was ivan lendl ACTUALLY considered a bad guy back in the day?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by d-quik, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    That was part of the reason he was unpopular. Almost everytime he did show emotion on court it was negative.
     
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  2. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    They don't. I just finished saying he acted like a robot out there EXCEPT when showing NEGATIVE emotions. It made him more unlikeable than Robot Borg.
     
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  3. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I watched tennis closely through all the years Lendl played and never once heard him referred to as a communist by anyone in the media. Of the hundreds of tennis players I knew, not one was concerned that he was from a communist country. Stop the bashing.
    Lots of guys from eastern Europe were well-liked by the media and other players. Wojtek Fibak, Miloslav Mercir, etc. (I got tired of them fawning over Mercir's beautiful game). I was always a Lendl fan since the first time I saw him play, but he did hit players intentionally in order to intimidate them - which didn't endear him to the players (of course, McEnroe and Connors hated each other at the time, too) and he didn't have much personality, so he wasn't a favorite of the press.
     
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  4. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    "The only favorites I remember the New York crowds really cheering were Connors and McEnroe, and Evert."

    We must have attended a different USO.

    They weren't rooting for JMac. And the night crowd. They would get a few beers in them and purposefully try to get JMac to lose it.

    Connors was not a USO fan favorite until some years into his career. The difference is Connors changed and so did the crowd toward him. JMac did not and neither did the crowd. The exception being very late in his career when he was supported simply for being around that long and being American. Figured we'd miss him when he was gone. Miss booing him.
     
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  5. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    anybody watch the "Only at the US Open" special about lendl on the tennis channel? they showed highlights of the Pat Cash 1984 us open semifinal and focused a lot on the topspin lob he hit to save match point. however the lob that they showed on the show wasn't actually the one that saved match point. it was the lob at 6-5, 30-15 instead of 6-5, 40-30. pretty poor on the part of the show's producers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
    #55
  6. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    That is a terrible mistake. The first lob was technically excellent, but the second was made on the run off what at first looked like a winning volley from Cash (some of the crowd had even started to celebrate)
     
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  7. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    lendl must have been confused too b/c he said that cash hit a forehand volley crosscourt (which set up the first lob) instead of a backhand volley up the line (which set up the second lob).
     
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  8. lendledbergfan

    lendledbergfan Rookie

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    Even Pat Cash started to raise his arms, but stopped prematurely realizing that the ball was actually in! :)
     
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  9. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Lendl was very serious and scowled alot on court. This did not appeal to Americans.
     
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  10. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    or anyone else.
     
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  11. d-quik

    d-quik Rookie

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    borg is from sweden

    as in not part of the ussr

    as in the usa has no reason to berate him

    as in this is not the same situation with lendl

    i put it out step by step so that your overtly americanized topic-side-stepping brain can understand
     
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  12. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    What a nonsense post. Again, the reasons for Lendl's unpopularity were numerous. The number of fans who disliked him believing him to be a communist or part of the USSR were minimal. Indeed, political efforts were made to rush Lendl into US citizenship to play for the US were made, this was well known and publicized.

    Incidently, Czecholslovakia was NOT part of the USSR. (oh brother....)

    What is CLEAR in your last sentence is how biased and emotional you are about America. Thank you for displaying your ugly mindset.

    PS. Lendl was HARDLY the first player from Czecholslovakia. Kodes, Slozil, Drobney, etc. Then there were others concurrent with Lendl, Mandlikova, Sukova, Mecir etc. All hated by Americans for being "commies" or from the "ussr", right? Give me a break.


    PPS. Even more stunning, this ridiculous assertion is coming from a kid, who is learning to play tennis, asking basic questions about racquets, strings, and technique AND just saw Connors forehand in a clip 2 years ago.....UNBELIEVABLE.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
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  13. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely.

    I go way back and when thinking of Connors I can't deny his undeniable tennis talent and admire him on that level but I can't get out of my mind the disdain I felt toward him as sportsmen and human being.

    I vividly remember in 1973, yeah '73, at the Open in Forest Hills, grass, Grandstand Court (one of the best venues ever), R16 Connors v. Okker. Connors was NCAA Champ and he's facing a class guy in Tom Okker. Connors is solidly ahead and he starts wagging his finger at Okker, taunting him while leading. Uncomfortably more than a few times. I remember thinking he's real good but "what a pr*ck this guy is".

