can you talk about a guy being the greatest ever when he choked as much as he did. In the end, he's only got as many slams as Agassi and he never won Wimbledon. It's a no-brainer to me.

Craig Sheppard
05-15-2007, 09:24 AM
I'm American and although I might be in the minority regarding Lendl, I always liked him as a player because I always enjoyed the way he played and even if he didn't win Wimbledon at least he tried his best to do so. He was a no nonsense kind of guy and that's how he approached tennis.

Same here, I'm American and I loved Lendl. I always thought he was the Terminator out on court. Talk about intimidation... he just walked out there with his >|-[ look and just pounded it. I don't know why more people don't like him or think of him as a great....when I first got onto tennis in the '80s, he was the dominator.

bluetrain4
05-15-2007, 10:18 AM
Ivan deserves a ton of respect for his accomplishments and hard work across all surfaces. He is definitely a top 10, if not top 5, all time player.

I don't think there is any problem not including him in GOAT discussions, and it's not because he didn't win Wimbledon (though that certainly doesn't help). Sampras (clay), Federer (clay, so far),and Borg (hard courts) also have surface deficiencies when it comes to their slams.

It's simply numbers. 8 Slams, even with all of those other finals, just isn't enough to pass Sampras (14), Federer (10 so far), Borg (11), and Laver (11 even though he didn't play for several years) in GOAT discussions.

His "Masters" wins certainly help his case, but he still falls short

urban
05-15-2007, 10:47 AM
Lendl could play on grass, as his Wimbledon junior title indicates. On grass, however, he had imo one severe technical problem, his backhand volley of a cross return. Becker exploited that. In his 86 final. Lendl broke Becker early in the first set, but after wipping his first few backhands cross court over the net, Becker blinked to the German president Weizäcker, who was sitting in the Royal box, and immediatly broke back and won the match effectively.

Gizo
05-15-2007, 01:08 PM
When Lendl thrashed Becker 6-3 6-2 in the final at Queen's in 1990, the legendary British commentator, Dan Maskell, said that it was the finest display of grasscourt tennis that he had ever seen. However it must be said that the courts at Queen's were truer and firmer than those at Wimbledon, with a higher bounce. However 2 finals and 5 semi-finals at Wimbledon, plus 2 queen's titles are outstanding results considering grass was his weakest surface. I really wish that Tony Roche hadn't persuaded him to serve and volley at Wimbledon. Adapting this style meant that he stopped playing to his strengths, which cost him from winning Wimbledon. I personally think that had he stayed back at the baseline, he would have won Wimbledon, but I was a huge fan of the guy so maybe I'm being biased.

CEvertFan
05-15-2007, 04:25 PM
When Lendl thrashed Becker 6-3 6-2 in the final at Queen's in 1990, the legendary British commentator, Dan Maskell, said that it was the finest display of grasscourt tennis that he had ever seen. However it must be said that the courts at Queen's were truer and firmer than those at Wimbledon, with a higher bounce. However 2 finals and 5 semi-finals at Wimbledon, plus 2 queen's titles are outstanding results considering grass was his weakest surface. I really wish that Tony Roche hadn't persuaded him to serve and volley at Wimbledon. Adapting this style meant that he stopped playing to his strengths, which cost him from winning Wimbledon. I personally think that had he stayed back at the baseline, he would have won Wimbledon, but I was a huge fan of the guy so maybe I'm being biased.



Couldn't have said it better myself. Lendl thought that to win Wimbledon, you had to serve/volley every point. Agassi proved that wrong. If Lendl had stayed more with his strengths, instead of playing out of his comfort zone, he might have won one Wimbledon title.

bluetrain4
05-15-2007, 05:08 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself. Lendl thought that to win Wimbledon, you had to serve/volley every point. Agassi proved that wrong. If Lendl had stayed more with his strengths, instead of playing out of his comfort zone, he might have won one Wimbledon title.


I also agree. He still should have looked to come in off of his big forehand or his underrated chip backhand and occasionally served and volleyed, but he should have stayed back more.

krosero
05-15-2007, 06:57 PM
I really wish that Tony Roche hadn't persuaded him to serve and volley at Wimbledon. Adapting this style meant that he stopped playing to his strengths, which cost him from winning Wimbledon. I personally think that had he stayed back at the baseline, he would have won Wimbledon, but I was a huge fan of the guy so maybe I'm being biased.I was not a huge fan of his, quite the opposite; but I had the same opinion about his being better off if he'd stayed back more.

I can't remember exactly when he hired Roche and changed his tactics on grass. He hired Roche, a left-hander, to help him overcome McEnroe, so it must have been before the 1985 U.S. Open.

When I look through his grass-court results, he seems to have three periods.

One included the 83 W, 83 A, and 84 W: two semis and a final; and he had some impressive wins in this period.

Then he lost early at the 84 A and 85 W (second stage).

The third stage began when he reached the semis at the 85 A and nearly beat Edberg; at the next Wimbledon he started making the final and we all know the rest.

Was the middle period of mediocre results the time when he was switching over to a new style and trying to implement Roche's advice?

Anyone remember specifically when he started playing differently?

CEvertFan
05-16-2007, 02:38 AM
I was not a huge fan of his, quite the opposite; but I had the same opinion about his being better off if he'd stayed back more.

I can't remember exactly when he hired Roche and changed his tactics on grass. He hired Roche, a left-hander, to help him overcome McEnroe, so it must have been before the 1985 U.S. Open.

When I look through his grass-court results, he seems to have three periods. One included the 83 W, 83 A, and 84 W: two semis and a final; and he had some impressive wins in this period. Then he lost early at the 84 A and 85 W (second stage). The third stage began when he reached the semis at the 85 A and nearly beat Edberg; at the next Wimbledon he started making the final and we all know the rest.

