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Benhur
03-20-2008, 06:21 PM
Some aspects of Lendl’s results are extraordinarily impressive. The Wikepedia article on him lists a bunch under the heading “Career Achievments”. I will comment only on the most striking (to my mind) but the combination of ALL the achievements listed there make him perhaps the most impressive player (result-wise) in the history of tennis after Laver.

1. He reached a record 19 grand slam finals (winning 8) at a time when the 4 grand slams had acquired their status as the 4 most important tournaments.

2. He reached at least one grand slam final for 11 consecutive years (tied with Sampras).

In an article recently posted here, there is a very relevant comment about the nature of his GS finals, which is seldom mentioned:

http://www.1stserve.com/legacy.asp
“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.”

This is an excellent point. Who were those players? They were: Borg, Connors, McEnroe,
Wilander, Edberg and Becker

And he faced some of them in the semis of other slams. It is sometimes said that he did not face strong enough competition in his career. The facts don’t bear it out.

3. Lendl reached a far-away record of 9 straight Master’s finals (winning 5, tied with Sampras) plus 3 semifinals. The fact that the field at the Master’s contains the 8 or 12 best players for the year speaks for itself with regard to this accomplishment.

4. He reached the US Open finals 8 straight years.

5. He has the highest number of consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals appearances (14) and the second highest number of GS semifinals (10).

6. Second after Sampras in total number of weeks (270) as number one, and third after Connors and Federer in most consecutive weeks as number one.

7. Second longest winning streak (44)

8. Longest winning streak indoors (66)

9. Highest number of consecutive finals reached (18)

10. Second most tournaments won in a single year (15 in 1982; Vilas won 16 in 1977 but probably facing less strong competition).

11. Only male player to have won more than 90% of his matches in FIVE different years (this may well be the most astounding statistic of them all). And only male player to have won at least 90 matches in three different years.

12. Second most single titles (144) after Laver. Of these, only 94 are listed by the ATP, but the remaining 59 contain usually pretty strong fields, most often with 8 players or more). ATP lists Connors as the top title winner (109) admitting many tournaments that were ridiculously below the quality of those not admitted for Lendl.

Finally, let's take a look at Lendl's match record against his top contemporaries throught he 80s. We exclude Borg to be fair, because his last match with Lendl was 1981, at the very early stages of Lendl's career.

Lendl-Agassi 6-2
Lendl-Becker 11-10
Lendl-Cash 5-3
Lendl-Chang 5-2
Lendl-Connors 22-1
Lendl-Courier 4-0
Lendl-Edberg 13-14
Lendl-McEnroe 23-15
Lendl-Wilander 15-7

His only losing record against his contemporaries in the 80s is against Edberg, and it is a near tie (13-14)

The combination of all these facts (and others mentioned in the wikipedia article) leaves me completely speechless. I don’t think the weight of the facts can quite be matched.

In view of all that, Lendl has to be considered without a doubt the most systematically under-rated player in the history of the game.

Benhur
03-20-2008, 06:24 PM
Obvious mistake above in his record against Connors: It should be 22-13

vive le beau jeu !
03-20-2008, 07:23 PM
nice post ;)
Obvious mistake above in his record against Connors: It should be 22-13
also... i think the record for consecutive QF has just been beaten by roger at the AO (with 15 SF).
but still, lendl's number are extremely impressive... :)

BeHappy
03-20-2008, 07:25 PM
19 slam finals, only 8 victories, you just can't get past that, he was a choker.

superman1
03-20-2008, 07:39 PM
These drooling threads usually start off good, as an appreciation of an under-appreciated player's greatness, then the poster takes it too far. Like this implication that Sampras had lesser competition. I don't care what name you play in a Slam final - if that person is in the final, that person is playing pretty damn well at least at the moment (i.e. Gonzo, Baghdatis, Tsonga, etc). There are very few exceptions where someone was able to squeak through the draw. And being 6-2 against a cheeseburger eating teenage Agassi who couldn't bench a buck fifty isn't that significant, although it's still impressive because his talent alone got him to #3.

Still, I agree. Lendl is one of the kings. Scary mofo.

BeHappy
03-20-2008, 07:41 PM
he lost slam finals against people he routinely raped in all other competitions, that's why people say he is a choker.Connors was able to bully him, literally, on the court, and that's why he beat him.

Benhur
03-20-2008, 09:01 PM
These drooling threads usually start off good, as an appreciation of an under-appreciated player's greatness, then the poster takes it too far. Like this implication that Sampras had lesser competition. I don't care what name you play in a Slam final - if that person is in the final, that person is playing pretty damn well at least at the moment (i.e. Gonzo, Baghdatis, Tsonga, etc). There are very few exceptions where someone was able to squeak through the draw. And being 6-2 against a cheeseburger eating teenage Agassi who couldn't bench a buck fifty isn't that significant, although it's still impressive because his talent alone got him to #3.

Still, I agree. Lendl is one of the kings. Scary mofo.

Well, drooling is a strong word, and it shouldn't be applied to a series of facts, which is essentially what I posted. Facts do not drool. You can draw your own conclusions from those facts, but to my mind they are extremely telling about Lendl's stature in the game. A stature that is generally not recognized as it should be.

CyBorg
03-20-2008, 09:04 PM
Lendl started off 1-6 in grand slam finals.

Finished off 7-5. Just an fyi. The latter is much more representative of his play in finals.

BeHappy
03-20-2008, 09:17 PM
Lendl started off 1-6 in grand slam finals.

Finished off 7-5. Just an fyi. The latter is much more representative of his play in finals.

actually he finished 8-11, which is much more representetive of his play in finals.

CyBorg
03-20-2008, 09:29 PM
actually he finished 8-11, which is much more representetive of his play in finals.

Wow, thanks for that gem of insight. Another top notch post for you.

The point is that in his peak Lendl was an excellent player and easily the game's best. Once he conquered his early demons and got himself into great shape he dominated. This matters.

BeHappy
03-20-2008, 09:43 PM
Wow, thanks for that gem of insight. Another top notch post for you.

The point is that in his peak Lendl was an excellent player and easily the game's best. Once he conquered his early demons and got himself into great shape he dominated. This matters.

no, he kept on losing grand slam finals to inferior players due to his choking, he just got into more grand slam finals, that's all.

He deserved the choker tag, he earned it.



**Just to confirm, you were definitewly wrong about his w/l record in slam finals?

CyBorg
03-20-2008, 09:48 PM
no, he kept on losing grand slam finals to inferior players due to his choking, he just got into more grand slam finals, that's all.