    Flash forward to the '77 US Open Final Connors v. Vilas, the crowd, was so pro Vilas and anti-Connors I recall thinking everyone in the stadium hated this guy as much as I did. It was great a) because I loved Vilas's game and b) I loved seeing Connors rush off the court like punk he was.

    That NY crowd and many after it treated Connors and JMc the same way.

    Later the masses, especially the adult beverage consuming night session masses <gotta love night tennis in NY>, warmed to the guy. I never could not for his BS through his prime and not for that first impression v. Okker. And for the majority of that prime the majority in attendance, in NY at least were with me on that.

    Back on topic, re: Lendl, I found the NY crowds at both the Open and MSG during the Masters, far less tolerant of far less from Ivan. If he walked toward the chair to question a call the crowd went French Open on him, with whistles and boos, while Connors and McEnroe could club a few baby seals on court before they really got on them.

    But despite the few dissenting opinions in this thread part of it was the USa v. them attitude. I think that as a whole the crowds resented Lendl's dominance overall, while they might not have liked to root for Connors and McEnroe as individuals, they liked that America won. No, no one was yelling "commie" it was a projected or reflected coldness, a quick trigger to get on him, the dislike from journalists who painted a picture using adjectives associated with the other side of the Iron Curtain, and subtle things like Mc wearing his DC USA emblazoned sweat top at a lot of matches other than DC v. Ivan , pointing to who the American or rather the REAL American on court was. Another bit of Mc schtick I resented. And it was uniquely reserved for Lendl, it wasn't directed at the likes of Kodes, Metreveli, Fibak, Mecir; a) these guys weren't the physically imposing presence Lendl was, b) they smiled, c) they weren't "always" the overdog.

    5
     
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  14. d-quik

    d-quik Rookie

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    very difficult to believe
    political efforts has nothing to do with the american public. the 2nd american iraqi war was a "political effort" but doesn't demonstrate the views of the american public. we're not talking about what the GOVERNMENT did for/to lendl, we are talking about the public.
    you know outside the western world, the ussr coloquially refers to all areas behind the iron curtain which includes central asian countries (kazakhstan and the like, which the west agrees to) and eastern european countries (east germany and the like, which is disagreeable).
    uhh, maybe if americans were not so GENERALLY mindless about the outside world, this would not be the case.
    nah, they were not hated because they didn't do as good as lendl. nice try
    um... what?
     
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  15. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Lendl hates communism.
     
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  16. d-quik

    d-quik Rookie

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    i know, i never said otherwise
     
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  17. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Good. Thanks for showing your ugly jingoism again. Now you've displayed total ignorance about the subject matter, and a prejudice towards the public of an entire nation. People can take your opinion for what it's worth.
     
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  18. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    A lot of hatred toward the U.S. from people who are either completely ignorant of anything about the US (and they claim people in the US don't know about other countries) or just spouting leftist anti-US propaganda for the fun of it.
     
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  19. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    However FiveO, as you note, most "commie" implications were at best, something implied with the Lendl persona. The media liked to play on this characterization, in large part because it made good drama and even moreso because Lendl gave them nothing else to work with. He developed an antagonistic relationship with them. The public saw him that way, again, because he gave them nothing else. The look, the sour demeanor...as I posted earlier, the only emotions he tended to show in those days were negative ones! eg. complaining about calls, opponents, glaring at fans, glaring at players. Fact of the matter is, Lendl, (I think originally as a defense mechanism) began to use that persona to try to intimidate. He was not above trying to bully players and umps, on and off the court. While he would not admit it, that persona did win him many matches.

    What I completely and utterly disagree with is the notion that anti-communism or non-americanism was in any way central or the motivating factor in Lendl's bad guy image. Fact of the matter is, it was HIS demeanor that created that. It was the key factor. While any implied stereotypes may have made him the "perfect storm", I think saying otherwise is untrue and shortchanging fans at that time.

    On a side note, I think Martina suffered more at the hands of anti-americanism, mainly because of Chrissie. Even then, let's face it, the LOOKS and the lesbianism were probably much bigger factors! Switch faces and bodies between the two, and I'm sure the popularity ratio would have been a bit different. In that sense, perhaps an even more primitive factor, but one, which has always been, and continues to be, a key factor.

