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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    Ok, but the press didn't just do that to Eastern Bloc players they are always trying to get a quote or story.

    Lendl started playing well before Rocky IV came out.
     
  2. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    How very true Suwanee4712... Great posts...
     
  3. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Please don't take this as an excuse for how Hana and Ivan sometimes were. They were *****ly and rude sometimes without provocation. However, sometimes they could be pleasant and accomodating like anyone else.

    But the press does have a lot of influence over how we think. Even more so in the 80's when we were so much more dependent on them for info. Sometimes they didn't do a good job, and more so when it came to certain players from certain countries. That's really the only point that I'm trying to make.
     
  4. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, Lendl was a force in tour events about two years before the movie came out.
    At the time, as a junior tennis player and a Rocky fan, I just assumed Ivan Drago was named after Ivan Lendl....or maybe Ivan the Terrible.
     
  5. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Wrong. Lendl was a star from 1979 on. The absurd notion that somehow Rocky IV made fans not like Lendl is ridiculous.
     
  6. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Who said that?
     
  7. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    It has been alluded to a few times throughout the thread. As far back as the 3rd page, I pointed out that Lendl's image had already been formed well before the movie came out.

    I agree that the press has power to paint people a certain way. As I said, Lendl's open antagonism with the press didn't help his cause at all. I doubt very much that an anti-communism angle held much sway with the press in the way they portrayed him, though I certainly said that might have been a cheap angle for some. In any case, if the press portrayed Lendl as negative, and a "bad" guy, he was definitely a cooperative participant in that (in that he did reinforced it with his behavior and attitude). 0

    Certainly to point at somebody like Bud Collins as being personally interested in painting a player a certain way due to their nationality does not ring true to me. Collins is actually a pretty cosmopolitan guy who has always love TENNIS itself first and foremost. I recall people once accusing him of cheering for an American in a match. Collins, candidly admitted he was guilty of it in that one particular instance. He's always been a very honest and forgiving guy.

    Anyhow, this has been gone over ad nauseum now.
     
  8. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I would definitely not agree that Rocky IV had anything to do with how people felt about Lendl. I think how some felt about Ivan was similar in how lots of movies in the 80's involving "us against them" did so well though. Which is the angle that I think some editors were trying to go for.

    Rocky IV, World War III, The Day After, Red Dawn, and Amerika were all great movies to watch. But that had nothing to do with the Czechs, even though the average American probably linked them to all of that. I've always read and have been told that every day, average Czechs despised the Soviets because of the invasion in 1968. Martina said in her book that she was always extra motivated against Soviet players. And Hana said that even though Russian was compusory in Czech schools that she refused to speak it when the jr. national team went to Moscow. She also talked about how the country celebrated their hockey wins over the Soviet Union.

    As far as Bud goes, I love Bud. I used him in my example because he was like a lot of other people in thinking that Chris was slipping in 1984, but then ducked for cover when Chris emphatically proved him and half the tennis world wrong. Chris had just been blown out in Paris and on Florida clay, while Hana had won 5 tournaments, beaten Martina once, and took her to 3 sets in their other 2 matches. He and many other prognasticators were picking Hana over Chris, as were a lot of the other players in the locker room. But in his admonishment of Hana, he conveniently left out what he himself had said about it all just one week earlier.
     
  9. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Fair enough.l
     
  10. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    1979? That's pretty generous of you. Lendl deserves that, though. Well done.
    I was around back then, and had heard of him...and seen him at the Open. But to call him 'a STAR', I'd go with 1981 or maybe 1980.

    In 1981 I think he set an earnings record of some sort.

    But of course, no slams until 1984.
     
  11. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    You are correct. I should have said rising star in 1979. In 1980 he won around 7 or so titles and finished in the top 10. He was star at that point.

    Slam counting wasn't important back then. It's a new somewhat stupid development. Being number one is what mattered.
     
  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yea, I wish the Fed-worshippers and Sampras-adulators would take note.
     
  13. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Fed has been much more than slams. Pete - less so
     
  14. FiveO

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    I believe that I was the first to reference Rock IV in this thread and I think my point has been lost as the discussion proceeded.