Would you feel better if he lost in the semifinals instead and wound up with a record of, for example, 8-6? Do you realize how ******** this sounds?

He deserved the choker tag, he earned it.

He was a different player in his early years than in his peak and later years. That's the point.

**Just to confirm, you were definitewly wrong about his w/l record in slam finals?

No.

BeHappy
03-20-2008, 09:53 PM
Would you feel better if he lost in the semifinals instead and wound up with a record of, for example, 8-6? Do you realize how ******** this sounds?

No, I'd feel better if he didn't lose by choking to players he routinely raped in every other tournie throughout the year.He choked in slam finals.Fact.


He was a different player in his early years than in his peak and later years. That's the point.


So what?
So was everybody else, so was mac for that matter.Lendl just kept on choking in grand slam finals to the end.

8 consecutive finals in the USO, 3 titles.How's that for a percentage?

19 Grandslam finals, 8 wins, how's that for a percentage?


No. You're just not very bright.

So by the end of his career did he win 8 grandslams and lose 11 as I said he did?

Or did he finish his career 7 grandslam titles to his name and 5 losses as you said he did?

LOL ;)

WWWWRRRRRROOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

silly noob ;)

Wuornos
03-20-2008, 10:01 PM
no, he kept on losing grand slam finals to inferior players due to his choking, he just got into more grand slam finals, that's all.

He deserved the choker tag, he earned it.





I always hear this as a criticism of Lendl. But surely if this is used as a negative way to evaluate players and to dismiss their claim to greatness, it should also mean that players who have a positive score in Major finals should be evaluated in a better light and it should be used to make their claim to greatness e.g. Wilander 7-4 and Newcombe 5-2.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I believe that Grand Slam final balance should be used like this. To be honest I don't think its a very good baromoter of talent at all as the sample of matches is far to small for much empahis to be placed upon it. I am simply pointing out the inconsistencies in the logic of many posters on here who consider something evidence for or against the greatness for one player but then dismiss it as irrelevant for another.

Personally I prefer the ELO rating system which at least treats all players in the same way.

Regards

Tim

Wuornos
03-20-2008, 10:04 PM
Would you feel better if he lost in the semifinals instead and wound up with a record of, for example, 8-6? Do you realize how ******** this sounds?



He was a different player in his early years than in his peak and later years. That's the point.





Absolutely. I couldn't agree with these points more. Exactly why a player's balance in GS finals cannot be used as an overall baromoeter of talent.

Well said Cyborg.

Tim

Wuornos
03-20-2008, 10:07 PM
In view of all that, Lendl has to be considered without a doubt the most systematically under-rated player in the history of the game.

Yes I would agree with that assesment. Please see my post on the ELO Rating of players of the Open Era.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=178992

Regards

Tim

bluetrain4
03-20-2008, 10:10 PM
"“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.”

This article must have been written before Sampras was retired, since it says sampras has 12 slams. As we all know, Sampras finished with 14. In his last 2 Slams, he beat Pat Rafter (at the 2000 Wimbledon), a 2-time Slam champ, and Agassi ( at the 2002 USO), an 8-time Slam champ

BeHappy
03-20-2008, 10:10 PM
the issue is not whether lendl was a truly great player, it is whether he deserved the tag of choker.

HE lost matches on important occassions to players he routinely beat throughout the year, so how is he not a choker Wuornos?

Also, since he was the world number 1 for such a long time, he had the easiest draws to the final.

Take Nadal's path to the wimbledon final for example.It is silly to view the round reached ina a competition as an achievement when we have a seeding system.

Wuornos
03-20-2008, 10:30 PM
the issue is not whether lendl was a truly great player, it is whether he deserved the tag of choker.

HE lost matches on important occassions to players he routinely beat throughout the year, so how is he not a choker Wuornos?

Also, since he was the world number 1 for such a long time, he had the easiest draws to the final.

Take Nadal's path to the wimbledon final for example.It is silly to view the round reached ina a competition as an achievement when we have a seeding system.

I'm not sure I understand your original point then. If we are saying that having the tag of 'choker' is not a criticism of a players greatness, then what was the point you were making in relation to the OPs point of his claim to greatness.

I sort of agree with your point on round achieved which is why I prefer the ELO system which ignores the round achieved and places its only emphais on the player faced and result. However it seems strange to me that you should agree with me on this point and then place so much emphasis on Lendl's results in a single round of Majors, i.e the final. For example we all know that Lendl was 19 - 9 in Semi Finals which sorts of turns round the final thing if we are dismissing the relevance of round played.

Can you confirm that you believe the round is irrelevant and being a 'choker' is not a criticism of a players greatness? I'm confused as this now sounds to me to be the opposite of the point you were making before. Which was to only consider the final round of a major and to use the 'Choker' argument as an answer to a posters thread regarding Lendl's claim to greatness.

Regards

Tim

Benhur
03-20-2008, 10:38 PM
Yes I would agree with that assesment. Please see my post on the ELO Rating of players of the Open Era.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=178992

Regards

Tim

I am somewhat familiar with the ELO rating system in chess, especially the fact that it has proven to be a very reliable predictor of results between players over a series of games. Not sure how this translates into tennis, since it is clear that some player's games don't match up well against specific players. But on a purely intuitive basis, I very much agree that the top 5 in your ELO list (Federer, Lendl, Laver, Sampras and Borg) make sense from an ELO perspective, where overall performance against the strength of the competition is what matters. I am surprised to see Wilander so high up, though I know he was extremely consistent in his peak years, and especially to see Courier slightly above Rosewall and Connors, but that's what you get when you let numbers tell the story. It's still all pretty tight, with only 73 points separating #12 Connors from #1 Federer.

Benhur
03-20-2008, 10:46 PM
the issue is not whether lendl was a truly great player, it is whether he deserved the tag of choker.

HE lost matches on important occassions to players he routinely beat throughout the year, so how is he not a choker Wuornos?

Also, since he was the world number 1 for such a long time, he had the easiest draws to the final.

Take Nadal's path to the wimbledon final for example.It is silly to view the round reached ina a competition as an achievement when we have a seeding system.

Your points don't make much sense to me. On the one hand you place paramount weigth on winning "important" matches (i.e. GS finals) and on the other you dismiss the round that a player reaches in a competition in favor of the seeding system. Your second point in particular (that the number 1 seed has automatically the "easiest draw to the final") is remarkably silly.

urban
03-20-2008, 11:12 PM
The haul of 144 overall titles is amazing. Lendl must be the most consistent player ever (at least of the open era), who could hold a high standard of play over a very, very great amount of time.For almost a decade he had almost no sub par performance. Problem was, that he could not accelerate on the big occasions.