    In terms of what you mentioned on Mac and Connors. Connors did change, in that he learned to use the crowd. To tweak his image. He was always a manipulator, he was always contrived. In that sense, like a WWE wrestler, he just changed his act from heel to face. Using Mac(among others, and I think quite unfairly) as the greater evil! I actually preferred Mac. Mac was a guy who was genuinely trying, and genuinely would be embarrassed by his behavior after-the-fact, as he got older. He just had an out-of-control temper, that would burst out for various reasons in the heat of the moment. Connors? He calculated. An amazing player, and amazing champ, an amazing entertainer, but his act was pure schtick, pure scam.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
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  20. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    As McEnroe once said of Jimmy's "newfound" image among the fans - " I don't think I could ever be that phony."
     
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  21. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I think most of these "Lendl wasn't a bad guy" threads are by people who simply never saw him when he played.

    I admit, like most people who post here, I am not old enough to remember 1979 when he first became a star. But I do remember 1985 onwards. All the negative things you said about him were true. I liked Lendl but let's not pretend he was a nice guy when he played. He wasn't.
     
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  22. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Agree with everything here with a single but major caveat. McEnroe, who I prefered over Connors as well, albiet slightly and only as the lesser of to evils was just as calculating IMO. Those "honest" emotions never seemed to come out when on a roll. However even when playing well, and being outplayed, particularly when being outplayed by what he viewed as a lesser talent, he would find that emotion, generally direct at a non-combatant and for extended periods of time, in my mind tactically and with design, intent on disrupting the momentum of the opponent on his own roll. It wasn't about "the line call" it was about stopping the other guys momentum.

    5
     
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  23. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Many opponents have pointed that out. It's borderline cheating.

    Another thing that irks about McEnroe is that during telecasts they only show his outburst from before about 1985. Everyone is laughing and having a great time. By McEnroe's own admission he never used profanity until about 1985. So they never play those less than humorous clips of Mac telling umps to go F---- themselves, or using the c word. or dropping 20 F bombs in about 60 secs like he did to a stunned Richard Ing in the 1987 US Open vs Zivojenivic.
     
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  24. marc45

    marc45 Hall of Fame

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    all the talk about america vs. lendl, but it was an american, sampras, who has always spoken well of lendl after some mentoring early on...of course pete favored the aussies more than mac or connors....and i don't know if anyone mentioned the si cover about lendl being the champion no one cares about, one of two harmful to tennis covers from si...the other sally jenkins the death of tennis cover.....of course it took them forever recently to give fed, and nadal, their due positively on the cover
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
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  25. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    I preferred Connors to McEnroe, and I think the New York crowds did too, from what I remember of their semis in 1980 and 84. The crowd preferred Connors to Borg as well, in both the 76 and 78 finals. 77 was really the only year the New York crowd turned on Connors.

    What you are saying about McEnroe being calculated however is something that Bill Scanlon goes on about at length in his book "Bad News for McEnroe." Most players on tour felt that McEnroe's "tortured artist" routine was pure fakery.
     
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  26. marc45

    marc45 Hall of Fame

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    do you recommend scanlon's book afafel?
     
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  27. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    "It wasn't about "the line call" it was about stopping the other guys momentum."

    Exactly. Guy crossed the line with this tactic not infrequently.

    And while I would not minimize the younger Connors as one of the all time pri#cks, Connors did learn to play to the crowd and he did grow as a person.

    Not so much JMac.
     
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  28. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I remember it well. We Americans love Aussies. They're our cousins -- like Canadians, only tan.

    As mentioned here, Lendl was misunderstood. In a way, I think he liked the spoiler role he played so well against Mac and Jimmy.

    I did not like his game as much as I liked Mac's.... but man, what a clutch player. Lendl was the truth. I only began to dislike him in 1984 when he started to beat Mac regularly.

    The US Open final was a nice exception, though, as Mac dominated him for his last slam title.

    I never really saw Lendl as a communist. He was way more pro-America than Mac, anyway.

    As a commentator, he was not so good. But a smart guy and obviously one of the great champions of the pro era. In fact, you'd have to say he redefined what it means to be a PROFESSIONAL tennis player. The guy was a pro though and through.

    That's not as exciting as the things Nasty, Vitas, Borg and Johnny did, is it?
     
    #78
  29. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, FiveO and Pmerk, I know that the degree of Mcenroe's "calculating" is a source of many theories (as I alluded to) and debate.