Was this middle period of mediocre results the time when he was switching over to a new style and trying to implement Roche's advice?

Anyone remember specifically when he started playing differently?


When he no longer thought that grass was for cows.

suwanee4712
05-16-2007, 05:27 AM
Good points on Lendl's different strategies to win Wimbledon. What's funny is that Ivan listened to too many of his critics and went away from his game. He got to the semis at Wimbledon in 1983 and 1984 playing his way. Considering the big improvement in his game over the next 3 years, he should've stuck with what he did best. Still, he did give Becker a great match in both 1988 and 1989.

Overall, I think you have to admire Lendl because of his work ethic. I think he is somewhat underated. But as far as public affection goes, Lendl wasn't very popular anywhere until later in his career. Let's face it, he gave people a lot of reasons not to like him through the years with the way he treated some of his opponents, tour officials, and even charity tournament organizers. But I do not think that personal reasons should give us an excuse to low rate him.

One person I've always been surprised at Pete Sampras not acknowledging in the development of his game is Ivan. He invited Pete to play with him in Connecticut many times. That's where Pete learned what it would take to get to the top. Yet I don't think I've ever heard Pete utter a word about those days with Lendl. Or maybe I'm overestimating his influence?

andreh
05-16-2007, 05:39 AM
And McEnroe has that great doubles career.




Just wondering, how should doubles merit count in GOAT discussions. Generally only singles merits are taken into account?

Moose Malloy
05-16-2007, 08:47 AM
One person I've always been surprised at Pete Sampras not acknowledging in the development of his game is Ivan. He invited Pete to play with him in Connecticut many times. That's where Pete learned what it would take to get to the top. Yet I don't think I've ever heard Pete utter a word about those days with Lendl.

sampras has said that lendl was a great influence many times. and lendl has said a lot of nice things about sampras as well.

Anyone remember specifically when he started playing differently?

I saw the '83 AO Final & '86 Wimbledon Final recently, he hardly S&Ved in the AO match, but S&Ved 1st & 2nd serve in the '86 W Final. He also S&Ved a lot in the '85 AO SF. I may buy the '83 & '84 W SF's, will let you know if I do.

Was the middle period of mediocre results the time when he was switching over to a new style and trying to implement Roche's advice?


I think its a stretch to use only 2 tournaments('84 AO & '85 W) to say he was mediocre, he lost to Leconte & Curren those 2 events, they were pretty dangerous opponents on grass for anyone.

krosero
05-16-2007, 09:23 AM
I saw the '83 AO Final & '86 Wimbledon Final recently, he hardly S&Ved in the AO match, but S&Ved 1st & 2nd serve in the '86 W Final. He also S&Ved a lot in the '85 AO SF. I may buy the '83 & '84 W SF's, will let you know if I do.That's great; I'm also thinking of buying the 83 semifinal, mostly for McEnroe's performance. I once read that he won 23 straight points on serve in that match, and I have not heard of anyone with a higher stat since, though I wouldn't be surprised if Sampras or someone else has since broken it. (This might be worth it's own thread).

I think its a stretch to use only 2 tournaments('84 AO & '85 W) to say he was mediocre, he lost to Leconte & Curren those 2 events, they were pretty dangerous opponents on grass for anyone.Mediocre is too strong a word, and those were dangerous opponents.

krosero
05-16-2007, 09:25 AM
Just wondering, how should doubles merit count in GOAT discussions. Generally only singles merits are taken into account?I mentioned doubles as a factor in what other people might take into account in GOAT discussions. Myself, I tend to mean greatest of all time in singles when I talk about the GOAT, but a broader impact on the game would have to include doubles.

Moose Malloy
05-16-2007, 09:51 AM
That's great; I'm also thinking of buying the 83 semifinal, mostly for McEnroe's performance.

You know, I've heard some crazy things about that match, like Lendl made only 5 errors(& still lost in straights!)

Mac was amazing on grass, sounds like this should be mentioned with the '84 W Final as his best match ever.

krosero
05-16-2007, 10:50 AM
You know, I've heard some crazy things about that match, like Lendl made only 5 errors(& still lost in straights!)

Mac was amazing on grass, sounds like this should be mentioned with the '84 W Final as his best match ever.I used to have the stats on that match and I also read something like that. It's one reason I'm interested in watching McEnroe's performance.

I think Lendl had some notable serving stats, too, in his win over Tanner earlier in the tournament.

krosero
05-16-2007, 10:56 AM
Just wondering, how should doubles merit count in GOAT discussions. Generally only singles merits are taken into account?One other thing: there's a point where you can't separate singles from doubles, namely in Davis Cup. Mac's reputation in GOAT discussions includes his great Davis Cup record, but he earned that record partly by winning a lot of doubles rubbers.

Just a guess (I have not checked the records), but in some ties, the U.S. won just by 3-2 and might have lost if McEnroe had not been present in the doubles.

andreh
05-17-2007, 01:43 AM
One other thing: there's a point where you can't separate singles from doubles, namely in Davis Cup. Mac's reputation in GOAT discussions includes his great Davis Cup record, but he earned that record partly by winning a lot of doubles rubbers.

Just a guess (I have not checked the records), but in some ties, the U.S. won just by 3-2 and might have lost if McEnroe had not been present in the doubles.

Yeah, just thinking that including doubles would improve McEnroe's position on the GOAT-list. Edberg's as well.

krosero
05-17-2007, 05:58 PM
This is from the New York Times, and it shows how good Lendl could be on grass even before he switched to his serve-and-volley game.

It's a report from Wimbledon in 1983. Lendl had just defeated Pat Cash in the fourth round. Cash came into their match having dropped his serve only once during the tournament, but Lendl swept him, 6-4, 7-6, 6-1. Lendl then faced Roscoe Tanner.

