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View Full Version : Ivan Lendl: 'The G.O.A.T'!?


Galactus
02-21-2006, 11:44 AM
No, don't laugh - I'm serious. This guy has as much right to the title as anyone. Consider:
* 8 Grand Slam titles
* 86 ATP titles
* ATP #1 for 240 weeks
* Brilliant on all surfaces, bar grass (but even then, he got to the final twice, vs. Becker, no less and the semis five times)
* 22-13 vs Connors; 21-15 vs McEnroe; 15-7 vs Wilander; 11-10 vs Becker; 6-2 Agassi; 4-0 Courier; 5-2 Chang
(the only Hall-of-Famers who got his number were Borg, Edberg and Sampras)
* 1070-238 win/loss record (81.8%)
* 270 weeks at #1 on ATP tour - all-time 2nd
* Most prize money in a single season
* Only one of four players to be #1 every week of a calender year and for 100 consecutive weeks

Given that he played in an era with the best and strongest competition, Lendl should be considered....unless somone disagrees with me with some solid facts!? :mrgreen:

Moose Malloy
02-21-2006, 11:59 AM
Very underrated player. Because he's out of the limelight, I doubt the younger generation could pick him out of a lineup(which is kinda sad considering how well-known someone like Brad Gilbert seems to be on these boards)

And since Mac has always stayed involved in the game(w/commentary), he is probably regarded higher than Lendl, which I'm not sure about.
He had longevity(which Mac didn't have) and remained a legit threat to win slams until the last 2 years of his career, which were marred by injury.

His head-to-head with Sampras & Courier is very impressive considering he first started playing in the wood racquet era. The year('91) Courier won the French & finished the year world #2, Lendl completely destroyed him in the Masters Cup(and was over 30) For those that think he didn't have the power to compete with today's players, I suggest you get that match (or his win over Sampras in Philadelphia '91) Those matches were when he was on the decline but he could still overpower anyone on his day. Plus he played with a very heavy, archaic raquet with a small head. Seeing how Mac is hitting the ball as hard as he ever did today, it would have been scary to see Lendl circa '87 hit with one of today's sticks.

He was in phenomal shape(which you would have to be to play with that racquet) winning a record 35 five setters(open era)
And for all the attention Federer(& Mac's) best winning % seasons get, Lendl was 74-6 in '86. I think he had great years in '85/'87 as well.

Chadwixx
02-21-2006, 12:03 PM
Much like with sampras lendl's inabilty to win on his off surface prevents him from being in the arguement. He was one of the greatest baseliners of all time though in my opinion. How he generated that much topspin with that little racket without misshitting is amazing.

Did lendl ever win a grass court tournament? I know he didnt win wimbledon but how about the warm up tourneys?

Moose Malloy
02-21-2006, 12:07 PM
86 ATP titles

I think he has 94 titles actually.

Most prize money in a single season

Due to inflation, I can't imagine this hasn't been surpassed.

Did lendl ever win a grass court tournament? I know he didnt win wimbledon but how about the warm up tourneys?

Lendl won Queen's a few times. He actually has grasscourt wins over Edberg, McEnroe & Becker. Was just a bit unlucky not to have won Wimbledon.

Galactus
02-21-2006, 12:20 PM
Couple of points:
a) He got the better of nearly all the other 'Hall of Famers': Connors, McEnroe, Becker, Wilander, etc, in arguably what was possible the stongest era of Open Era tennis. Sampras really only has Agassi, Courier and a fading Becker as multi-slam victims.

b) Not winning at Wimbledon. Well, I'd be happy to take 3 French opens over zero Wimbledons...even though it (Wimby) is my fave Slam and it's tradition, etc, grasscourt tournaments are all but extinct, and how many guys are as good on clay and hardcourt in any era?
Clay seems to be a much harder surface for modern-day hardcourt specialist to win on - or even get very far...not for Lendl it seems.
This isn't to say Lendl was bad on grass - he had a 81-25 record.

Moose Malloy
02-21-2006, 12:30 PM
Not winning at Wimbledon. Well, I'd be happy to take 3 French opens over zero Wimbledons...

