Lendl: the Madison´s King

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lendl holds the record at the MSG for the Masters tournament.Except Borg, who beat him in his first final, in 1980, he did beat all other contemporary greats: Mac in the 1982 Final and the 1981 and 1988 semifinals, Gerulaitis in his first title there, the epic 1981 final, Boris Becker to whom he lost the other epic final of the decade´s Masters, in 1988, but beat him two consecutive years ( 1985 and 1986) and Jimmy Connors in various semifinals.Three consecutive semis.He also blasted away Wilander in the 1987 final.He played ALL the finals from 1980 till 1988.Amazing.

    Of course, he beat other players, such as Noah,Gomez,Vilas ( twice), Gene Mayer and, as said, only Borg remained out of reach even if they could only play once, since Borg retired at the end of 1981.

    Indoor conditions, no wind, regular but very fast bounce, and the fact that he was sharper at the start of the year than his opponents, suited him so well.His thundering serve and Fh were never as dominating as in the blue carpet.

    How could he do it? What made the difference? WHAT KEPT HIM GOING?
     
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  2. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Lendl's demolition of Wilander in 1987 final may have been the best and most flawless performance of his career. He was incredible that day.

    It was very impressive that he had winning records over both Mac (3-2) and Connors (4-1) at the event.

    He really beat Mac badly there in 1981 and 1982, although Mac returned the favour in 1983 and 1984. He also completely outclassed Connors there in 1982 and 1983. Their 1984 semi there was tight and tense though. Lendl couldn't close out the second set and looked to have collapsed in the 3rd set before recovering to the win the final 5 games.

    After the match Lendl said of his incentive to beat Connors that day, 'You can triple it when you play someone who wasn't treating you sportsmanlike before.' Connors replied, 'Does he deserve to be treated like a sportsman? I think anyone who has a reputation in big matches like he does has to prove himself to me first.' Great stuff.

    Lendl would go on to beat Connors every time they played each other after that.
     
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  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Golden era hot rivalry, can you imagine it today?

    I vividly recall that 84 match, Connors had it won but Lendl showed he was one of the best comebackers the sport has ever witnessed.

    Yes, the 87 final may have been Lendl´s indoor peak.But his 82 semis and final wins over Connors and Mac were equally impresive since Wilander was not such a good indoor player as the two left handed americans.
     
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  4. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes overall Lendl's 1982 title was more impressive, given the way he beat Noah, Connors and McEnroe without losing a set. To pummel both Connors and Mac so badly, back to back on carpet in New York, is a very impressive achievement. He only dropped a combined total of 14 games in that SF and F. Against Mac, he served and passed incredibly well as you would expect, but he also looked excellent at the net that day I seem to recall.

    Also in 1986, he blitzed through Edberg (who had won their previous match at Tokyo Indoor), Gomez, Noah (who had beaten him that year at Forest Hills), Wilander and Becker without losing a single set, to cap off the best season of his career. Becker had beaten him 3 times that year at Chicago, most importantly Wimbledon and Sydney Indoor, while he had won their match at Stratton Mountain. So beating Becker so convincingly in the final to avoid ending the season with a 1-4 h2h against him must have been a welcome relief.

    During both his 1982 and 1986 title runs, I think he wasn't even taken to a tiebreaker in any of the sets he played there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
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  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, 1982 Lendl was the best indoor player of the year, having won so convincingly the Masters and the WCT Championship,as well as 10 or 12 regular tour tourneys.

    Lendl had been raised up much on indoors in Ostrava.He probably played indoors in the fall and winter ( it is damn cold in the Czech Republic) and clay in spring and summer.

    1986 was a great year for Lendl, 1987 too.
     
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  6. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    ...says Connors, who lost 6 out of 7 slam finals he played from 1975 AO - 1978 W.
     
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  7. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Lendl was absolutely phenomenal indoors the whole year in 1982. By my count he won 13 indoor titles that year, including by the far the two most important ones at Dallas and the Masters, 7 other WCT/Grand Prix titles, plus the unsanctioned but big money and important Toronto Molson Challenge, Melbourne Mazda Super Challenge, Antwerp ECC and Rosemont Challenge of Champions just before the Masters.

    Also by my count he had 6-1 record against Mac indoors in 1982, and a 3-0 record against Connors.