Mike Bulgakov
03-20-2008, 11:49 PM
The haul of 144 overall titles is amazing. Lendl must be the most consistent player ever (at least of the open era), who could hold a high standard of play over a very, very great amount of time.For almost a decade he had almost no sub par performance. Problem was, that he could not accelerate on the big occasions.
I agree. From what I have heard, Lendl would succumb to nerves on big occasions early in his career. Late in his career, guys like Becker and Edberg had an extra gear that Lendl could not match. Lendl had a great career and gave it everything he had. He should have no regrets.

bluetrain4
03-21-2008, 12:28 AM
I agree. From what I have heard, Lendl would succumb to nerves on big occasions early in his career. Late in his career, guys like Becker and Edberg had an extra gear that Lendl could not match. Lendl had a great career and gave it everything he had. He should have no regrets.

Yet, Becker and Edberg have 6 Slams each compared to Lendl's 8 (of course Edberg and Lendl may very well be tied at 7 if Edberg didn't have to default in the 1990 AO final, but that's beside the point).

Even if Becker and Edberg showed less nerves in their Slam finals, Lendl had the game to get to many more Slam finals than Becker and Edberg. So despite his nerves, he has more Slams.

I am a fan of all three.

msunderland71
03-21-2008, 01:35 AM
I'd rather choke in the final than the 1st round!
How many 1st round slam losses did Lendl have compared to his rivals? I'd guess less than all of them. Anyone care to look it up?

So who were the big 1st round chokers? That is a better indication of choking as the 1st round opponent of the big-name players would have all been ranked rather low in comparison.

BeHappy
03-21-2008, 07:22 AM
was lendl or was he not a choker?

he lost 11 slam finals compared to only 8 wins, most of those were to inferior players that he routinely beat throughout the year.How can someone with that type of record not be legitimately called a choker?

Tennis old man
03-21-2008, 07:22 AM
O yes, Lendl is a looser. Aer you crazy or what? Come on! So Borg is a looser for the US finals lost? No, no, not agree... Maybe is better to loose in QF or SF, you're not a chocker then, ha!

BeHappy
03-21-2008, 07:26 AM
no, lendl was incredible, but he unargueably deserved to be called a choker because, more often than not, he did.

Benhur
03-21-2008, 08:10 AM
no, lendl was incredible, but he unargueably deserved to be called a choker because, more often than not, he did.

That's only because you automatically equate every loss with a choke and you don't seem to have the slightest clue how those matches palyed out. You just keep repeating your 8-11, 8-11, 8-11 mantra in moronic loops. You sound like a rather stupid person by the kind of comments you make. Lendl didn't 'choke' to Borg in the 1981French final; he was beat in a tight match. He didn't choke to Connors in the 1982 USO either; Connors played a superb match and beat him, like he had beat McEnroe at Wimbledon earlier that summer. Lendl didn't choke to McEnroe in the 1984 USO; he played pretty well, actually, but still lost. And so on. You remind me of some poster's on live matches. Whenever a player goes for a big shot and misses, or fails to consolidate a break, he is said to be automatically "choking." Choke seems to be the most commonly used *empty* word in tennis. Of course sometimes nerves do play a bigger role than others. But even if *some* of those losses in finals could be attribued to nerves (the 1983 USO final to Connors, for example) -- as somebody aptly said here: I'd rather choke in the final than in the first round.

And the fact that he is 7-5 in his last 12 slam finals , as Cyborg mentioned, DOES reflect better on his performance once he reached full tennis maturity after beating McEnroe in the 85 USO final.

I hope your response is not going to consist in repeating your magic idiotic formula "8-11 = choke" once again. We have already heard you say that many times.

BeHappy
03-21-2008, 09:20 AM
fact is, he routinely beat the guys he lost to in slam finals throughout the year, when he got in slam finals he tended to play at a lower level than usual because he was nervous, ie, he choked.

Zimbo
03-21-2008, 09:52 AM
fact is, he routinely beat the guys he lost to in slam finals throughout the year, when he got in slam finals he tended to play at a lower level than usual because he was nervous, ie, he choked.

I agree that Lendl choked some of those early GS finals (USO vs Connors) but eventually got over the mental hump. He lost a lot of finals not because he choked but because his opponents raised their game and out played him. He did not choke. One of the reason why Lendl was suck a great player was because he was so consistent (non GS events) throughout the calender year. This is where he would according to you "he routinely beat the guys he lost to." He got to so many finals because of this consistency, however in those GS finals his opponents (who were not as consistent throughout the year) raised their game. Dude looked who he lost to in those finals. Those are all time greats.

oberyn
03-21-2008, 10:12 AM
fact is, he routinely beat the guys he lost to in slam finals throughout the year, when he got in slam finals he tended to play at a lower level than usual because he was nervous, ie, he choked.

Check out John Feinstein's book, Hard Courts. He and others have argued that one of Lendl's characteristics was that the quality of Lendl's game didn't fluctuate that much. You didn't see Lendl rising to the occasion in big moments, but you also didn't see him flaming out in the early rounds either.

That is, the level of Lendl's play wasn't going to be much different in the finals of the U.S. Open than it was in the finals of a relatively minor tournament.

Another way of saying this is that rather than blaming Lendl for losing to guys he beat on smaller stages, why not analyze why these other guys who had the game to compete with Lendl on these smaller stages were less prepared, less focused, etc. at these smaller events.

So, while Lendl's not going to beat Boris Becker in the 1986 Wimbledon Final, he's also not going to lose, like Becker, in the 2nd round of Wimbledon in
1987.

Whether you agree with this or not, looking at the guys to whom he lost in Slam finals, I don't see him losing to too many stiffs. Then look what he did to first-time slam finalists like Mecir when he faced them. He beat the hell out of them.

Lendl's first 4 majors.

1981 French Open- Bjorn Borg
1982 U.S. Open - Jimmy Connors
1983 U.S. Open - Jimmy Connors
1983 Australian Open - Mats Wilander

The 5-set loss to Borg in 1981 goes without saying. How can this be considered a choke?

Lendl's performance against Connors was one of his weaker efforts in a slam final, but I still don't see where losing to Connors in a U.S. Open Final is, in and of itself, a sign of choking.