I don't think Lendl would agree with you. In '87 he said "if I could win Wimbledon & lose all other matches all year, I would take it."
You also have to remember when Lendl was playing. In the 70s/80s, Wimbledon was a much bigger deal in every way compared to the French. Notice how Borg fell to his knees when winning Wimbledon? When he won the French, he looked like he just won the SAP Open.

and how many guys are as good on clay and hardcourt in any era?
Clay seems to be a much harder surface for modern-day hardcourt specialist to win on -

If you're talking about versatility, I agree this does seem to be very difficult(to win on clay & hard)
But throughout the history of tennis Wimbledon had always been the most prestigious, important slam. I think most historians would have a big problem anointing anyone the greatest without a Wimbledon title.

DashaandSafin
02-21-2006, 12:31 PM
People saw him as the Ivan Drago of tennis. A no emotion stoic player in the era of Mcenroe and Conners. They saw him as a East European machine that played tennis and went home, kind of like Kalkenfov. I guess thats why people not hear much about him now and he is not considered one of the GOAT.

gaspard
02-21-2006, 01:59 PM
Did lendl ever win a grass court tournament? I know he didnt win wimbledon but how about the warm up tourneys?

He won Queens two years on the trot, 1989 and 1990, playing amazing serve and volley grass court tennis on the second occasion and totally outclassing Becker, with his new Mizuno racket, in the final. Also, remember that he made the Wimbledon finals, two years in a row again, 1986 and 1987, losing to Becker and Cash respectively. He was not bad on grass. He was better on grass than Sampras was on clay.

Gaspard

Moose Malloy
02-21-2006, 02:00 PM
with his new Mizuno racket, in the final

How long did he play with that racket? I thought he played with the same racket his entire career.

VGP
02-21-2006, 02:08 PM
He switched to the Mizuno around the first half of '90....

chaognosis
02-21-2006, 02:14 PM
I don't see Lendl's 22-13 advantage over Connors as being particularly significant, since most of his wins came in 1985 and following, when Connors wasn't exactly in peak form -- Lendl in fact won their last 17 straight meetings, while Connors had won the first eight straight (1979-81). They were only truly competitive in 1982-84. During these three years, Lendl edged Connors 7-5, but Connors won the most important matches -- including especially the US Open finals in 1982 and '83. Since Connors won majors on grass, clay, and hardcourts, I'd give him the nod over Lendl.

Lendl's 21-15 record against McEnroe is more telling, since Lendl could beat McEnroe at any time -- including winning seven straight in 1981-82, not to mention the famous Roland Garros final in 1984, when McEnroe otherwise appeared unbeatable. McEnroe simply didn't match up well against Lendl's game. McEnroe was unable to sustain his peak form for very long, and he was never a great claycourt player, so I consider Lendl the greater player overall.

Moose Malloy
02-21-2006, 02:21 PM
He switched to the Mizuno around the first half of '90....

Did he switch back to Adidas?

gaspard
02-21-2006, 02:27 PM
Did he switch back to Adidas?

No, he did'nt.

Gaspard

Moose Malloy
02-21-2006, 02:30 PM
What were the difference in specs? They seemed very similar size.

gts072
02-21-2006, 02:31 PM
When Lendl first switched to Mizuno, it was still the Adidas racquet with a paintjob. He used a larger Mizuno racquet for Wimbledon.

Moose Malloy
02-21-2006, 02:41 PM
Did he just use the larger Mizuno for Wimbledon? And the paintjob the rest of the time?

I saw this in another thread:

"Both Lendl's and Becker's racquets were the same as they were using before; Lendl's Mizuno Eagle One was actually an Adidas GTX Pro-T (that Adidas actually got from Kneissl), and Becker's Estusa was a Puma Boris Becker Super, though I'm not sure if they kept the 'extendable' feature; on the Super you used a key on the buttcap to extend the racquet's length. Mizuno and Estusa simply bought the moulds from the previous companies"

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=66174

Matt Riordan
02-21-2006, 03:11 PM
Lendl also used a third racquet for a time at the end of his career - I remember him using a black frame against Todd Martin in the '93 Tokyo final. Not sure what it was though... any ideas..?