Everyone knew about Roscoe Tanner's grass court game and his monstrous southpaw serve. He reached the 1979 Wimbledon singles final before losing to Bjorn Borg and had served his way past Mats Wilander in the third round of this year's tournament. But it was Ivan Lendl's serve during a marathon 20-point game in the opening set that settled their quarterfinal round match today.

The third-seeded Lendl had just broken Tanner's serve at 30 for a 6-5 lead on the center court. Tanner opened the 12th game, with a backhand return winner down the line off Lendl's first serve, an impressive start. However, Lendl followed with two forehand volley winners, and Tanner countered with a backhand cross-court pass to 30-all.

From 30-all, the two players weaved through 7 deuces that saw Lendl hold 5 set points and Tanner 3 break points. ''Only 3 break points?'' Lendl said afterward. ''It seemed like 25 to me.''

The quality of the game was remarkable on a number of levels. Lendl got in 17 of his 20 first serves. Yet Tanner saved the first set point with a backhand service-return winner down the line.

When Tanner hit another backhand return winner for his first break point, Lendl answered with an ace. ''He didn't just put the first one in,'' Tanner later recalled. ''He hit it.'' Of the 20 points in the game, 13 were outright winners, and sometimes it became a matter of one player upstaging the other. After Tanner got his second break point with a forehand pass down the line, Lendl saved the break by lashing a forehand cross-court winner.

Faced with his fourth set point, Tanner hit a backhand service return cross-court with more pace than Lendl's first serve. But then Lendl hit another big first serve that tucked so deeply inside the service box that Tanner thought the serve was long.

''I wasn't going all-out,'' Lendl said. ''I just wanted to make sure I got the first serve in with decent speed.'' ''Not only did he hit it,'' Tanner added. ''He hit them in the corners. It was demoralizing.''

On his fifth set point, Lendl faulted his first serve. But still annoyed over the previous serve, Tanner could not get his racquet fully into Lendl's second serve, and his late return sailed wide.

''He served very well in the big points,'' Tanner said. Lendl, who won the match, 7-5, 7-6, 6-3, was pleased that he was able to avoid an opening-set tiebreaker. He was especially happy with his first serve, faulting only 11 of 54 first serves in the first set and finishing with a 75 percent match average, a remarkably high figure considering the pace and power of his serve.So then Lendl serves nearly as well in his semifinal against McEnroe. He serves at 73% and is broken only twice, but loses in straight sets, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. He puts in 30 of 37 first serves in the first set (that's 81%) but narrowly loses the tiebreak 7-5. McEnroe serves at 62%, hitting 16 aces and winning 57 of 67 points on his own first serve, including 23 in a row.

Sounds like great tennis from all the players, with each successive round bringing out a higher level.

Pete Semper
05-18-2007, 05:38 AM
Same here, I'm American and I loved Lendl. I always thought he was the Terminator out on court. Talk about intimidation... he just walked out there with his >|-[ look and just pounded it. I don't know why more people don't like him or think of him as a great....when I first got onto tennis in the '80s, he was the dominator.


I was Lendl's fan in my younger days for the same reasons...His attitude of a dominator impressed a lot !!!

Moose Malloy
05-18-2007, 08:17 AM
krosero, thanks for posting that! does the nytimes have a searchable database? is it free? surprising that tanner could hang in there when lendl wasn't missing many 1st serves, since tanner didn't have a great return.

do you know the unforced errors stats on that '83 Mac-Lendl match?

krosero
05-18-2007, 08:56 AM
krosero, thanks for posting that! does the nytimes have a searchable database? is it free? surprising that tanner could hang in there when lendl wasn't missing many 1st serves, since tanner didn't have a great return.

do you know the unforced errors stats on that '83 Mac-Lendl match?They do have a searchable database. The lead paragraph of an article can always be read for free, but the full articles have to be purchased, either individually for a few bucks each or with a subscription to Times Select, which gives you up to 100 archived articles a month. I couldn't pull up that section of the Times right now (it's down), but it comes up when you run an archive search from the home page and you try to pull up any article.

The articles only had those service stats, so no unforced errors. But if I buy the match I'll let you know.

suwanee4712
05-18-2007, 10:02 AM
sampras has said that lendl was a great influence many times. and lendl has said a lot of nice things about sampras as well.

Glad to hear that I was wrong about that.

On the McEnroe vs. Lendl match at Wimbledon in 1983, I have that match and I thought that it was good quality tennis. Mac was more natural on the surface, more confident, and played the big points better. But I do think it is a good example of how well Lendl could play his game on the surface.

Moose Malloy
05-18-2007, 12:44 PM
I'm also thinking of buying the 83 semifinal, mostly for McEnroe's performance. I once read that he won 23 straight points on serve in that match, and I have not heard of anyone with a higher stat since

I'm pretty sure Cash didn't lose a point on serve in the 2nd set of the '87 W Final vs Lendl. He also had a long streak in the semi vs Connors.

krosero
05-19-2007, 07:18 PM
I'm pretty sure Cash didn't lose a point on serve in the 2nd set of the '87 W Final vs Lendl. He also had a long streak in the semi vs Connors.I had forgotten that; I saw that match live and will have to buy it too. I would love to see it again.

I use to keep records on this stuff, and I remember that Cash's streak against Lendl did not equal McEnroe's. Don't remember the number, maybe 20 straight.

Moose Malloy
05-22-2007, 09:00 AM
I remember that Cash's streak against Lendl did not equal McEnroe's. Don't remember the number, maybe 20 straight.

You were right, it was 20 straight. Ended on a double fault.