    My point was never that Rocky IV "made" fans dislike Lendl. It was evidence of a general and misguided American mindset toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries. After years of "brinksmanship" during the Cold War, a generation of Americans brought up with a "duck and cover" conditioned response, the only publicly acknowledged "battles" fought were at the United Nations and sport.

    Nationalism ebbed and flowed but the USSR and satellite states were viewed by most Americans as the enemy. Sport, particularly Olympic sport was the only venue, where the USA and USSR were pitted against one another in open conflict. People waited for those meetings to prove which country or which system of government was "superior" and if sporting results could yield some indication of how things would go if, heaven forbid, the Cold War were to suddenly go "hot", instead of just acknowledging that there would be no winner should that happen.

    Then at even those sports venues, there were contraversies, the 1972 USSR v. USA debacle, which caused more Americans to blame the USSR team than the officials who made a series of botched calls in succession. The "Miracle on Ice" in 1980 followed later that year by Pres. Jimmy Carter's heading a US-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games as protest to the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. While there has always been nationalism present in the Games, politics and sport during this time had become intertwined.

    The Soviet Bloc was viewed as the enemy by Americans in this time the line separation politics and sport was all but erased.

    Rock IV was NOT WHY many people disliked Lendl. The climate of the times was why Stallone and Rocky IV's other creators chose a patriotic theme, a Soviet antagonist, why Ivan Drago was portrayed as a bully who ostensibly murders the then affable American Apollo Creed in the ring, and why that struck a chord with Americans in general then. The FACT is that many Americans familiar with tennis and/or Lendl, who was here prior to the movie coming out, immediately drew comparisons between him and the Ivan Drago character.



    5
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  15. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Lendl hates communism - pity you seem to think it was ok. If you want to have a discussion email me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  16. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    And where is there even the slightest suggestion, in that post, that communism is okay?
     
  17. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Thanks krosero.

    5
     
  18. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    His whole post.
     
  19. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    pmerk,

    I don't know if I haven't explained my position well enough or you're simply trying NOT to get it, but FYI, I'm of Lithuanian/Czech and Cuban lineage. I'm not labeling Lendl a communist or a "Bear" hugger. I was not one who fell into that stereotyping mindset. Not the way I was brought up. In fact, just recently, my dad and I were reminiscing about the first time we saw Lendl play in person, at the Open in a early day match in a nearly empty Louie Armstrong stadium and how wowed we were as to how he was able to simply pass his opponent baseline to baseline regularly, with higher frequency than a Connors ever could. Awesome. He was and is a tennis player to me. In fact, while not my favorite (as I identified more with true all-courters and s&v stylists), I rooted for him against his main antagonists in the form of Connors and McEnroe. You've got something stuck in your craw. You've simply picked the wrong guy to chew on that, with me.

    5
     
  20. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Ok, I liked Lend too. I just think your premise is off base.
     
  21. dsa202

    dsa202 Banned

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    Stop lying you never spoke with Lendl.
     
  22. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    One of the most amazing tennis tricks I ever saw was at Indian Wells when I was 12 back in 1982. My dad and I were watching Lendl train/practice and he literally touch-caught a ball with his raquet that was going full force. The guy had amazing touch for a historially solid baseliner.

    I just remember looking up at my dad going, wow, did you just see that MF catch that ball going 80mph.
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If you aren´t european it is very hard to notice or understand how eastern europeans have been always caught deffensively, because they have been ******d by either germans or russians.

    But, if you know the day to day people in Prague,Budapest or Varsaw, you could understand how they would mistrust any western press in the same way they mistrussed the Soviets.Nastase,Fibak,Kodes,Navratilova,Mandlikova and Lendl all of them hated much more the Russians - and Germans- than the americans, much less western europeans ( where they really belonged) or aussies ( which is a far more open minded that the US)
     
  24. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    When F1 first went to Hungary in 1986. team crews brought everything, from water to toilet paper, cause they didn't know what to expect behind Iron Curtain

    With Ivan it couldn't been much different, and he wasn't helping with his weird humor, house behind walls and trained guard dogs. It wasn't easy for him, that's for sure.. after 3rd US Open title he was asked about how many more he needs to win to become crowd favorite. In his style he said ''15 all in all, so 12 to go''

    When Miloslav Mecir won 1987 Key Biscayne there was story how he really doesn't feel comfortable in USA and that he would rather like to be at home in Czechoslovakia, fishing
     
  25. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    By all accounts, Lendl does have a "wicked" sense of humor. He very much likes to play practical jokes on his "friends."