As for the loss to Wilander, well, contrary to popular belief, Wilander was a pretty good grass court player, particularly in Australia. He won back-to-back on grass there. And in 1983, he beat Lendl after having beaten no less of a grass court player than John McEnroe in the semis!

1984 U.S. Open - John McEnroe

Hmm, let's see. How does losing to John McEnroe at his best constitute a choke? McEnroe lost 3 matches in 1984. One of those three was to Lendl, who came back from 2 sets to 1 down to beat Johnny Mac in the French Open final.

1985 French Open - Mats Wilander

I wouldn't call this one a choke job, either. Wilander was playing in his third French Open final in four years. Lendl got his revenge in the 1987 French Open final.

1986 Wimbledon - Boris Becker

I don't think anyone who follows tennis would consider Lendl losing to Becker at Wimbledon to be a choke job.

1987 Wimbledon - Pat Cash

Some will tell you that Lendl could have put up more of a fight in the second set. Others will tell you that Cash was playing the best grass court tennis of his life for the entire fortnight. Cash lost one set the entire tournament, and it wasn't to Lendl, Connors, or Wilander. How is Lendl losing in straights to Cash considered a choke job, but 2-time defending champion and #1 seed Boris Becker gets a pass in the choke department despite losing to the immortal Peter Doohan in the second round? :shock:


1988 U.S. Open - Mats Wilander

Lendl lost in 5 sets to the guy who finished the year number one. He lost the first set and the third set, so what about this match constituted a choke? He was never "ahead"!

1989 U.S. Open - Boris Becker

Lendl lost tiebreakers in the first and fourth sets. Considering that this was Becker at his best and Lendl on the downside I don't see how this is a choke.

1991 Australian Open - Boris Becker

Becker was the higher ranked player! At this point in their respective careers, how is this a choke by Lendl? An indication of his declining level of play is the fact that he never made another Slam final.

Benhur
03-21-2008, 11:06 AM
fact is, he routinely beat the guys he lost to in slam finals throughout the year, when he got in slam finals he tended to play at a lower level than usual because he was nervous, ie, he choked.

The only GS final loss by Lendl that I can attribute mostly to his being tight is the 1983 USO final against Connors. Lendl was a distinctly better player than Connors that year. He fell apart after he lost the third set, no doubt.

But that's all as far as chokes. His loss to Borg in the 1981 FO was a loss against the best clay player of the day, whom Lendl pushed to 5 sets. Not a "choke"

In his loss against Connors in 1982, he ran into the Connors of old in full revival mode, for whom 82 was one of his top years, if not his top year. Connors was a guy capable of rasing his game to special occasions, and he played well and deserved to win.

I didn't see his 1983 AO final against Wilander, but Wilander was very good that year (winning 10titles) and Wilander had just beat McEnroe in the semifinals, on grass. How many people beat McEnroe on grass (or on any other surface for that matter) in 1983-84? Do you know? So I don't see why that would be a "choke" by Lendl. Again, he ran into a hot player.

His 1984 USO loss to McEnroe - well, what can you say. McEnroe was at the peak of his powers that year. Enough said. No need to "choke" to lose to McEnroe in 1984.

His 1985 loss to Wilander at the French. Again steady Wilander on top of his game, on clay, could handle anyone in the mid 80s.

His losses to Becker and Cash at the 86-87 Wimbledon finals. Why attribute them to chokes? These were top gasscourt players on top of their games then.

And so on down the list. In sum, aside from the 1983 loss to Connors, "choking" is not what beat him. Very good players playing very well is what beat him. Get that through your head and stop assuming that every loss in a final is by definition a "choke." It isn't.

I am not denying that chokes happen. They do. We have all see players clearly losing it at times. I once saw Mecir so incredibly nervous he could not serve overhead and had to serve underhand for a couple of games. Lendl's most clear bout of mental blockage happened against Chang in the 1989 FO quarterfinals. (But since that wasn't a final, I guess it does not qualify as choke to you.)

His GS final losses can be easily explained without resort to "choking", which wasn't visible at all, except as noted in 1983 against Connors.

Benhur
03-21-2008, 11:17 AM
Check out John Feinstein's book, Hard Courts. He and others have argued that one of Lendl's characteristics was that the quality of Lendl's game didn't fluctuate that much. You didn't see Lendl rising to the occasion in big moments, but you also didn't see him flaming out in the early rounds either.

That is, the level of Lendl's play wasn't going to be much different in the finals of the U.S. Open than it was in the finals of a relatively minor tournament.

Another way of saying this is that rather than blaming Lendl for losing to guys he beat on smaller stages, why not analyze why these other guys who had the game to compete with Lendl on these smaller stages were less prepared, less focused, etc. at these smaller events.

So, while Lendl's not going to beat Boris Becker in the 1986 Wimbledon Final, he's also not going to lose, like Becker, in the 2nd round of Wimbledon in
1987.

Whether you agree with this or not, looking at the guys to whom he lost in Slam finals, I don't see him losing to too many stiffs. Then look what he did to first-time slam finalists like Mecir when he faced them. He beat the hell out of them.

Lendl's first 4 majors.

1981 French Open- Bjorn Borg
1982 U.S. Open - Jimmy Connors
1983 U.S. Open - Jimmy Connors
1983 Australian Open - Mats Wilander

The 5-set loss to Borg in 1981 goes without saying. How can this be considered a choke?

Lendl's performance against Connors was one of his weaker efforts in a slam final, but I still don't see where losing to Connors in a U.S. Open Final is, in and of itself, a sign of choking.

As for the loss to Wilander, well, contrary to popular belief, Wilander was a pretty good grass court player, particularly in Australia. He won back-to-back on grass there. And in 1983, he beat Lendl after having beaten no less of a grass court player than John McEnroe in the semis!

1984 U.S. Open - John McEnroe

Hmm, let's see. How does losing to John McEnroe at his best constitute a choke? McEnroe lost 3 matches in 1984. One of those three was to Lendl, who came back from 2 sets to 1 down to beat Johnny Mac in the French Open final.

1985 French Open - Mats Wilander

I wouldn't call this one a choke job, either. Wilander was playing in his third French Open final in four years. Lendl got his revenge in the 1987 French Open final.

1986 Wimbledon - Boris Becker

I don't think anyone who follows tennis would consider Lendl losing to Becker at Wimbledon to be a choke job.