urban
02-21-2006, 03:32 PM
Lendl had a very heavy ball. In the excellent book by Eliot Berry 'Topspin' written in 1993/4, some players say, that they fear the heavy groundstrokes of Lendl even more than the forehand of Courier or Agassi, then in their primes. And it was in a time, when Lendl couldn't move anymore with his bad back. As it is said, he owned Courier and Agassi. I also think, that Lendl was a pretty good grass courter. He won Wimbledon as a junior and was in 7 or 8 semis there, and lost only to some of the best grass courters. Unfortunately he peaked too soon at Queens, i saw him beating there Mac, Edberg and Becker in one run - all in straight sets. His lone weakness was his mind, he looked strong, but was mentally weak, maybe due to his East European backround (not unlike Martina). In his younger days he tried all things to look hard, even wore total black dresses. And he tried to hit the other guy right between the eyes (he won Masters vs. Vitas with such a hit). Connors and Mac (and later Becker)explored his mental liability, as the famous 'chicken'-incident indicates. He was in 8 USO finals running, big thing, but he lost 5 of them on his best surface. These losses, especially vs. Connors, Becker and Wilander hurt him in the long run. But i respect his pride very much, he was a wonderful Nr.1, defending his position on all surfaces und under all conditions, even in small tournaments.

Grimjack
02-21-2006, 03:40 PM
...he looked strong, but was mentally weak, maybe due to his East European backround...

WTF? I guess you hear a new ethnic stereotype every day, if you expose yourself to enough viewpoints. Gotta admit, "East European" = "mentally weak" is a new one on me. Good luck with that.

...even wore total black dresses...

This, however, is no surprise. I remember Lendl's cross dressing days well. Quite a tabloid sensation back then.

urban
02-21-2006, 03:58 PM
I don't mean it at all in an ethnic sense. Martina herself describes in her book, that she had a sort of inferiority complex, when confronting the US darling Chrissie, which had to do with the different socio-cultural climate in the then Socialistic system of the CSSR and in the West. Lendl was a very intelligent man, who spoke several languages, but he had difficulties to deal with the quite aggressive US players. McEnroe gives several examples of his verbal abuse of Lendl in his book.

West Coast Ace
02-21-2006, 04:36 PM
Not buying the GOAT argument. He was very good for a number of years and probably should be rated in the 5th to 10th position all times. But no W title is a killer - especially with the effort he put into it. And his record against the other players is somewhat deceiving: he caught many of those players before their prime. And as was already mentioned, Connors long after his prime. Connors would have eaten him for lunch if they'd both been in their primes. And in JMac's defense, he was never the same after Borg suddenly retired - I think JMac lost some interest - and started wasting time on women and pharmaceuticals.

That was one very solid one handed backhand. But then he had the goofy 80 ft. service ball toss so many Eastern Europeans had (have).

Galactus
02-22-2006, 03:14 AM
Some interesting points raised by everyone.
Firstly, that Wimbledon (as I've already personally stated) seems to still be 'the G.O.A.T' of Slams tournaments. I think, though in Lendl's defence, he peaked on grass simultaneously to when one of the most natural grasscourt players with massive serve, appeared: Boris Becker.
Furthermore, to make things even tougher, one of the most natural grasscourt serve-and-volleyers appeared soon after: Stefan Edberg.
Probably 4 of his 8 Grand Slam wins aren't considered too 'big' either: Mikael Pernfors, Miloslav Mecir (twice) and Edberg (who retired).

Secondly, the Connors Factor - okay, from 1979-81, Connors was still a massive force in tennis and as Lendl was an upcoming guy, 8 straights defeats could be taken into similar context as Agassi's 3 straight wins over Federer from 1998-2003? (or something along those lines, anyway).
Maybe Connors is higher? Consider:
* 8 Grand Slam titles
* 97 ATP titles
* ATP #1 for 240 weeks
* 1222-269 win/loss record (82%)
* 268 weeks at #1 on ATP tour - all-time 3rd
* Brilliant on all surfaces, bar clay (but even then, he got to the French Open semi-final 4 times and had a respetcable 157-40 record on clay )
* Another one of four players to be #1 every week of a calender year (3 times) and currentrly #1 for consecutive weeks with 160

He does, however fall short in comparison with his contemporaries (bar Roche, Laver, Smith, Ashe, etc):
9-12 vs Nastase
8-13 vs Borg
14-20 vs McEnroe
13-22 vs Lendl
0-6 vs Becker

This can be attirubuted to the fact that the last 3 guys in this list started to routine Connors when he was past his best (i.e. Connors was 7-3 vs McEnroe at 1980 and as someone already pointed out, 9-1 vs Lendl in '82).