    (And, for the record, I have never spoken with him.)
     
  26. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Back in the day, Lendl was a complete a-hole. He was rude to people, awful to the press and a jerk to other players. Sports Illustrated once had a cover story with a picture of Lendl with the title: "The champion no one cares about." That is pretty a pretty remarkable comment when you think about it.

    Clearly he has mellowed with age, and now people are revising history to make him seem more palatable.
     
  27. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    After winning US Open 1986!! That article was pure ****, and cover was inadmissible

    Americans were very frustrated at that time, with no player in Wimbledon 1/2 for the first time since 1970. and only one player in 1/4 of US Open, for the first time since 1966. That was not Ivan's guilt by any means
     
  28. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    No it wasn't. The main point of the article (by Curry Kirkpatrick) was how when Lendl was on court the stands would empty and during the very dull final people were leaving the arena and the famous (infamous) shot of Ashe reading the Sunday NY Times. Lendl WAS dull and his pretty lousy reputation with the press and obvious distrust of them didn't help. In Mid 1986 no one flocked to see Lendl play like they would to see a Noah, JMac, Connors........
     
  29. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    I always preferred to watch whichever player had a stroke from which I wanted to learn. I didn't use a two-handed backhand (nor one with two fists -- not quite sure what the difference is), and Connors had a weird bunch-fingered forehand grip, so I got quite sick of always seeing him vs. whomever in just about every televised match in 1975. (TV typically would rarely show anything but the final, and that year Connors was usually in it.) I didn't like to watch Borg, for similar reasons. I liked McEnroe on grass, because everybody played serve and volley and I could see his topspin backhand just about every time he returned serve. I liked watching Vilas on clay, again, so I could see his topspin backhand.

    I liked watching Lendl, because he had a great forehand that didn't violate the rules of technique too badly, and because he was _aggressive_ from the baseline (he didn't just mess around waiting to see who would hit the first short ball).

    I didn't care what nationality players were, because I didn't think it was relevant to my own improvement. I didn't much care about players' personalities, because I wasn't planning to spend time with them.

    Eventually, I stopped watching TV tennis completely. In most tournaments we'd see a close-up of the server until just before ball contact, and then the station would switch to the helicopter camera and it just looked like two people playing Pong (an early video game). It seemed like only Wimbledon actually hand cameras anywhere near ground level.

    I never understood other spectators' concern about players having dull personalities. To me, that was like worrying about whether a lap-dancer could hit a good backhand volley.
     
  30. Lsmkenpo

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    During an interview, rapper Snoop Dogg was asked which sport people would be surprised to know he liked.

    He replied: "Tennis. I used to like Ivan Lendl. He was sharp. An old schooler. Make it happen and roll out. Now I like Venus and Serena, but Ivan was the truth." http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/3725045.stm
     
  31. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    100% correct and very emotion he ever showed on court seemed to be a negative complaint about something -everything.
     
  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I enjoyed Lendl's play and I liked his strokes and overall game. Maybe it's different tastes but I enjoy matches like the 1988 US Open final between Lendl and Wilander which had long rallies, different variety of spins and angles and Wilander approaching the net so often.

    And I didn't think his game was dull.
     
  33. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, there you have it. Done. The truth. Snoop Dogg knows the game well.
    Wait until you guys get Snoop's opinion on polyester strings, 10u tennis, the Mahut/Isner match and doping in tennis. The truth!

    Good post. What could be dull about a lot of power, great movement, a big serve, running backhand passes and a massive forehand? Sure, Lendl was a little stiff-looking. He was no Cash, Edberg or Mac at net. But, what a great player.
     
  34. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    Considered a ***** by almost all the players, and also earned their and fans disdain for being a tanker and quitter. Throw in being from a communist country(Reagan era jingoism) that time in history, there was not a lot to like.
     
  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I disagree. It had nothing to do with America not having a native-son champion, and everything to do with Lendl's personality, or lack. Lendl certainly did not play to the crowd: he was dour, serious, frowning, focused on his game, all-business, and machine-like.