1987 Wimbledon - Pat Cash

Some will tell you that Lendl could have put up more of a fight in the second set. Others will tell you that Cash was playing the best grass court tennis of his life for the entire fortnight. Cash lost one set the entire tournament, and it wasn't to Lendl, Connors, or Wilander. How is Lendl losing in straights to Cash considered a choke job, but 2-time defending champion and #1 seed Boris Becker gets a pass in the choke department despite losing to the immortal Peter Doohan in the second round? :shock:


1988 U.S. Open - Mats Wilander

Lendl lost in 5 sets to the guy who finished the year number one. He lost the first set and the third set, so what about this match constituted a choke? He was never "ahead"!

1989 U.S. Open - Boris Becker

Lendl lost tiebreakers in the first and fourth sets. Considering that this was Becker at his best and Lendl on the downside I don't see how this is a choke.

1991 Australian Open - Boris Becker

Becker was the higher ranked player! At this point in their respective careers, how is this a choke by Lendl? An indication of his declining level of play is the fact that he never made another Slam final.

Good points. I just saw your post now, and realized I just made some of the same points you did. As I noted earlier, "choking" is a much overused word in tennis.

Moose Malloy
03-21-2008, 11:25 AM
1985 French Open - Mats Wilander

I wouldn't call this one a choke job, either. Wilander was playing in his third French Open final in four years. Lendl got his revenge in the 1987 French Open final.


Nice post, but I saw this recently, & would call it a choke. Lendl was a huge favorite, he breezed to the final, while Wilander struggled(& he didn't have a great clay season, while Lendl had a great one)

The commentators were shocked at how passive/nervous Lendl was in that match, & Wilander said Lendl wasn't at his best afterwards.

I think the '85 USO was more of a turning point for Lendl than '84 FO, actually.

I didn't see his 1983 AO final against Wilander, but Wilander was very good that year (winning 10titles) and Wilander had just beat McEnroe in the semifinals, on grass.

I've also seen this somewhat recently, it has a very casual feel to it, certainly not like a FO or USO final from that time period. Even though the AO got better players by then, its atmosphere still didn't feel like a slam final. Afterwards Lendl didn't seem all that concerned that he lost, & wasn't even sure if would return in '84(said he would if he could fit it into his schedule)

Agree with everything else, Connors was on fire in '82, that may have been the best match of his career.

Lendl just making the W finals in '86/'87 was a big deal, I certainly wouldn't call either loss a choke, the 80s were like a golden age as far as there being a lot of guys who could play on grass, yet Lendl was able to make the final twice, by S&Ving on both 1st & 2nd serves! And he never came in on either serve the rest of the year on any other surface, so talk about a great effort.

I'm surprised you didn't mention how great Lendl was on all surfaces in your op. I imagine his win % on all 4 is higher than most players of the last 20 years.

I have Tennis magazine's surface rankings from '82-'93, in that time he was the only player to be #1 on hardcourt, clay, & indoors throughout a season(there were others who were #1 on hardcourt, grass, & indoors, but those 3 are somewhat similar, having someone that great on clay be that great indoors/hard as well, was pretty rare)

Just look at Wilander, great on clay, so-so indoors. Becker great indoors, so-so on clay. And on & on.

Benhur
03-21-2008, 12:29 PM
I'm surprised you didn't mention how great Lendl was on all surfaces in your op. I imagine his win % on all 4 is higher than most players of the last 20 years.

I have Tennis magazine's surface rankings from '82-'93, in that time he was the only player to be #1 on hardcourt, clay, & indoors throughout a season(there were others who were #1 on hardcourt, grass, & indoors, but those 3 are somewhat similar, having someone that great on clay be that great indoors/hard as well, was pretty rare)

Just look at Wilander, great on clay, so-so indoors. Becker great indoors, so-so on clay. And on & on.

Good point. One of the stats given in the wikipedia article says that he was the only player to have won three tournaments in three consecutive weeks on three different surfaces: 1985 Fort Myers (hardcourt). Monte Carlo (clay). Dallas WCT Finals, (indoor carpet). [and changing Continents from one week to the next too]

Also, I am sure when he had that incredible run of 18 consecutive finals in 81-82 he must have done it in different surfaces also.

Moose Malloy
03-21-2008, 12:57 PM
Just looked up his record by surface(from the atp site, so who knows how accurate it is)

winning % by surface:

83% - hard & Carpet
81% - clay
76% - grass

I wonder how many have had a 75+ win % on 4 different surfaces(& he played at least 100 career matches on all 4 surfaces)

Zimbo
03-21-2008, 02:05 PM
Nice post, but I saw this recently, & would call it a choke. Lendl was a huge favorite, he breezed to the final, while Wilander struggled(& he didn't have a great clay season, while Lendl had a great one)

The commentators were shocked at how passive/nervous Lendl was in that match, & Wilander said Lendl wasn't at his best afterwards.


Hey Moose I recently saw this match again also. I agree that he played a little passive but I wouldn't consider it a choke. Mats mixed it up well and had the perfect strategy against Lendl. His game plan didn't allow Lendl to get comfortable. In other words Mats got into his head and caused him to play passive and poorly. We all know Mats wins a lot of his matches via strategy and mental toughness. That said I can see why you would consider it a choke job but I just don't. Playing poorly to me is different then choking. Wilander overall physical and mental game caused a lot of players to not play up to their full potential. Remember that Lendl himself stated that Mats was the best player he had to deal with on clay throughout his career and he played many great players.

I totally agree with Benhur, Lendl's only true choke job was the '83 USO against Connors.

Benhur, Moose, and Obryn you guys should stop trying to convince BeHappy. He's never going to listen to sound logic and reason. Just remember he's the guy that stated that Henman was as good as Edberg.

CyBorg
03-21-2008, 02:35 PM
No one ever calls Connors a choker, but boy did he ever blow some big ones early in his career. But, look, his GS record is a tidy 8-7 (with a lot of semifinal losses).

BeHappy
03-21-2008, 05:56 PM
Yet, Becker and Edberg have 6 Slams each compared to Lendl's 8 (of course Edberg and Lendl may very well be tied at 7 if Edberg didn't have to default in the 1990 AO final, but that's beside the point).

Even if Becker and Edberg showed less nerves in their Slam finals, Lendl had the game to get to many more Slam finals than Becker and Edberg. So despite his nerves, he has more Slams.

I am a fan of all three.

But that's the whole point, becker and Edberg weren't half as good as Lendl was.

Obviously Lendl getting to 19 finals and winning only 8 grandslams is more impressive than winning 8 out of 9 for eg, but it does illustrate that he choked in GS Finals.