Moose Malloy
06-01-2007, 02:42 PM
I generally think most fans/media know how good Lendl was & then I see this in Wertheim's mailbag:

"Who would you rank as the top five clay-court players of all time? My ranking: 1) Borg; 2) Vilas; 3) Nadal; 4) Wilander; 5) Muster.
-- Peter Fleming, Atlanta

I think that's pretty good, assuming we're limiting this to the Open era. I'm inclined to put Kuerten ahead of Muster. Also, I still say let's put an asterisk next to Nadal. At the rate things are going, Nadal isn't far from unseating Borg."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_wertheim/05/30/baguette/index.html

Lendl was far better on clay than Vilas or Muster(who cleaned up at the smaller clay events) & probably more than Wilander as well.

Amazed at how little Wertheim knows about the sport sometimes.

CEvertFan
06-01-2007, 02:55 PM
I generally think most fans know how good Lendl was & then I see this in Wertheim's mailbag:

Who would you rank as the top five clay-court players of all time? My ranking: 1) Borg; 2) Vilas; 3) Nadal; 4) Wilander; 5) Muster.
-- Peter Fleming, Atlanta

I think that's pretty good, assuming we're limiting this to the Open era. I'm inclined to put Kuerten ahead of Muster. Also, I still say let's put an asterisk next to Nadal. At the rate things are going, Nadal isn't far from unseating Borg.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_wertheim/05/30/baguette/index.html

Lendl was far better on clay than Vilas or Muster(who cleaned up at the smaller clay events) & probably more than Wilander as well.

Amazed at how little Wertheim knows about the sport.

I agree. I would never put Muster and Vilas, or Wilander for that matter, ahead of Lendl on clay. Muster only has one FO and the only reason he won a lot of clay tournaments is because they were the mostly the smaller ones where he was the only marquee player in the field.

I would say that if Nadal keeps up his stellar clay court record that he will pass Borg, but not yet. IMO Nadal still has a lot of work to do in order to be put over Borg as best on clay.

suwanee4712
06-01-2007, 03:22 PM
I generally think most fans/media know how good Lendl was & then I see this in Wertheim's mailbag:

"Who would you rank as the top five clay-court players of all time? My ranking: 1) Borg; 2) Vilas; 3) Nadal; 4) Wilander; 5) Muster.
-- Peter Fleming, Atlanta

I think that's pretty good, assuming we're limiting this to the Open era. I'm inclined to put Kuerten ahead of Muster. Also, I still say let's put an asterisk next to Nadal. At the rate things are going, Nadal isn't far from unseating Borg."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_wertheim/05/30/baguette/index.html

Lendl was far better on clay than Vilas or Muster(who cleaned up at the smaller clay events) & probably more than Wilander as well.

Amazed at how little Wertheim knows about the sport sometimes.

I would definitely rank Lendl higher than anyone on that list except Borg. Wilander may have an argument, but my gut tells me to stick with Lendl.

Maybe Nadal will surpass Ivan. But it's way too soon to suggest otherwise. And, hey, I LOVE Vilas. But how could someone remember to rank Vilas and not remember to rank Lendl in their top 5 clay courters?

Gizo
06-02-2007, 01:43 AM
Lendl is definately one of the top 3 claycourters of all-time in my opinion. At the minute, I personally would put in him in 2nd place behind Borg, though if Nadal wins the French Open title next Sunday (meaning that he'll have completed the Monte-Carlo-Barcelona-Rome-French Open quadruple 3 years in a row), then he'll definately have a very strong case to overtake Lendl and move into 2nd place.
The 4 biggest claycourt tournaments outside the French Open are Monte-Carlo, Rome, Barcelona and Hamburg, and Lendl won each of these events twice. Anyone with half a brain is aware of the fact that Lendl is streets ahead of Vilas and Muster. It is very close between him and Wilander. They both won the French Open 3 times and were losing finalists twice. However Lendl led their clay h2h 6-4, and away from the French Open he won 8 other big claycourt tournaments, compared to 6 for Wilander.

krosero
06-02-2007, 09:19 AM
It is very close between him and Wilander. They both won the French Open 3 times and were losing finalists twice. However Lendl led their clay h2h 6-4, and away from the French Open he won 8 other big claycourt tournaments, compared to 6 for Wilander.I think Lendl brought his best tennis to the court more consistently. At the French their head-to-head is 2-2, and 1-1 in finals. So it's very close, as you say.

Moose Malloy
06-04-2007, 09:40 AM
The 4 biggest claycourt tournaments outside the French Open are Monte-Carlo, Rome, Barcelona and Hamburg, and Lendl won each of these events twice.

It looks like Lendl is the only player to win each of those events even once in their career. And the only player to win Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg twice.

I though this was interesting-in 1992 Lendl(age 32) beat both Muster & Bruguera in straight sets on clay!
And both those players had already won masters series events on clay, so they weren't newcomers to the tour or something.

Amazing that a player who played on clay in the wood racquet era could hold his own on clay against some very different types of claycourters.

ktownva
06-04-2007, 10:17 AM
I think it can be argued that Lendl is the G.O.A.T. at Flushing Meadow. Federer has quite a long way to go to catch up to Lendl's 8 straight finals. Lendl may not be the overall G.O.A.T., but being the greatest ever singles champion at the US Open is a pretty nice title.

Moose Malloy
06-04-2007, 10:36 AM
I think it can be argued that Lendl is the G.O.A.T. at Flushing Meadow. Federer has quite a long way to go to catch up to Lendl's 8 straight finals. Lendl may not be the overall G.O.A.T., but being the greatest ever singles champion at the US Open is a pretty nice title.


But he won only 3 of those 8 finals. Sampras made 8 US Open finals & won 5.

ktownva
06-04-2007, 11:37 AM
But he won only 3 of those 8 finals. Sampras made 8 US Open finals & won 5.