    "inadmissible"?
    Perhaps you mean inexcusable or unacceptable?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  36. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Of course, i was talking about his tennis.
    The tanking went away after his first few years on the circuit.
    The communist thing....hahaha, I guess the casual fan did not know that Lendl is a capitalist who loves the US so much he settled here.
     
  37. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    As far as i remember, he was certainly disliked by a segment of fans (especially in the U.S), and he was presented as robot-like, icy, and maybe lacking a bit of personality (at least personality that he willfully showed to the fans), but, no, he wasn't really considered a "bad" guy (bad locker room reputation, bad sportsmanship, gamesmanship, extraordinarily abusive towards umps and opponents) as I remember.

    As others have pointed out, at least in the U.S., he was often squaring off against U.S. players, so fans weren't on his side.
     
  38. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    In short , it takes 2 to tango.
     
  39. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    that lendl and edberg get along really well says a lot about the real ivan. or, perhaps, the real edberg. either way, he definitely seems to be a great guy at this stage in his life, at least
     
  40. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, Joel, I saw that, too. I was sitting right by you and your family.
    Young Joel: "Wow, daddy, did you just see that MF catch that 80mph ball?"
    Mr. Dali: "Hahahha, ni99a please, I thought I dreamed that shiii, he a bad mother-"
    Mrs. Dali: "Shut yo' mouf"
    Joel and his dad: "We just talkin'bout Lendl!"

    Yep, I was right behind you guys -- the unshaven dude with epic hair, wearing a v-neck, a houndstooth porkpie and thick black glasses drinking a PBR.

    EDIT:
    Oh, and the above dialogue is a reference to a blaxploitation film from the very early 1970s.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  41. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    bud collins gave lendl a scary nickname, "the ostrava ghost" and mcenroe called him a "scary robot"
     
  42. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    I thought the reason he did not smile much was because of the poor dental work. Clearly had some work done now.
     
  43. Arvid

    Arvid Rookie

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    Lendl is the only player i have ever seen win a tournament and not even raising his arms or show any particular emotion. To me its hilarious for one thing, but secondly this guy didnt suck up for anybody, he only really cared for the big titles, and so he wasnt gone stand there and pretend that he was over joyed about winning a smaller tournament. It makes him very unique i think. Dont know if this is true but supposedly he and Edberg decided to play a final of an atp tournament in best of 3 sets instead of 5 just so they could have time to go and play golf afterwards....
     
  44. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    Ah so there's one more common thing between ivan and andy :)
     
  45. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I am waiting for Snoop Dogg to chime in on this.

    Also hoping he will cruise by the 10u threads in the junior section. Things are getting quiet over there!
     
  46. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Mah ni99a Lendl kep' it real, even in front of the Man.
     
  47. big ted

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    he wasnt evil he just wasnt popular. his game was boring for its time, he showed no personality on court. alot like sampras, let his racquet do the talking. and it didnt help that his opponents were some of the most colorful of all time: mcenroe, becker, connors, vitas... also his tanking early in his career did not make him a fan favorite
     
  48. Lsmkenpo

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    [​IMG]
     
  49. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    All this talk about him being evil, having a black sens of humor, the hatred he seemed to arouse among the american public (and players), the controversy about his personality and the way he treated other players doesn't really correspond with his then other line he gets labeled with often in this thread, his so called 'lack of personality.'
    The guy had tons of personality, wether you liked him or not. Many people didn't obviously. He had more obstacles to take than most other top pro tennis player in his time, but he triumphed everywhere except at Wimbledon. And even there he came close. He didn't submit to trash talking wiseguys like Mac an Connnors, he just fired right at them from point blank when they were at thenet. No wonder McEnroe never goes all chummy chummy with Ivan as he does with Bjorn, 'my great rival and best pal and buddy'.
     
  50. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Don't fall into the trap that people who don't like Ivan think McEnroe is some great guy. Both of them weren't the nicest guys in the world. McEnroe in his autobiography doesn't pretend to paint himself as a nice guy during his playing days and alluded to his arrogant behavior and there were plenty of contemporaries of his who did not like Mac for the way he would purposefully explode (usually always when losing) and carry on with umpires to break the rhythm of matches and his opponents focus.

    On the other hand Mac had some insights into Lendl saying that he had a odd personality and he would mercilessly make fun of lower ranked players in locker rooms and because of the pecking order of the game they couldn't really fire back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

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