So, as your replies and further fact-finding offr the question: Does Connors 'out-GOAT' Lendl??? :mrgreen:

urban
02-22-2006, 03:43 AM
Galactus, i would personally rank Connors a bit higher than Lendl, because of the reasons you named, especially his two USO wins, when Lendl had all advantages on his side. The head-to-head thing is interesting. I would say, that Ilie Nastase in head-to-head-series, and in terms of peak performance, was the best player of the 70s, especially 1972-1975. He blew Borg off the court at his own ground 1, 2 and 1 or something, Stockholm 1975, to win Masters. But he was prone to early exits by lesser players at the big tournaments. Connors had difficulties with Nastase, because he was his mentor and friend and knew his game inside-out. I think, they separated, when Connors, to upset Nastase in a match, referred to an earthquake in Rumania, that destoyed Nasty's home.

Aussie Baseliner
02-22-2006, 03:50 AM
I grew up watching Lendl he was like a machine , he didn't look like a natural tennis player per say . I admired his game no end and tried to emulate his style pf play as much as I could , let's just say it didn't work . I also admired a player by the name of Micheal Pernfors ? does anyone have a link or remember him ?

Galactus
02-22-2006, 04:04 AM
I grew up watching Lendl he was like a machine , he didn't look like a natural tennis player per say . I admired his game no end and tried to emulate his style pf play as much as I could , let's just say it didn't work . I also admired a player by the name of Micheal Pernfors ? does anyone have a link or remember him ?
Yeah - I mentioned him in my post above: Lendl beat him at Roland Garros final - didn't he sport a really severe Army crewcut??

rhubarb
02-22-2006, 04:25 AM
Yeah - I mentioned him in my post above: Lendl beat him at Roland Garros final - didn't he sport a really severe Army crewcut??

Yep. He still plays on the seniors' tour occasionally - I saw him in London a couple of years ago. Wasn't he originally a product of the US college system?

Galactus
02-22-2006, 04:33 AM
Yep. He still plays on the seniors' tour occasionally - I saw him in London a couple of years ago. Wasn't he originally a product of the US college system?
I don't know about that but I do distinctly remember him losing in a classic 5-setter against Connors in the 5th round of Wimbledon '87 after winning 1st 2 sets really easily...

rhubarb
02-22-2006, 04:34 AM
That's right, leading 6-1 6-1 4-1 iirc. One of Connors' great turnarounds.

legolas
02-22-2006, 02:38 PM
only has 8 slams........

spirit
02-22-2006, 05:15 PM
I have to admit, I don't usually include Lendl in my list of possible candidates for GOAT, but after reading this thread and recalling watching Lendl in his prime, I'm convinced that I have been slighting him. I don't think he could come out on top in a GOAT contest, but he probably should be included in the list - to be considered. If he had won Wimbledon, even once, (and he came very close) he certainly would be on almost everyone's list of possible GOAT candidtates.

Wonder how he would have fared in his prime against the likes of Laver, Richard "Pancho" Gonzalez, and Tilden in their primes. Wonder how he would have done against Roger Federer.

Yours!05
02-22-2006, 05:52 PM
I grew up watching Lendl he was like a machine , he didn't look like a natural tennis player per say . I admired his game no end and tried to emulate his style pf play as much as I could , let's just say it didn't work . I also admired a player by the name of Micheal Pernfors ? does anyone have a link or remember him ?You bet. he makes a few appearances in this thread: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=77131&highlight=pernfors
But I mainly remember his DC match v. Cash:)

TENNIS_99
02-22-2006, 06:01 PM
My fisrt live pro tennis game was watching Lendl playing someone(might be Brian Teacher). And that was the first time I witnessed DTL serve could bang so loud hitting the back curtain. And that was when I gave up my dream to become a pro tennis payer.:mrgreen:

West Coast Ace
02-22-2006, 06:33 PM
So, as your replies and further fact-finding offr the question: Does Connors 'out-GOAT' Lendl??? :mrgreen:Another factore: Connors wasn't allowed to play the French when he was on a roll in '74 because he signed with World Team Tennis. He did make the semis at the French 4 times. Connors didn't play the AO after '75.