Good argument. Lendl played during the Mac Connors Becker Edberg Wilander era, so I think his results/competition ratio is very good. He also trained religiously and bought a house close to the grounds specifically to do well at the USO. Pete came through on a few more occasions, but he also bowed out in the 4th round a couple of times, and was smoked by Safin and Hewitt toward the end (his effort level not high I might add). Of course, capping his career with a win in 2002 looks pretty good, too. Close call, I still like Lendl better.

krosero
06-04-2007, 02:15 PM
do you know the unforced errors stats on that '83 Mac-Lendl match?So I bought this match and watched it, but the commentary is in French and does not provide any visual graphics.

Anyway Lendl missed a handful of first volleys that I felt he shouldn't have missed.

krosero
06-04-2007, 02:42 PM
I really wish that Tony Roche hadn't persuaded him to serve and volley at Wimbledon. Adapting this style meant that he stopped playing to his strengths, which cost him from winning Wimbledon. I personally think that had he stayed back at the baseline, he would have won Wimbledon, but I was a huge fan of the guy so maybe I'm being biased.

I can't remember exactly when he hired Roche and changed his tactics on grass.

I saw the '83 AO Final & '86 Wimbledon Final recently, he hardly S&Ved in the AO match, but S&Ved 1st & 2nd serve in the '86 W Final. He also S&Ved a lot in the '85 AO SF. I may buy the '83 & '84 W SF's, will let you know if I do.In the '83 match, Lendl served and volleyed on every serve, first and second. I had thought that he did so only on Roche's advice, starting in 85-86. But apparently he did so as far back as '83 -- though even then, as you say, he went to Australia the same year and hardly serve and volleyed.

krosero
06-04-2007, 02:52 PM
It looks like Lendl is the only player to win each of those events even once in their career. And the only player to win Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg twice.

I though this was interesting-in 1992 Lendl(age 32) beat both Muster & Bruguera in straight sets on clay!
And both those players had already won masters series events on clay, so they weren't newcomers to the tour or something.

Amazing that a player who played on clay in the wood racquet era could hold his own on clay against some very different types of claycourters.Moose, how good do you think Lendl's chances were to win the two FO's that he skipped, 1990 and 1991?

He would have been the top seed in '90. Personally I think he would have had a great shot that year, if he had played the claycourt circuit. He owned the eventual champion, Gomez, and had not yet lost to Agassi.

He was 30 years old and maybe a younger player could have beaten him. Then again, Gomez was 30 himself.

Moose Malloy
06-04-2007, 03:22 PM
In the '83 match, Lendl served and volleyed on every serve, first and second. I had thought that he did so only on Roche's advice, starting in 85-86. But apparently he did so as far back as '83 -- though even then, as you say, he went to Australia the same year and hardly serve and volleyed.

who knows maybe his opponent was a factor-Mac would chip & charge if you didn't come in. And Wilander was staying back in Australia, so no pressure to S&V. how was the quality of the match?

He would have been the top seed in '90. Personally I think he would have had a great shot that year, if he had played the claycourt circuit. He owned the eventual champion, Gomez, and had not yet lost to Agassi.


I agree, he would have been favored vs Agassi.

krosero
06-04-2007, 04:32 PM
who knows maybe his opponent was a factor-Mac would chip & charge if you didn't come in. And Wilander was staying back in Australia, so no pressure to S&V. how was the quality of the match? They both served very well, though I think McEnroe was more overpowering on all his strokes in the '84 final.

You remember we were talking about whether this was one of Mac's alltime performances? I suspected it was because I thought he won 23 straight points on serve. The actual number is 15, ended by a double-fault.

I misread this line in the Times:

Of the 67 points on McEnroe's first serve, he won 57, at one stage 23 in row.

That means he won 23 straight on first serve, not all serves, of course.

But he won 85% of his first serves, which is phenomenal. In the '84 final, near the end of the second set, he was winning 80% of his first-serve points.

Lendl surprised me with the quality of some of his volleys; he wrong-footed Mac a few times. I just don't think he really believed he could win.

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 04:29 AM
Personally I don't see how people can overlook Lendl as one of the absolute greats.

He was just a Tennis machine. For me the number 1 GOAT until the emergence of Federer.

Argento full
04-05-2009, 03:21 AM
Personally I don't see how people can overlook Lendl as one of the absolute greats.

He was just a Tennis machine. For me the number 1 GOAT until the emergence of Federer.

One ofthe greats, agree.
But number one? Mmmmmmm.
Maybe one more USO and one Wimby... and the things would change a lot.
Whatever, awesome player :)

stormholloway
04-05-2009, 03:24 AM
Lendl over Sampras though? Both lacked one of the slams, but Sampras won more slams overall.

stormholloway
04-05-2009, 03:31 AM
I think it can be argued that Lendl is the G.O.A.T. at Flushing Meadow. Federer has quite a long way to go to catch up to Lendl's 8 straight finals. Lendl may not be the overall G.O.A.T., but being the greatest ever singles champion at the US Open is a pretty nice title.

Let's not get silly. Federer has been in 5 straight finals and won them all. How is that not clearly better than Lendl's 3/8?

hoodjem
04-05-2009, 05:33 AM
Lendl is on my GOAT-list at no. 9.

9. Lendl
10. Perry
11. Vines
12. Connors
13. Cochet
14. Hoad
15. Lacoste

His work ethic, tenacity, and record speak for themselves.

I loved his topspin backhand down-the-line. I learned a lot from Power Tennis.

380pistol
04-05-2009, 08:44 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if tennis was The Godfather, Lendl would be Marlon Brando, and Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal etc., etc., etc. would all be Al Pacino, James Caan etc.