    He beat Mac in the Molson Challenge final in 4 sets, Dallas final in 4 sets, Sydney AKAI Gold Challenge RR in 5 sets, Barcelona Europe vs. Americas event in 3 sets, ECC final in 4 sets and the Masters final in a straight sets demolition. Mac did beat him easily in their RR match at the Challenge of Champions. However Lendl went on to win that event anyway so the defeat was pretty much meaningless. That was his only defeat to Mac in their 9 tournament matches in 1982.

    He beat Connors in straight sets in their Molson Challenge RR match, the Challenge of Champions final in 4 sets and demolished him their Masters SF.

    I do think that Lendl's approach was and still is the best way for a youngster to train during their development years, mixing up playing outdoors on clay when the weather is good, to work on point construction, repetition of hitting shots, clay court movement etc, and playing indoors during winter to develop their attacking game.
     
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  8. big ted

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    lendl did have a high toss which he didnt have to worry about indoors since theres no wind or sun i think that helped him alot
     
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  9. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    I thought you behaved in a sportsmanlike way because you value sportsmanship, just as you tell the truth because you are honest, or practice any other virtue because you value that virtue. I did not realize that the other person somehow has to earn your proper treatment of them.

    But, of course, we are being reminded of what kind of person Jimmy Connors was. Every once in a while, we need to drag up one of his old stories or quotes so that we don't forget.
     
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  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, that is a factor that Ivan Lendl counted much for
     
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  11. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    Are you counting 1983 Chicago for 1982? Lendl won there in early 83. Connors beat Mcenroe in early 82. I get it with the masters because they were the season ending championship for the previous year, but I never thought of Toronto or Chicago that way. I do remember that Chicago used to be played the week before the Masters.
     
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  12. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes I think 1983 Chicago should count for 1982, given that it was played just before the Masters.

    To me it would make no sense for instance to count Chicago in January 1983 as part of the 1983 season, but then the Masters a week later as part of 1982 season. Either they both count towards 1982 or both towards 1983, but no mix and match. Given that the Masters was a culmination of the season and players qualified based on results from the prior calendar year, I've always thought that it made more sense to count the January 1983 Masters as part of 1982, January 1985 Masters as part of 1984 etc. Chicago or any other tournaments played before the Masters should be regarded the same way IMO.

    Toronto is completely different. It was played in February each year and a month or so after the Masters, so it should definitely count towards the same season as the calendar year it was played in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    U nfortunately, we only had three Chicago tournaments if I recall properly.In 81 Mac beat Connors 6-1,6-2,6-4 with Tanner and Gerulaitis being beaten in the semis.

    In 82, Connors won that torrid five seter 6-7,7-5,6-7,7-5,6-4
    Mac beat Lendl 7-6,6-1 in the semis and Connors surpassed Gerulaitis in a close match 7-6,4-6,7-5 in the other semifinal
    In 83, Lendl beat Connors 4-6,6-4,7-5,7-5, while Connors beat Mc Enroe in one of the semifinals and Lendl beat Borg in the other one.

    There were non exhibitions in those times.They played their best.
     
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  14. Fedinkum

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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    #15
  16. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I may be wrong but Im not sure its called 'The Madison' too often
     
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  17. Goosehead

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    lendl beat McEnroe in 1989 SF, not 1988..

    1989 was the only year after his post 1985 slump that supermac qualified for the masters cup/world tour finals.
     
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  18. Goosehead

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    in the 1980s when the masters/wtf was in the January it always was included in the previous years tourneys as it was the so-called season ending championships..

    as absurd as it was, so yes mac won the 1984 masters in jan 1985,

    but did his victorys in the 84 masters (held in jan 85) go towards his 82-3 1984 season :confused::confused:

    what a confusing farce all of this was..:shock: luckily for sports fans sanity.. the aust open moved, the masters/wtf moved to its current nov/dec slot and the wct stopped after 1989..

    leaving us post 1989 with a more coherent season..in the 1970s and 1980s it was an unbelievable mess..i didn't have a clue what was what as a kid in the uk in the 80s.
     
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  19. big ted

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    do you know if that chicago tournament is the same one where mcenroe beat his brother in the finals in 90 or 91?
     
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  20. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    What a disagreeable bunch these 80's guys were! Lendl wasn't much better either, he loved his cruel practical jokes and asking his opponents in the locker-room whether they were ready to get their butts kicked and the like. But Connors probably takes the cake.
     
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  21. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes the tour was absolute chaos back then, with such ridiculous tournament scheduling. To make things worse the Masters/YEC despite being so important didn't even offer ranking points until 1990, and the WCT Finals didn't offer points either.