It's hard for me to rank Connors because I was so turned off by his on court behavior. But I can't ignore his amazing career - to play the level that he did in his late 30's was incredible.

jings
02-23-2006, 03:09 AM
WCA - sorry I'm picking up a few of your posts recently but Connors was mild compared those around him and those that followed him. Hewitt, albeit I can't stand his on court persona, is way worse. McEnroe somehow I found more acceptable - he was just nutty from the get go. Connors was the Nick Faldo of the yester-game - took dedication, application and no little skill to the limit and took a few prisoners along the way. my 2c.

Moose Malloy
02-23-2006, 09:25 AM
WCA - sorry I'm picking up a few of your posts recently but Connors was mild compared those around him and those that followed him. Hewitt, albeit I can't stand his on court persona, is way worse.

lol. Let me guess you only started following tennis after Connors retired & have only seen the PG-13 rated clips that have been recycled for nostalgia.
For example:
Connors simulating masturbation with his racket. This happened a lot.
Connors telling an umpire to "at least kiss me before you **** me like that"
This also happened a lot.
Connors cursing at his opponent on court-usually something along the lines of - ***got, ********er, etc.
Connors often committed more offensive acts in one match than Hewitt has in his entire career. Today's players are all perfect gentleman in comparison.

Yeah that Connors was "mild" alright.

mj01
02-23-2006, 11:00 AM
If anyone here is a baseball fan, you might have heard of Bill James. James is a baseball historian/number-cruncher who has come up with fascinating ways to evaluate players.

Anyway, one of his concepts in rating a player is career value versus peak value. Someone like Pete Rose, who played at a high level for a long, long time, runs up superb career totals, but was never as good at his peak as many other players with lesser career numbers. Conversely, someone like Sandy Koufax had a really brief career, but was clearly the absolute best pitcher in the game for the 5-6 years that constituted his peak. His career numbers don't match many players who were never that good at their peak, but had far longer careers.

I think Lendl tends to be forgotten because he has a high career value, but a lesser peak value than someone like McEnroe or Borg. Yes, Lendl was #1 for a long time, but he was never seen as a dominant #1 in the manner of Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras (who has the high peak value and the high career value), or Federer. In McEnroe's (short) prime, he was an absolutely huge favorite in any fast-surface tournament he played. Compare that to Lendl, who COULD win almost any tournament (on any surface he played) for a period of about 7 years, and was almost always A favorite, but was rarely an OVERWHELMING favorite. I think that has a lot to do with why history has been somewhat unkind to Lendl.

chaognosis
02-23-2006, 11:30 AM
I think Lendl tends to be forgotten because he has a high career value, but a lesser peak value than someone like McEnroe or Borg. Yes, Lendl was #1 for a long time, but he was never seen as a dominant #1 in the manner of Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras (who has the high peak value and the high career value), or Federer. In McEnroe's (short) prime, he was an absolutely huge favorite in any fast-surface tournament he played. Compare that to Lendl, who COULD win almost any tournament (on any surface he played) for a period of about 7 years, and was almost always A favorite, but was rarely an OVERWHELMING favorite. I think that has a lot to do with why history has been somewhat unkind to Lendl.

If Lendl isn't ascribed a similar "peak value" to that of Connors, Borg, or Sampras, then I think that is a misconception on the part of the fans -- and probably has more to do with Lendl's lack of popularity than his actual dominance in the mid-1980s. During his peak three-year stretch of 1985-87, Lendl put up numbers every bit as impressive as Borg's (1978-80), Sampras's (1993-95), or even Federer's (2003-2005). He may never have had a season like McEnroe's 1984, but very few have; and Lendl was probably not as talented as Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, or Federer, but again, very few are. In terms of both peak and career performance, Lendl compares favorably to any player of the Open Era.