He birthed alot of their whole damn styles. The power (aggressive) baseliner was pioneered by whom?? How many teachers, experts, pundits, deemed the inside out forehand a low percentage shot??? And who was it that blasted the dichotomy away. See Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal and more and how it's been an integral weapon in all of their arsenals. Damn fitness is now the norm for players, again the forefather for that in tennis was....????

The guy changed the game in so many ways, and a lot of it single handedly. The only blemish in his career is 8-11 in slam finals. If he went 11-8 is standing GOAT debates would be much louder. Yeah he never won Wimbledon, but the guy faced off against some of the best (McEnroe, Becker, Edberg and Cash).

I don't know if he deserves more credit (tennis wise again 8-11 in slam finals), but I do believe he doesn't get the full credit he deserves.

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-05-2009, 09:07 AM
http://www.1stserve.com/legacy.asp

Ivan Lendl
The Father Of Modern Tennis
Born March 7 1960 Ostrava, Czechoslovakia

The first time I heard the name Ivan Lendl was in 1979, during the US Open, my favorite tennis hero of the time, Bjorn Borg was being interviewed after an early round win, the announcer asked him who he thought is a new up and coming star that we should be looking out for, without hesitation, the tennis God of the time said, "Ivan Lendl, he's very good and will get even better". That year Ivan lost in the 2nd round to the hard serving Roscoe Tanner in straight sets. I Wonder if Bjorn knew the extent that Ivan would later dominate the tournament that he tried so hard to win and never did. No other player in the Open era has dominated the US Open like Ivan Lendl. An American born on the wrong continent at the wrong time, he not only adopted a new country, but another style of play, a love for the hard courts that was throughout his career his favorite surface to implement the utter destruction of his opponents.

By now you must be wondering why I have the audacity to call Ivan Lendl he father of modern tennis, after all he was according to Sports Illustrated the original champion that no one cared about, the cold, hard, machine, that planned the bludgeoning of his foes without mercy and without flair. He was despised by all, the media, the fans and even his fellow players. For years, it seemed the only four people that liked Ivan Lendl was his mother Olga, his father Jiri, his mentor\coach Wojtek Fibak and me, John Figaro. One of the great days in tennis history is the famed "Super Saturday" at the US Open, where the men's semis and women's finals went the distance, featuring captivating, dramatic and high quality tennis by all 6 competitors. The seasoned tennis fan will remember Ivan's heroic topspin lob over Pat Cash's head to save a match point and eventually securing a berth in the finals, but what I remember most was the crowd yelling "Ivan go home", booing when he wins a point, aggressively applauding his errors and attempting to distract him during his service toss, - no it wasn't just the NY crowd, Europeans showed their true colors also, during the famous 1988 Italian Open final with Argentinean clay court specialist Guillermo Perez-Roldan, Ivan was totally frustrated, he took out some of his anger on the umpire and lines people and even responded to the crowd who booing and heckling him with great fervor. The pesky and speedy Roldan was taking full advantage of the situation, but like he usually did, (over 1,200 times), Ivan won 6-2,4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

So why is he the father of modern tennis? Prior to the rise and domination of Ivan Lendl, professional tennis was ruled by 2 styles, players could either be classified as Borgians (High loopy, heavy topspin, from the baseline, very defensive, waiting for the opponent to make a mistake) McEnroeseque (serve and volleyers with weak ground strokes, who rushed the net at every opportunity), then came Ivan, he brought massive power from the baseline to the game. No longer where baseliners defensive players, he attacked and took control of the outcome of the point, instead of waiting for an error.

The modern tennis game is based on the following strategy:

Big inside out forehand

Big serve

Total fitness

Speed afoot

Strong physique

Thorough preparation

Crush or be crushed

Ivan was the first champion to use and master the inside out forehand from the ad-side of the court, crushing weak replies for winners.

His forehand game was setup by his serve, during his domination, no one had a bigger, more consistent and accurate serve than Ivan Lendl. He used his powerful serve to dictate right from the beginning, and his forehand to close the point out.

Ivan was the first champion to take advantage of scientific advances in training routines. He lifted weights, did aerobics and cross- training. At his prime, no other tennis player was in better shape.

He may not have been the fastest, but his off court work and his anticipation, made it seem like there was no ball he could not reach.

At 6'2" 175lbs, he was the prototype of the modern tennis player, he was not going to pushed around.

He kept a little book consisting of notes on every player on the tour, tips on how to play them and most important, tips on how to beat them, he left nothing to chance, when he stepped on the court, the actual playing became the easiest part of the equation.
"If I don't practice the way I should, then I won't play the way that I know I can."
Ivan Lendl

Bjorn Borg never had an easy match, his style of play did not allow him to take the initiative, with Ivan the approach was, if you're not going to hit it, I will, as a matter of fact, I'm going to hit it no matter what you do.

Look at the men's a game, and to some extent, the women's game, what you will see are players, using the above formula perfected by Ivan Lendl to earn millions of dollars and entertain fans all over the world.

Next time you see Pete Sampras (whom Lendl took under his wing and spent time observing and learning how to be a champion at Ivan's home) hit his famous patented running cross-court monster forehand, think of Ivan he did it first and intimidated anyone standing across the net. - Approach with caution!

Next time you hear how fit Jim Courier & Thomas Muster used to be (two players whom Lendl has a 9-1 record against) keep in mind that they were following the example of the innovator of tennis fitness. Let's not forget Andre Agassi, whom Lendl called "A forehand and a haircut" during Andre's coming out year, he is now number one and the fittest tennis player on the planet but he too is following in the footstep of Ivan Lendl. To be a champion, one must work harder than work itself.