    When I said it came out for "various reasons" and mentioned it as a "defense mechanism", I said that because I think one of the reasons it came out when losing, was simply the stress of losing! Additionally, it became a learned habit, when stress started building up. A way to replace fear of losing with....RAGE.

    I don't necessarily think Mcenroe consciously thought "hmm.....let's delay and go nuts here....that'll throw the guy off!". I do think, as happens for all of us, the anger at not playing well, tended to contribute to the blow ups, in addition, I certainly think on a subconscious level, Mac would be aware that:
    1.it might make him play better(he admitted it did do this, early in his career)
    2.it might break the other guy's concentration.

    I'm even willing to concede he might have been conscious of #2 SOMETIMES, but, I found the sincerity of his tantrums and apologies VERY convincing most of the time. He's not that good an actor(in fact, he's pretty terrible! ;-)

    I think when you look at Mac's career, you DO see examples, (though less well known) of him losing it during winning efforts....even against journeymen in early rounds, when he's up 2 sets and a break! (but again, he's better able to let it go then, because, he's winning so easily)

    The AO default, also was indicator to me, of how out-of-control his rages could be. Many observers, felt that Mac was a serious favorite to have taken that slam.

    In the end, I tend to believe that most of Mac's tantrums, were not motivated by a desire to stop the other guy's momentum, though I concede he may have been, at least subconsciously, aware of it. I think he also found, that it made HIM play better, by getting the adrenaline going.

    None of that is to say, I think it was "fair" to the opponent. It certainly was not.

    PS. On the subject of profanity Pmerk. I always remember an early round minor blowup at the USO, late in Mac's career. He was beating up on a journeyman but nevertheless, threw in some (if I recall, self-directed swearing). The ump called him on it, and Mac came storming to the chair, claiming he barely said it, and nobody could have heard it. The ump, leaned down and said "there's courtside microphones and the people in the corner could hear it...", upon which Mcenroe burst in, WAILING: "oh...what people?? The people in the corner??? That's my family!.....they understand that I curse every now and then!!!" You have to love that defense...
     
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  30. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    I don't think McEnroe was totally out-of-control at the AO. In his autobiography (which, I admit, is hardly conclusive evidence) he does say that a new rule change caused him to miscalcuate how many strikes he had left. He also says that up until that point he always knew when to stop himself from going too far and getting defaulted.
     
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  31. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Yes I do. It's a very intriguing read with a lot of fascinating observations on the pro tour.
     
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  32. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I think McEnroe would have won that slam. Mac was wrong in that he knew when not to cross a line because in the 1987 US Open he went totally berserk and Richard Ing let him off the hook because I think the guy was stunned at the ferocity and maniacal nature of the outburst. He should have been defaulted from that match. I remember watching it in amazement thinking oh man he;s gonna be thrown out of here. CBS went to a commercial break and I think when they retunred the mic picked up some of his gutter mouth.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
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  33. dsa202

    dsa202 Banned

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    Lendl said that Sampras didn't have the right tools to win a grand slam.
     
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  34. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Sampras overpowered him in the 1990 USO,. an amazing display from a teenager.

    So exciting for American tennis. We need another Champion!!!
     
    #84
  35. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    I thought that was Wilander who said that about Sampras, after Sampras beat him at the 89 US Open.

    I thought Sampras, when he was young, practiced at Lendl's home.
     
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  36. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    I disagree with you saying that McEnroe would have won that slam if he had not been defaulted. Obviously, the 5 1/2 years without a Slam is against him. He would also have had to go through Lendl and Edberg. Nothing's a certainty but I would favour both of them over McEnroe in 1990.

    You can say the 1987 US Open was close to an isolated incident. Even Borg was close to being defaulted at the Masters one year. A couple of out-of-control outbursts are not an excuse for a career's worth of bad gamesmanship.
     
    #86
  37. marc45

    marc45 Hall of Fame

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    thanks, and sorry for the misspelling arafel
     
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  38. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Mcenroe claimed that after the match, and I'm sure it was a factor, HOWEVER, the fact that he "forgot" the new rule, in itself shows his state of mind. Connors would never have gotten caught that way. The rule was new, but Mac WAS aware of it, in fact, he had known about it through it's development.
     
