Sampras, Lendl's protege?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Tenny, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. Tenny

    Tenny Professional

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    I just watched their 1990 USO battle (Sampras in 5 sets). Although Lendl's on court demeanour wasn't that adorable, after the defeat which must have been bitter, he kindly patted on Pete's shoulder. Also, Pete listed his stay at Lendl's and practice with him one of this memorable moments.

    What's the relationship? Why would Lendl invite this young hotshot to his home?

    T.
     
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  2. don knot

    don knot Rookie

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    Yeah, Sampras used to go stay with Lendl and train with him on his home courts. I gotta believe Lendl had a big influence in Pete's "pickiness" with his frames. Lendl was the pro to really take his equipment seriously (frames matching etc.)
    I once read a long time ago, that Lendl would take a young Pete down to his basement put him on the stationary bike, turn off all the lights and leave him there for a couple hours:)
    That's hard-Core!
     
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  3. driger

    driger Banned

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    don't think there was any. lendl was not known for sociallizing with other tour members.
     
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  4. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    I think in "Winning Ugly" Brad Gilbert said that Lendl would invite him over to pratice with him, but stopped once their matchups got more intense and competitive.
     
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  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Don Knott is right. Pete was invited one time to stay and train with Lendl for a week or so. This arrangement was to provide Lendl with a sparring dummy (lol) and to provide Pete with a chance to learn from the best. It's very common for top pros to take top juniors or rookie pros on as hitting partners.

    Pete reported afterward that Lendl almost killed him(with on court and off court conditioning) but that he learned something about the commitment of a top level pro. Lendl reported to Pete Fischer that Pete was talented but lazy. This worried Fischer as Fischer felt that if Pete wouldn't work hard under him or Pete's father or Ivan Lendl, then he might never work hard.
     
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  6. jun

    jun Semi-Pro

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    actually sampras did spend a week at lendl's house training.

    I remember Lendl said that he didn't think Sampras had the discipline to get to the top b/c he didn't want to work too hard.
     
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  7. sliceroni

    sliceroni Professional

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    When you look at it, both had undeniable similarities in their games. Elevated elbow prep on the fh side, two of the most deadliest running fh ever, Lendl had a more solid bh, Pete more comfortable at net and better serve, although Lendl was one of the bigger servers behind Becker, Forget and a few others. Pete was sort of an upgraded Lendl, now Federer is pushing it to the next level w/ no weaknesses in the stiff racquet era.
     
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  8. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Pete himself proclaimed his stay with Lendl as a pivotal part of his development. He was amazed at the level of intensity and dedication that Lendl showed, and got a good glimpse of just what it took to be the worlds greatest player.
     
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  9. Brian Purdie

    Brian Purdie Semi-Pro

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    I would bet Lendl didn't see Sampras as a threat at all, and did not expect to teach anything. Datacipher is correct that Pete was a dummy who happened to be the most talented unknown American player of the time. It made perfect sense to bring him to CT.
     
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  10. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I think you are right Brian. I doubt Lendl was particularly interested in Pete, he just needed a hitting partner. But it's a win-win situation in that the youngster get's to pick up some things and be exposed to tennis greatness and the champion gets an eager, subservient but skilled sparring partner. I'm sure Lendl and others sensed that Pete could be a world beater one day...but it was also equally possible that the seemingly unmotivated Pete could have a very ordinary career or even simply wash out at some point. I remember Pete saying that at night he was so tired he was unable to even go up stairs.

    I remember also that when Pete made his GS breakthrough at the USO 90, he mentioned that in preparing for his pivotal match against Lendl in the quarters, Pete had noticed that Lendl's level had dropped and he felt that he might have a chance against Lendl. Pete had watched Lendl's earlier matches and said something like "It wasn't much, the guy was still great... but he wasnt' quite playing the level of tennis he was before."

    I do think Lendl probably liked Sampras aside from his poor work ethic. I remember Lendl once saying something along the lines of "It's sad when a kid who plays great tennis, is polite, dresses well and is reasonably clever has to almost make excuses for being the way he is". This was in response to Pete's "boringness" and obviousy a reference to young punk Agassi as well.
     
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  11. jeebeesus

    jeebeesus Guest

    Yes i remember reading Lendl setting his dogs on Pete. Great big alsatians. :lol:
     
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  12. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    While we're on Lendl i again recount some stories i heard in May. An ex junior world champ called Shane Barr come to our annula town and country championship. This guy was a decent up and coming years ago, worlds best junior, big strong and very powerful. Nowadays he struggles, he injured his hmmm shoulder i think he said and varies between left handed and right handed shots depending on what the shot is. I'm pretty sure he physically cannot hit a right yhanded backhand now and may have had a lefty serve too. He'd be lucky to beat me now the poor chap. He was also Australian and connected to Roche. Anyways Roche lined him up as Lendl's hitter both here and at Lendl's home. Shane said he had the weirdest sense of humour you could ever see. Shanes dad used to help pick up balls to help continuity in the session. Lendl used to find it side splitting to hammer a ball hard up his arse whenever he bent over with his back to him lol. Shane said his accuracy was phenomenal and he wasn't hitting soft either. He found it hilarious apparently. After sessions he would bail them attack with his attack dogs then go and then go relax in his house, finally calling them off well later. Another trick was to take them on his 30km or so bike rides. He would tire them out, lead them around a heap of backstreets then burn them off. He did this as they had no idea how to get home from there and he found this hilarious too lmao. Funny stories i tell ya.
     
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  13. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Great stories John. Oh and thanks for the compliment in the other thread :)

    A former Canadian #1 named Andrew Sznajder(who made the top 50 and had some big wins) also practiced with Lendl as a junior. Now bear in mind that Sznajder's demeanor on court was sort or like Hewitt but much much much worse. I'm not exagerating :-(
    Anyways, he said when he would play practice sets with Lendl, he'd always get a few games and by the end of the week he was pretty confident and got a little arrogant talking with Lendl after practice....so Lendl simply said "tomorrow, we play for real". The next day Andrew said Lendl won the practice match 6-0 6-0 in about 20 min. and Andrew thinks he got 3 points.
     
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