Next time you see players changing racquets during ball changes, next time you see racquets being delivered in plastic bags, next time you hear of players having their own personal stringers, next time you hear how precise each racquet is customized, think of Ivan Lendl, he started the whole thing, which at the time fed the fuel of him being called a machine, but instead he was well on his way to being the first true professional tennis player the world had ever seen.

No, he was not the most talented, but through hard work, he achieved a thousand times more than other gifted mortals. His tennis achievements when put together in a package has not been equaled by any other tennis player.

He was not appreciated, he did not get his full merit, he did not get the love and respect that he deserved. We all remember Jimmy Connors's run at the 91 US open, Ivan's effort the following year was just as impressive if not more, in the 2nd round Lendl's victim was none other than Jimbo who quickly sniped "It's not the Ivan Lendl that I remember, he does not hit the ball hard any more, he just bunts it". If not for a rain delay the night before, Stefan Edberg would not have won the tournament, after jumping to a 2 set lead and a break, Ivan came roaring back and was leading until play was suspended. The next day, Ivan came to within a half inch to go up 5-3 in the 5th set, but Edberg broke back and went on to win the match in a 5th set tiebreak, 6-3,6-3,3-6,5-7,7-6, one of the best matches I have ever seen.

He gave the world many 5 set thrillers, like his first Grand Slam final in 1981 at the French Open against Bjorn Borg, a match that most tennis fans seem to have forgotten. By 1984 even though he had already had two Masters (Tour championships) under his belt, the media gave him the choke label, he can't win the big one they said. He had reached 4 Grand slam finals and came up empty each time, a closer look at his opponents at those finals would reveal four of the greatest names in the history of the sport, Bjorn Borg once, Mats Willander once, and Connors twice, who won his first three grand slam finals. I think Ivan would have beaten Phil Dent and the well beyond his prime Ken Rosewall (twice) with the same ease.

He could not play on grass they said, but he managed to win 89 matches on that surface, including 3 grand slam finals and two championships in consecutive years (89,90) at the Queen's Club event before Wimbledon. In 1990 en route to his victory there he beat John McEnroe and Boris Becker in the semis and finals respectively. The one aspect that always impressed me with Lendl was the fact that he served and volleyed on both first and second serves at Wimbledon all the time, he changed from a power baseliner to a serve and volleyer, could McEnroe have reached 5 semifinals and 2 two finals at the French by staying back on both 1st and second serves all the time, I doubt it, as a matter of fact he only managed one semi and one final at the French playing his normal aggressive style. Andre Agassi proved that one does not have to serve and volley to win at Wimbledon, perhaps if Ivan had maintained his regular game and not been so obsessed with winning the number one trophy in tennis, the question of who was the greatest would have been laid to rest a long time ago.

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-05-2009, 09:07 AM
Here's another example of the establishment, history and his opponent not giving Lendl any respect, if you look at any tennis encyclopedia or listen to any McEnroe broadcast, you will hear how "he got tired in 1984 and lost the French", but in reality, Lendl won that match on pure guts, determination, skill and power. The eventual score does not resemble someone who ran out of gas, it is more like a player who's tactics and nerve caught up with him and tried as hard as he could to weather the storm, but could not fight the fury. Score 3-6,2-6,6-4,7-5,7-5 Lendl

McEnroe, Connors and borg are part of the greatest rivalries of all time, but one name is missing, you guessed it, the greatest rivalry of all-time in the open era is not McEnroe-Borg, but McEnroe-Lendl, but it sounds more glamorous for McEnroe to dismiss Lendl. The numbers don't lie, Ivan deserves his proper due, yes he will be inducted in the tennis Hall OF Fame, unlike Borg, I'm sure he will show up and accept his well deserve day of coronation.

Ivan reached 19 grand slam signals finals, more than any other male player in the open era, he won 8 of them, but a closer look will reveal the fact that he lost 10 of those finals to 5 of the greatest champions in the open era, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Willander and Becker. Pete Sampras, the greatest tennis player the game has seen so far, has a total of 12 grand slams, 7 of them were against players who not only were never number one, but players who never won a single grand slam tournament, of the remaining 5, three of them were against Andre Agassi. How many slams would Ivan have won if he had faced players of that caliber? Of the 19 Grand Slam finals, Ivan faced, players who were multiple slam winners and former number ones, 15 times.

The US Open committee may never give him a day of his own, but as a true fan of the man's effort on the tennis court, I will not let his legacy die. Ivan Lendl was the best of his generation, his contributions to the game are innumerable. He is truly a champion of champions.

hoodjem
04-05-2009, 11:40 AM
Crush or be crushed?

Yea, I've always wondered if we should credit Lendl with the state of today's game?


Or, blame him?

swedechris
04-05-2009, 11:57 AM
What..Lendl deserves more credit...?
Is he also broke now?

No end to this crisis.

CyBorg
04-05-2009, 12:01 PM
Lendl was not an innovator.

Business was the innovator. Changes in racquet and string technology was the innovator.

Lendl was the player whose style of play, physique and other characteristics best suited these changes in the game.

No player is greater than the game and I don't say that in a mystical quasi-religious way. The game is business, wherein all strings are pulled by corporate agents. The players adjust.

The first player to get credit for the so-called "modern style" is one of the first to use it at a time when the game was transitioning to the modern.

The media is poison when it comes to describing real phenomena, because it is in the business of promoting players to the public. Therefore it tells all narratives in terms of people as active agents of change, which is nothing further from the truth. It's lies, lies and more lies, served to you on a platter.

These kinds of narratives warp people's logic and then I wind up arguing with them to no avail. It peeves me how many times I keep hearing that Lendl was an innovator, because by this virtue folks assume that Lendl was the first player to play the game 'properly'. All of those other guys before him didn't know how to play, until he came along and changed everything. What a boatload of rubbish.

jimbo333
04-05-2009, 03:09 PM
Lendl was not an innovator.