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  39. d-quik

    d-quik Rookie

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    how else can bush get elected twice
     
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  40. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Worth saying again:
    Good. Thanks for showing your ugly jingoism again. Now you've displayed total ignorance about the subject matter, and a prejudice towards the public of an entire nation. People can take your opinion for what it's worth.
     
    #90
  41. dsa202

    dsa202 Banned

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    Yeah and based on those practice sessions Lendl formed his opinion. But Sampras was a late bloomer, meaning that he wasn't the best junior, but that also happens all the time.
     
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  42. d-quik

    d-quik Rookie

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    still doesn't explain how bush was elected twice, when 70-80% (according to public intn'l polls) of the world disaproves, more than 50% of this great country known as the united states approves of this leader

    thanks for showing your ugly close mindedness again. now you've displayed the total ignorance of your federal electoral system, and your nation has demonstrated total ignorance to the desires of the outside world. people can take your government's symbolic humanitarian efforts for what it's worth.
     
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  43. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Take this elsewhere please
     
    #93
  44. d-quik

    d-quik Rookie

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    those who can not confront problems head on look the other way
     
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  45. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    There are other threads to argue politics.
     
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  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I know that Lendl hit a ball as hard as he could at McEnroe and also at Gerulaitis, during a match. He connected on both.

    I think Lendl had a little bit of Nastase in him.
     
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  47. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Mac acted like a drama queen when Lendl hit him. Acted like he got shot.
     
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  48. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I was watching Tennis Channel's "5 Greatest Chokes" the other day and former tour player Rodney Harmon had an interesting comment. He said that they were all cheering for Mac because they regarded Lendl as the bad guy from behind the Iron Curtain.

    The fact that Lendl was from Czechoslovakia played a big part in how he was perceived here in the States. For those of us that collect magazines and articles from around the world, there is a noticeable difference in how Lendl and Mandlikova were covered here and the way they were covered in Europe, Australia, and Japan.

    Both could be very rude. But what you often don't see behind their answers to questions posed by some American and British journalists is the questions they were being asked and the manner in which it was asked. Both could've used media specialists and image consultants, but I don't suppose they had a lot of those in their former nation back then.

    I know that Advantage International helped Hana improve her image after 1984 Wimbledon. And frankly, she was so jaded and mistrustring of everyone that she needed it. When people make such a big deal about her comments about Chris that year, they take a lot of her answers out of context. In fact, the crap that Dennis Ralston and Betsy Nagelson fed Chris before that match was very self serving since they wanted to see Chris win.

    But many times in both her case as well as Lendl's, their boorish behavior was as much about their self-defense mechanisms as it was about being rude. We almost never see everything. And back in the 80's, we didn't have internet and live press conferences. So all we got was from the angle of the people reporting it.

    As an American, it's really embarrasing to see how poorly our media sometimes did their job.
     
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  49. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I don't think it's presses job at a press conference to determine the root of someones rude behavior or non answers. Lendl was asked questions and he gave his responses in the manner that he did.
     
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  50. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Messages:
    921
    You're exactly right. But my point was, sometimes the problem WAS the press. You can take a press conference transcript and then go back and see how a question was answered in an article and tell that some journalists were very loose with the context of the answer.

    Frankly, some people wrote articles in ways that their editors wanted them to in order to sell more copies. And then they were framed with ridiculous headlines that had almost nothing to do with what was said in the interview.

    An example is Wimbledon 1984 when people are asking Hana about what she thought her chances were to win it. Even Bud Collins says in his commentary during NBC's coverage of Hana's win over Tanvier that if anyone is going to beat Martina, it's Hana and not Chris.

    Fast forward to NBC's coverage of the final and Bud is falling all over himself to say that Hana shouldn't have talked about beating Martina in the final. Well, that was the question she was being asked, "Can you beat Martina again?" Obviously, she's not on Martina's side of the draw, so if she were to beat Martina it would have to be after beating Chris and getting to the final. If anyone is implying anything, it's the questioner. But that's not what sells papers.

    Translation: "Hana looks past Chris and openly talks about beating Martina in the final."

    I can see why people (particularly those whose English isn't that great) might mistrust the media and have a chip on their shoulder. Shoot, even Mac, Connros, Martina and Chris carried their grudges against certain journalists because they were either misquoted or they published info. they considered off the record. If they can do that to them, they can easily do it to Lendl and Mandlikova. Throw in the communist (which neither were) angle and it's like watching Rocky IV.
     

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