Lendl is probably my favourite player of all time BTW, but to deny this is ridiculous.

His choking is why he cannot be said to be arguably better than someone with a comparable record, such as Federer for eg, who is having a similar prime to Lendl's but isn't choking to the players he routinely beats troughout the year.

CyBorg
03-21-2008, 07:33 PM
But that's the whole point, becker and Edberg weren't half as good as Lendl was.

Obviously Lendl getting to 19 finals and winning only 8 grandslams is more impressive than winning 8 out of 9 for eg, but it does illustrate that he choked in GS Finals.

Lendl is probably my favourite player of all time BTW, but to deny this is ridiculous.

His choking is why he cannot be said to be arguably better than someone with a comparable record, such as Federer for eg, who is having a similar prime to Lendl's but isn't choking to the players he routinely beats troughout the year.

So he's a choker because he's not as good as Federer? Very few players are as good as Federer and it has been demonstrated that Lendl has had 'maximum' only two finals where he truly underachieved. The rest of the time he either won or lost when playing very well.

In other words, you're a stupid troll who feeds on ******* people off and everyone here knows it. So please sod off.

AndrewD
03-21-2008, 08:41 PM
1. He reached a record 19 grand slam finals (winning 8) at a time when the 4 grand slams had acquired their status as the 4 most important tournaments.

The 4 major events, the 'slams', acquired their status as the most important tournaments back in the 1930's, that's why they made a fuss over the 'Grand Slam'.

oberyn
03-22-2008, 06:06 AM
Nice post, but I saw this recently, & would call it a choke. Lendl was a huge favorite, he breezed to the final, while Wilander struggled(& he didn't have a great clay season, while Lendl had a great one)

The commentators were shocked at how passive/nervous Lendl was in that match, & Wilander said Lendl wasn't at his best afterwards.

I guess where I disagree with the word choke being applied here (though I think it comes the closest of any of Lendl's finals losses) is because:

1. This wouldn't be the first or the last time Wilander just took someone out of their rhythm in a big match; and
2. To me, choking still requires an element of having a match on your racket at some point and not being able to close the deal. I think there has to be more to it than just having a bad day at the office.

I think the '85 USO was more of a turning point for Lendl than '84 FO, actually.

I agree with you 100% on this point.

I've also seen this somewhat recently, it has a very casual feel to it, certainly not like a FO or USO final from that time period. Even though the AO got better players by then, its atmosphere still didn't feel like a slam final. Afterwards Lendl didn't seem all that concerned that he lost, & wasn't even sure if would return in '84(said he would if he could fit it into his schedule)

Very good points.

Agree with everything else, Connors was on fire in '82, that may have been the best match of his career.

Yeah, I think one can criticize Lendl's effort in 1983 (still wouldn't call it a "choke"), but definitely not 1982.

I have Tennis magazine's surface rankings from '82-'93, in that time he was the only player to be #1 on hardcourt, clay, & indoors throughout a season(there were others who were #1 on hardcourt, grass, & indoors, but those 3 are somewhat similar, having someone that great on clay be that great indoors/hard as well, was pretty rare)

That's amazing.

Benhur
04-08-2008, 02:29 PM
Would you feel better if he lost in the semifinals instead and wound up with a record of, for example, 8-6? Do you realize how ******** this sounds?


This is a very good observation. It gives me an idea. I like the ancient method of argumentation called "reductio ad absurdum" -- taking an argument and following its logic wherever it may lead.

So, in this case, since Lendl is accused of being a "choker" because of his record 19 GS finals with 8 GS titles, we may improve his image by having him lose in the semis of all the GS tournaments where he was runner-up. That way he would have a perfect 8-0 GS record in GS finals.

But this would still leave the stain of a poor ("choking") semifinal record. So let's have him lose earlier. And earlier. And earlier still. The most positive thing that could have happened to him is that he lost in the FIRST ROUND of all the GS tournaments where he was runner-up.

Come to think of it. There is an even better solution. He would have been better off NOT ENTERING any of the GS tournaments where he ended up as runner-up.

BETTER STILL!! He would have been absolutely perfect if he DID NOT ENTER any of the GS tournaments that he didn't win. That way, his GS match record would be a mind-boggling 56-0. No stains whatsoever!

Isn't that marvelous as far as reasoning goes?

vive le beau jeu !
04-08-2008, 03:08 PM
That way, his GS match record would be a mind-boggling 56-0. No stains whatsoever!

Isn't that marvelous as far as reasoning goes?

that's precisely why i don't enter any slam for preserving my ultimately perfect 0-0 record. ;)

ExPro1963
04-08-2008, 03:32 PM
he lost slam finals against people he routinely raped in all other competitions, that's why people say he is a choker.Connors was able to bully him, literally, on the court, and that's why he beat him.

I'll tell you something that you folks probably dont know about Connors and lendl, on court in the early years connors was the man and it showed but as lendls game started to flower ( as much as Lendls game could) the relality was off court, Connors was scared of Lendl. during a semi final match at the london indoor in 1984, there was a verbal altercation between the two, when it got back to the locker room, lendl was walking around in adidas warm up pants, his tennis shoes and nothing else he was carrying a racket in his hand and every time he walk past connors he'd slap the racket against his own leg and smile at connors. he did this a few times, grinning broader each time and the other players in room was watching what was going on and watching connors reaction and he just stood at his locker folding and unfolding this one towel about fifty times and nervously looking over his should every time Lendl walked by and slapped his leg with the racket, finally andres gomes told lendl to knock it off and lendl still smiling walked up to connors and stood behind him for a second or two then smashed and broke the racket on the ground directly behind connors, left it on the floor and went back to his locker whistling. Jimmy went on to beat lendl in the final of tokyo that year and that was the last time Connors ever won.

BeHappy
04-08-2008, 07:27 PM
I'll tell you something that you folks probably dont know about Connors and lendl, on court in the early years connors was the man and it showed but as lendls game started to flower ( as much as Lendls game could) the relality was off court, Connors was scared of Lendl. during a semi final match at the london indoor in 1984, there was a verbal altercation between the two, when it got back to the locker room, lendl was walking around in adidas warm up pants, his tennis shoes and nothing else he was carrying a racket in his hand and every time he walk past connors he'd slap the racket against his own leg and smile at connors. he did this a few times, grinning broader each time and the other players in room was watching what was going on and watching connors reaction and he just stood at his locker folding and unfolding this one towel about fifty times and nervously looking over his should every time Lendl walked by and slapped his leg with the racket, finally andres gomes told lendl to knock it off and lendl still smiling walked up to connors and stood behind him for a second or two then smashed and broke the racket on the ground directly behind connors, left it on the floor and went back to his locker whistling. Jimmy went on to beat lendl in the final of tokyo that year and that was the last time Connors ever won.

wimbledon 1984

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=8V32aAOnVKs

see what I mean by bullying on the court?