    The ATP calendar is far from perfect nowadays (though the third week in between RG and Wimbledon from 2015 is a great move), but things were much, much worse back then. It was even worse in the 70s with numerous play bans, boycotts etc at the majors, and several conflicting circuits/events competing with each other.
     
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Don´t think so.Rosemont last year was 1983 or 1984 at most.
     
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  23. Mr.Lob

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    As a youth Agassi felt snubbed by Connors, as Agassis dad strung Connors racquets. Agassi wrote about his dislike for Connors in his book.

    Always remember funny quote from Mack, saying he had more talent in his little finger than Lendl did in his whole body.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
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  24. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Becker beat McEnroe in the 1989 SF, not Lendl. Lendl played Edberg and lost.
     
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  25. Top Jimmy

    Top Jimmy Semi-Pro

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    I'd love to see Lendl play today's pushers :)
     
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  26. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I think the comment was mostly related to the infamous "tank job" Lendl pulled against Connors several years earlier at the Masters. He deliberately lost to Connors so he would not have to face Borg in the semis.
     
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  27. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Yup, it made his already effective serve much more consistent. He was a very fine indoor player, probably the best next to Becker, taking nothing away from Mac and Connors, who were also damn good.
     
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  28. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    One would have to rate Lendl over Becker indoor. Lendl had 7 Indoor majors (Masters/WCT Finals) to 5 indoor majors (Masters/WCT Finals/Grand Slam Cups) for Becker.

    Lendl reached 9 Masters finals in a row! He and McEnroe were the co-number 1's indoor for the 1980's decade.
     
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  29. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I also rate Lendl over Becker indoors, as the number of titles he won under a roof, including important ones, was just staggering, as was his overall consistency and dominance on the surface. Officially he won 42 indoor titles, but overall he won over 70, including 5 ECC titles, multiple titles at the Suntory Cup, Molson Light Challenge, Challenge of Champions etc.

    In 1982 and 1985 he was incredibly dominant indoors winning both the Masters and WCT Finals plus a shed load of other big events.

    I think that their indoor h2h is 7-6 to Lendl, including their 1991 Antwerp SF (I don't know of any other times they played each other in unofficial events). The 33 year old Lendl beat the 25 year old Becker in their final match indoors (or on any surface) at Tokyo in 1993. He also beat a 22 year old Sampras on carpet at Philly that year (and 1993 was one of the very best years of Sampras's career).
     
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  30. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    But if the OP said he was the "MSG King," Lendl would have been accused of taking PEDs.

    Who knew Monosodium Glutamate---the flava enhance-a!---was a banned substance? Maybe he just REALLY liked Chinese food.
     
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  31. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I believe Becker has a higher win percentage on carpet than Ivan....in terms of accomplishments at indoor events, you could place him ahead of Boris...he was incredibly dominant.
     
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  32. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    According to official ATP stats, on carpet Lendl's record was 267-56 (82.7%), and Becker's was 258-64 (80.1%). Overall indoors, Lendl's record was 344-71 (82.9%) and Becker's was 297-75 (79.8%). So officially Ivan played 43 more indoor matches than Becker, but still suffered 4 fewer defeats.

    Those stats don't even include Lendl's vast unofficial indoor activity as well, with his 30 or so additional indoor titles I would would bet that if you were to include all of Ivan's matches indoors, official or unofficial, his winning % would be even higher, win all the victories he racked up.

    Becker was also phenomenal indoors of course and isn't that far behind, but I think that Ivan leads him in enough categories to be classed as the slightly better indoor player, a better winning %, more ATP sanctioned titles, considerably more titles overall, more Masters/YEC titles, a positive indoor h2h overall, a positive h2h in Masters/YEC matches etc

    Still they had an excellent indoor rivalry.
     
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  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Another great indoor player was Ilie Nastase.He won his 4 Masters on carpet, beating okker ( and Newcombe in the semis),Connors,Borg,Smith twice.Curiously enough, he lost the only non carpet final he played, on a 5 sets battle against Vilas at 74 Melbourne.Amazing.He fared much worse, however, at the WCT Finals; he played the 74,77 and 78 events and al¡ways lost in the opening match.Maybe he didn´t like Texas BBq.

    and, of course, Vitas Gerulaitis had a great indoors record.1 WCT title + 2 semis; 2 Masters finals, a lot of GP/WCT titles, finals or semis.His game was perfectly suited to indoors and some of the best exos had him on court.
     
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