Business was the innovator. Changes in racquet and string technology was the innovator.

Lendl was the player whose style of play, physique and other characteristics best suited these changes in the game.

No player is greater than the game and I don't say that in a mystical quasi-religious way. The game is business, wherein all strings are pulled by corporate agents. The players adjust.

The first player to get credit for the so-called "modern style" is one of the first to use it at a time when the game was transitioning to the modern.

The media is poison when it comes to describing real phenomena, because it is in the business of promoting players to the public. Therefore it tells all narratives in terms of people as active agents of change, which is nothing further from the truth. It's lies, lies and more lies, served to you on a platter.

These kinds of narratives warp people's logic and then I wind up arguing with them to no avail. It peeves me how many times I keep hearing that Lendl was an innovator, because by this virtue folks assume that Lendl was the first player to play the game 'properly'. All of those other guys before him didn't know how to play, until he came along and changed everything. What a boatload of rubbish.

What is your point here exactly?

Does Lendl deserve more credit, or not?

jimbo333
04-05-2009, 03:14 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if tennis was The Godfather, Lendl would be Marlon Brando, and Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal etc., etc., etc. would all be Al Pacino, James Caan etc.

He birthed alot of their whole damn styles. The power (aggressive) baseliner was pioneered by whom?? How many teachers, experts, pundits, deemed the inside out forehand a low percentage shot??? And who was it that blasted the dichotomy away. See Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal and more and how it's been an integral weapon in all of their arsenals. Damn fitness is now the norm for players, again the forefather for that in tennis was....????

The guy changed the game in so many ways, and a lot of it single handedly. The only blemish in his career is 8-11 in slam finals. If he went 11-8 is standing GOAT debates would be much louder. Yeah he never won Wimbledon, but the guy faced off against some of the best (McEnroe, Becker, Edberg and Cash).

I don't know if he deserves more credit (tennis wise again 8-11 in slam finals), but I do believe he doesn't get the full credit he deserves.

I would agree, he really doesn't get enough credit, this is a good summary:)

Also Lendl may not have been an innovator, but he was definitely a pioneer:):)

CyBorg
04-05-2009, 04:16 PM
What is your point here exactly?

Does Lendl deserve more credit, or not?

Credit as an accomplished player and as one of the greatest of all time - yes!

Credit as innovator - no!

Tennis Dunce
04-05-2009, 07:09 PM
Lendl is the 8th or 9th best tennis player in history...right where he belongs. Some people put him as high as say...number 6...I just can't do it.

crabgrass
04-06-2009, 01:37 AM
Lendl is the 8th or 9th best tennis player in history...right where he belongs. Some people put him as high as say...number 6...I just can't do it.

some people actually put him higher than 6th...me included

pc1
04-06-2009, 06:09 AM
I would agree, he really doesn't get enough credit, this is a good summary:)

Also Lendl may not have been an innovator, but he was definitely a pioneer:):)

I would tend to agree with you Cyborg. Lendl was not that unusual a player if you go back in tennis history.

He was a great player of course but style wise you can compare him to Ellsworth Vines. Big serve, big forehand that either could use to hit winners from the baseline. I'm sure if Vines used today's rackets, he could put a lot of topspin on his forehand for extra safety also.

I know a lot of people thought Lendl was boring but I enjoyed watching him play. He was clearly one of the great clay courters because I think of one his weaknesses, his backhand return (which actually was pretty decent) was not as important on the slower clay.

If you asked me if a Lendl c. 1986 played a Federer in 2006, I probably would favored Lendl. More consistent on both sides.

ZPTennis
04-06-2009, 06:40 AM
Also, contention for 'The G.O.A.T'?
I mean his record looks awesome:
* Australian Open x 2 wins / 2 runner-ups
* French Open x 3 wins / 2 runner-ups
* US Open x 3 wins / 5 runner-ups
* Wimbledon x 2 runner-ups
* The Masters x 5 / 4 runner-ups
* 100-odd singles titles
* Career win-loss of 1072-238
* #1 for 3 years running.
:D

The only blemish is he never won Wimbledon....


It probably didn't help him very much in the tennis world when he declared he'd rather play golf and didn't even like tennis that much.

DavaiMarat
04-06-2009, 09:51 AM
Lendl has the credentials.

No one dispute his place in the all time best.

Problem is, he didn't exactly endear himself to american crowd so we villianized him.

That's fine. If he was american and no such a jerk he's be up there with Sampras/Connors in stature.

swedechris
04-06-2009, 10:22 AM
In the 80s the demonizing of him was both silly and grotesque. It was like he was an invader from an evil empire. Total BS. The guy was great..

stormholloway
04-06-2009, 10:50 AM
Pete Sampras, the greatest tennis player the game has seen so far, has a total of 12 grand slams, 7 of them were against players who not only were never number one, but players who never won a single grand slam tournament, of the remaining 5, three of them were against Andre Agassi. How many slams would Ivan have won if he had faced players of that caliber? Of the 19 Grand Slam finals, Ivan faced, players who were multiple slam winners and former number ones, 15 times.

Pete Sampras won 14 grand slams, not 12. And are you really challenging the caliber of players Sampras faced in grand slam finals? The only 3 that didn't win slams were two from Pioline and one from Todd Martin, but both those guys are definitely not fluke finalists. Lendl beat Pernfors and Mecir (twice) and neither of those guys won slams.

pc1
04-06-2009, 02:17 PM
If you asked me if a Lendl c. 1986 played a Federer in 2006, I probably would favored Lendl. More consistent on both sides.

I can't edit yet so in my previous post I meant if Lendl c.1986 played Federer ON CLAY in 2006, I would would favor Lendl.