That's an amazing story BTW, are you really an ex pro or did you hear i second hand?

edmondsm
04-08-2008, 07:31 PM
Lendl and Agassi were not contemporaries. Lendl got all those wins before 1990, Agassi was an up and comer.

ExPro1963
04-08-2008, 10:39 PM
wimbledon 1984

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=8V32aAOnVKs

see what I mean by bullying on the court?

That's an amazing story BTW, are you really an ex pro or did you hear i second hand?

I saw it my self. I was in the room when it happened.

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-09-2008, 06:27 PM
Some aspects of Lendl’s results are extraordinarily impressive. The Wikepedia article on him lists a bunch under the heading “Career Achievments”. I will comment only on the most striking (to my mind) but the combination of ALL the achievements listed there make him perhaps the most impressive player (result-wise) in the history of tennis after Laver.

1. He reached a record 19 grand slam finals (winning 8) at a time when the 4 grand slams had acquired their status as the 4 most important tournaments.

2. He reached at least one grand slam final for 11 consecutive years (tied with Sampras).

In an article recently posted here, there is a very relevant comment about the nature of his GS finals, which is seldom mentioned:

http://www.1stserve.com/legacy.asp
“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.”

This is an excellent point. Who were those players? They were: Borg, Connors, McEnroe,
Wilander, Edberg and Becker

And he faced some of them in the semis of other slams. It is sometimes said that he did not face strong enough competition in his career. The facts don’t bear it out.

3. Lendl reached a far-away record of 9 straight Master’s finals (winning 5, tied with Sampras) plus 3 semifinals. The fact that the field at the Master’s contains the 8 or 12 best players for the year speaks for itself with regard to this accomplishment.

4. He reached the US Open finals 8 straight years.

5. He has the highest number of consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals appearances (14) and the second highest number of GS semifinals (10).

6. Second after Sampras in total number of weeks (270) as number one, and third after Connors and Federer in most consecutive weeks as number one.

7. Second longest winning streak (44)

8. Longest winning streak indoors (66)

9. Highest number of consecutive finals reached (18)

10. Second most tournaments won in a single year (15 in 1982; Vilas won 16 in 1977 but probably facing less strong competition).

11. Only male player to have won more than 90% of his matches in FIVE different years (this may well be the most astounding statistic of them all). And only male player to have won at least 90 matches in three different years.

12. Second most single titles (144) after Laver. Of these, only 94 are listed by the ATP, but the remaining 59 contain usually pretty strong fields, most often with 8 players or more). ATP lists Connors as the top title winner (109) admitting many tournaments that were ridiculously below the quality of those not admitted for Lendl.

Finally, let's take a look at Lendl's match record against his top contemporaries throught he 80s. We exclude Borg to be fair, because his last match with Lendl was 1981, at the very early stages of Lendl's career.

Lendl-Agassi 6-2
Lendl-Becker 11-10
Lendl-Cash 5-3
Lendl-Chang 5-2
Lendl-Connors 22-1
Lendl-Courier 4-0
Lendl-Edberg 13-14
Lendl-McEnroe 23-15
Lendl-Wilander 15-7

His only losing record against his contemporaries in the 80s is against Edberg, and it is a near tie (13-14)

The combination of all these facts (and others mentioned in the wikipedia article) leaves me completely speechless. I don’t think the weight of the facts can quite be matched.

In view of all that, Lendl has to be considered without a doubt the most systematically under-rated player in the history of the game.


Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer are the best players ever!
Unfortunately it was BigMac, Jimbo and the U.S. Media played a big role in planting the myth that Lendl was not gifted/talented. In my opinion, the most gifted players in modern era are Federer, Sampras, and Lendl. They all have picture perfect height for tennis: around 6'1". That is a gift by itself. How tall are BigMac and Jimbo!!!

Benhur
04-09-2008, 07:46 PM
Lendl and Agassi were not contemporaries. Lendl got all those wins before 1990, Agassi was an up and comer.
True, they were from a different generation. So was Connors for that matter, but when careers overlap long enough they tempt consideration.
Lendl and Agassis's careers overlapped by 8 years, which is the length of some player's entire career.
But yes, his only true contemporaries were McEnroe (same age) and Wilander, a bit younger. Becker and Edberg can be considered as near-contemporaries. The others could be called non-contemporary long overlappers.

msunderland71
04-11-2008, 03:22 AM
Mamma mia that was a great post! Thanks for the story Francesco. You would have to be the best player ever to post on this site. Any more stories like this would be appreciated! PS I think Tokyo (October) happened before Wembley (November) according to the ATP website, so that was the start of Lendl's dominance over Connors.
Best regards

I'll tell you something that you folks probably dont know about Connors and lendl, on court in the early years connors was the man and it showed but as lendls game started to flower ( as much as Lendls game could) the relality was off court, Connors was scared of Lendl. during a semi final match at the london indoor in 1984, there was a verbal altercation between the two, when it got back to the locker room, lendl was walking around in adidas warm up pants, his tennis shoes and nothing else he was carrying a racket in his hand and every time he walk past connors he'd slap the racket against his own leg and smile at connors. he did this a few times, grinning broader each time and the other players in room was watching what was going on and watching connors reaction and he just stood at his locker folding and unfolding this one towel about fifty times and nervously looking over his should every time Lendl walked by and slapped his leg with the racket, finally andres gomes told lendl to knock it off and lendl still smiling walked up to connors and stood behind him for a second or two then smashed and broke the racket on the ground directly behind connors, left it on the floor and went back to his locker whistling. Jimmy went on to beat lendl in the final of tokyo that year and that was the last time Connors ever won.

FedForGOAT
04-13-2008, 12:22 AM
8. Longest winning streak indoors (66)



I'm pretty sure McEnroe has the longest indoors winning streak.

daddy
04-13-2008, 05:57 AM
It amases me how people like to choose who they think is a good tennis player and who is not. And I just read what someone else wrote here about Marcelo Rios. Granted a good player but people were mentioning his nr1 ranking and 18 titles and how so few of the guys were ever nr1 in tennis and how Rios should be respected. Regardless of the talent and everything else which is subjective, I wonder who will tell me this is not true :

1 - Lendl is a scary good player, one of the best ever
2 - His numbers are amasing, statistics lies but not if you calculate it for 11 years
3 - Lendl had some pretty harsh competition to face during his pro playing years, if not the hardest ever. At least 3 goat contenders played along ( not including himself ).