Moose Malloy
02-23-2006, 11:54 AM
was almost always A favorite, but was rarely an OVERWHELMING favorite. I think that has a lot to do with why history has been somewhat unkind to Lendl.

The guy was 84-7 in '85, 74-6 in '86, 74-7 in 87, 79-7 in '89. He lost only one set each in winning the '85, '86, '87 US Open & '86 French Open.

He was an overwhelming favorite to win majors, but you just weren't paying attention.

Here were the scores of the '87 US Open, his 3rd straight title there:

6-0 6-0 6-0
6-4 6-2 6-2
6-1 6-1 6-2
6-2 7-6 6-4
6-3 6-3 6-4
6-4 6-2 6-2
6-7 6-0 7-6 6-4

He was ranked #1 for 157 straight weeks, 2nd only to Connors' 160. Borg's longest streeak was 46 & Mac's was 58.

urban
02-23-2006, 12:03 PM
I agree with that evaluation of Lendl, who had - i would say - a 5 year level, favorably comparable to all other top players of open era. Regarding Lendl (and Connors and Mac for that matter), i often ask me the question, why these players have won so "few" majors, in comparison to their very high numbers of overall titles won and very high winning percentages. They won a third of titles more than Sampras (or Agassi) for instance, but have 'only' almost half the majors won. The pre open pros hadn't the opportunity to win more majors, still Laver and Rosewall have more or the same number. Didn't the guys of the 70s and 80s go for the majors number as most important goal? The lack of participation in the AO indicates that. Was the money more important than the major titles? Lendl in his younger days played the dying WCT circuit for big money and skipped Wimbledon, late in his career he went for Wimbledon as it were the holy gral. Connors amost won the GS in 1974, but after his losses 1975 never went for the whole circle again. Maybe in retrospect, they made a mistake, not focussing more on the majors in their careers.

mj01
02-23-2006, 12:29 PM
The guy was 84-7 in '85, 74-6 in '86, 74-7 in 87, 79-7 in '89. He lost only one set each in winning the '85, '86, '87 US Open & '86 French Open.

He was an overwhelming favorite to win majors, but you just weren't paying attention.

Here were the scores of the '87 US Open, his 3rd straight title there:

6-0 6-0 6-0
6-4 6-2 6-2
6-1 6-1 6-2
6-2 7-6 6-4
6-3 6-3 6-4
6-4 6-2 6-2
6-7 6-0 7-6 6-4

He was ranked #1 for 157 straight weeks, 2nd only to Connors' 160. Borg's longest streeak was 46 & Mac's was 58.

You (and chaognosis) very well could be right. Tennis isn't numbers driven like baseball is, so its very possible that Lendl was every bit as dominating as other greats, but people just weren't paying attention because he lacked glamour and charisma.
Call it US media bias, or whatever, but I simply don't remember many tournaments where the storyline was "can anyone beat Lendl?". Maybe some of those US Opens in the mid-late 80's after he finally broke through, but other than that, not so much.

And I'm not saying Lendl is being rated fairly. I would tend to agree that his accomplishments, career-wise and at peak, tend to be underplayed for a whole variety of reasons. I don't think I'm wrong, though, in concluding that part of the reason he's not included in GOAT conversations is because (fairly or not) he was never viewed as being as dominant at his peak as some other #1's.

galain
02-23-2006, 01:01 PM
While I'm a huge Lendl fan I don't think he's the GOAT. Even by his own admission he states his career is nothing compared to Sampras'. But guys - comments like these...

"Yes, Lendl was #1 for a long time, but he was never seen as a dominant #1"

"that part of the reason he's not included in GOAT conversations is because (fairly or not) he was never viewed as being as dominant at his peak as some other #1's."

Who never saw him as dominant. You had players like Gomez deciding to have a go at the French only when they found out Lendl wasn't going to be there. When he beat McEnroe to win his first US Open and start his ownership of the #1 position his confidence and self belief won him many matches before a ball was struck. I don't know how he can't be considered a "dominant" #1. At his peak he was a feared player.

Moose Malloy
02-23-2006, 01:09 PM
Yeah good point galain. I think Gomez actually thanked Lendl for not playing the French that year, so he "would have a chance at winning!"

mj01
02-23-2006, 01:18 PM
While I'm a huge Lendl fan I don't think he's the GOAT. Even by his own admission he states his career is nothing compared to Sampras'. But guys - comments like these...