Anyone thinks this is not correct ?

So if people say 'you should respect Rios' does that mean I have to adore and bow down to Lenld ? Odd that people do not realise this.

hoodjem
04-13-2008, 06:05 AM
So who's better: Rios or Lendl?

daddy
04-13-2008, 06:23 AM
So who's better: Rios or Lendl?

Joking ? 10 chars.

zagor
04-13-2008, 06:29 AM
So who's better: Rios or Lendl?

Rios shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence as Lendl.

hoodjem
04-13-2008, 06:33 AM
That's what I thought.

daddy
04-13-2008, 06:40 AM
That's what I thought.

Well I didn't understand if you were picking or serious. Rios should not be underestimated, he had special hands and feel, but he is arguably the worst ever player to be nr1 but surely one of the biggest underachievers in tennis ever. If nothing else surely the nr1 who held on to the spot for the shortest time and has achieved less than any other. Fact is many players like Vilas and Nadal achieved much much more yet never reached the top.

Lendl however is a true Legend of the sport with a big L. Ivan The Terrible was a unique animal, the kind never seen before or after.

hoodjem
04-13-2008, 06:54 AM
Sorry. I just got pummeled on another thread for not worshipping "Marcelo God Rios". (He thought I was demeaning South America. Heck, I didn't know anything about Rios, much less that he was from Chile.)

Yes, Lendl was a great champion, with an amazing record. As high as he is, I think he is underestimated.

I read his book, and it truly helped my game: excellent on grips and particuarly on topspin BH.

daddy
04-13-2008, 07:10 AM
Sorry. I just got pummeled on another thread for not worshipping "Marcelo God Rios". (He thought I was demeaning South America. Heck, I didn't know anything about Rios, much less that he was from Chile.)

Yes, Lendl was agreat champion, with an amazing record. As high as he is, I think he is underestimated.

I read his book, and it truly helped my game: excellent on grips and particuarly on topspin BH.

Chile is interesting country. Anyways besides their famous general and political things, they are pretty famous for good tennis players. I do not think Rios is demeaning for South America, you have people like him everywhere. Shame is that he never lived up to the expectations. As for the Lendl, most idiotic comments Ive heard in tennis are about this man. Overachiever ? Whoo, and this written in many US magazines ? He was overachieving for 15 years, that has to be a deal with the devil ? What a bunch of BS.

hoodjem
04-13-2008, 07:33 AM
Agreed, Lendl was at the highest level for a long time.

I was truly amazed that Vilas was not No. 1 at some point. Unbelievable!
How many GS titles did Vilas win, and he was not No. 1--makes no sense to me.


I think outside of Borg, the best clay court players are from South America. Quite a tradition there.

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-13-2008, 09:36 AM
It amases me how people like to choose who they think is a good tennis player and who is not.

1 - Lendl is a scary good player, one of the best ever
2 - His numbers are amasing, statistics lies but not if you calculate it for 11 years
3 - Lendl had some pretty harsh competition to face during his pro playing years, if not the hardest ever. At least 3 goat contenders played along ( not including himself ).



Speechless, I have not read anything this objective for a while.

Benhur
06-10-2008, 06:18 PM
double post double

Lendl and Federer Fan
06-10-2008, 10:08 PM
Some aspects of Lendl’s results are extraordinarily impressive. The Wikepedia article on him lists a bunch under the heading “Career Achievments”. I will comment only on the most striking (to my mind) but the combination of ALL the achievements listed there make him perhaps the most impressive player (result-wise) in the history of tennis after Laver.

1. He reached a record 19 grand slam finals (winning 8) at a time when the 4 grand slams had acquired their status as the 4 most important tournaments.

2. He reached at least one grand slam final for 11 consecutive years (tied with Sampras).

In an article recently posted here, there is a very relevant comment about the nature of his GS finals, which is seldom mentioned:

http://www.1stserve.com/legacy.asp
“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.”

This is an excellent point. Who were those players? They were: Borg, Connors, McEnroe,
Wilander, Edberg and Becker

And he faced some of them in the semis of other slams. It is sometimes said that he did not face strong enough competition in his career. The facts don’t bear it out.

3. Lendl reached a far-away record of 9 straight Master’s finals (winning 5, tied with Sampras) plus 3 semifinals. The fact that the field at the Master’s contains the 8 or 12 best players for the year speaks for itself with regard to this accomplishment.

4. He reached the US Open finals 8 straight years.

5. He has the highest number of consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals appearances (14) and the second highest number of GS semifinals (10).

6. Second after Sampras in total number of weeks (270) as number one, and third after Connors and Federer in most consecutive weeks as number one.

7. Second longest winning streak (44)

8. Longest winning streak indoors (66)

9. Highest number of consecutive finals reached (18)

10. Second most tournaments won in a single year (15 in 1982; Vilas won 16 in 1977 but probably facing less strong competition).

11. Only male player to have won more than 90% of his matches in FIVE different years (this may well be the most astounding statistic of them all). And only male player to have won at least 90 matches in three different years.

12. Second most single titles (144) after Laver. Of these, only 94 are listed by the ATP, but the remaining 59 contain usually pretty strong fields, most often with 8 players or more). ATP lists Connors as the top title winner (109) admitting many tournaments that were ridiculously below the quality of those not admitted for Lendl.

Finally, let's take a look at Lendl's match record against his top contemporaries throught he 80s. We exclude Borg to be fair, because his last match with Lendl was 1981, at the very early stages of Lendl's career.

Lendl-Agassi 6-2
Lendl-Becker 11-10
Lendl-Cash 5-3
Lendl-Chang 5-2
Lendl-Connors 22-1
Lendl-Courier 4-0
Lendl-Edberg 13-14
Lendl-McEnroe 23-15
Lendl-Wilander 15-7

His only losing record against his contemporaries in the 80s is against Edberg, and it is a near tie (13-14)

The combination of all these facts (and others mentioned in the wikipedia article) leaves me completely speechless. I don’t think the weight of the facts can quite be matched.

In view of all that, Lendl has to be considered without a doubt the most systematically under-rated player in the history of the game.




Amazing undisputable H2H records! No question Lendl is the player in his era. :)