"Yes, Lendl was #1 for a long time, but he was never seen as a dominant #1"

"that part of the reason he's not included in GOAT conversations is because (fairly or not) he was never viewed as being as dominant at his peak as some other #1's."

Who never saw him as dominant. You had players like Gomez deciding to have a go at the French only when they found out Lendl wasn't going to be there. When he beat McEnroe to win his first US Open and start his ownership of the #1 position his confidence and self belief won him many matches before a ball was struck. I don't know how he can't be considered a "dominant" #1. At his peak he was a feared player.

Perception versus reality. We're talking about why people don't include him in the conversation. That's perception. Perception can be wrong.

The reality is that he probably should at least be mentioned. I'm not denying that.

Regarding the perception that he wasn't dominant, a lot of that has to do with Wimbledon, and a lot of it has to do with the arc of his career. He had a long period in the spotlight before becoming #1, a lot of losses in the US Open before he broke through. And his game was viewed as robotic and unexciting.

The funny thing about Lendl is that despite the fact that he lagged far behind Connors, Borg, and McEnroe in terms of popularity, his playing style, and especially training methods, are in many ways the prototype for the modern power game. Not many players today look like Connors, Borg, or McEnroe did on the court, but a lot of them look like Lendl.

VictorS.
02-23-2006, 07:09 PM
Just to add to the conspiracy theory:

People seem to always discuss Lendl's lack of talent as a given. But was this really the case? The guy could rip a forhand or backhand just about as hard as anyone we've ever seen (CONSISTENTLY). Is that not a talent in and of itself? People seem to associate talent with....great footwork, good hands at the net, fluid strokes. I think guys who hit the hell out of the ball often get their talents overlooked.

Tennis_Monk
02-23-2006, 07:16 PM
Lendl was never rated higher than McEnroe or etc. Thats just US Media for us. Mcenroe had more court antics that media favoured. Lendl focussed on his Game.

I watched these guys games. Each of them exceptionally good players. But i would vote Lendl ahead of McEnroe. However i rank Andre , Pistol Pete, Goran ivanisevic over all other players .......They belong to my Era!!.

jings
02-23-2006, 09:02 PM
lol. Let me guess you only started following tennis after Connors retired & have only seen the PG-13 rated clips that have been recycled for nostalgia.
For example:
Connors simulating masturbation with his racket. This happened a lot.
Connors telling an umpire to "at least kiss me before you **** me like that"
This also happened a lot.
Connors cursing at his opponent on court-usually something along the lines of - ***got, ********er, etc.
Connors often committed more offensive acts in one match than Hewitt has in his entire career. Today's players are all perfect gentleman in comparison.

Yeah that Connors was "mild" alright.

I'm a bit older than that Moose. I never saw Connors play live sadly so probably missed out on some of the more colourful language as court mic's didn't always pick it up so well. I say Connors is mild because I recall a lot of the time he worked the crowd with his various jokes and gestures (don't remember the racquet handle one particularly) and was more conspiratorial with them. In today's antisceptic ATP all that has been drummed out / fined or both from players. Rightly or no I find Hewitt's behaviour far harder to deal with - c'mon ing double faults and passing shots that have barely got by the opponent. To get Blake of all people to start immitating it in a match suggests it gets under players skin far more than a few four letter words.

Yours!05
02-23-2006, 09:15 PM
but Connors was mild compared those around him and those that followed him. Hewitt, albeit I can't stand his on court persona, is way worse.
Not even closelol. Let me guess you only started following tennis after Connors retired & have only seen the PG-13 rated clips that have been recycled for nostalgia.
For example:
Connors simulating masturbation with his racket. This happened a lot.
Connors telling an umpire to "at least kiss me before you **** me like that"
This also happened a lot.
Connors cursing at his opponent on court-usually something along the lines of - ***got, ********er, etc.
Connors often committed more offensive acts in one match than Hewitt has in his entire career. Today's players are all perfect gentleman in comparison.

Yeah that Connors was "mild" alright.Moose knows.