Who was Lendl's biggest rival?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by dangalak, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,682
    Himself.
    Playing well, he could beat anyone.
    Playing tentative, he was vulnerable and prone to introspection.
     
    #51
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,332
    Not sure about that on a grass surface. Boris Becker at his best on grass in my opinion was better than Lendl at his best although Lendl could beat him.

    Anyway he had a lot of rivals in Connors, McEnroe, Wilander, Becker and Edberg. Wilander and Lendl had a lot of great finals like the 1988 US Open final. The battles with Connors and McEnroe were tough too.
     
    #52
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,682
    Lendl, more than most other great players, looked inside himself in moments of stress and importance. He didn't use outside stimuli, but instead, seemed to need to find a balance of aggression and control from within. A caged animal just trying to get out, he kept his inner madness within visible check.
     
    #53
  4. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    You're right. Lendl was not the greatest grass court player. Even Pat Cash was able to beat him on grass quite handily. Any of the players you mentioned above, with the possible exception of Wilander, would dominate Lendl on grass. Still, I admire his attitude of trying his best to win Wimbledon.
     
    #54
  5. ramos77

    ramos77 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    605
    Cash was won of the best grass court players at one point, before injuries took their toll on his body. Look at all the players he beat on grass, at Wimbledon and in the Davis Cup...
     
    #55
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,682
    No shame losing to Cash, Rafter, or Sampras on grass.
    Now losing to HaroldSolomon on grass is a different animal altogether.
     
    #56
  7. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    You do realize that you just made the list of players who were clearly better on grass than Lendl that much bigger. So we now have Connors, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg, Cash, Rafter, and Sampras. How many more are we going to add to this list? We might as well add Agassi because he actually won Wimbledon, and we might as well add Ivanisevic because he was far more successful. How many more can we add?
     
    #57
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Lendl also won three in a row at MSG
     
    #58
  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    From 78 on it was all Borg wherever
     
    #59
  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Lecomte and Noah beat him often
    And Gerulaitis,Vilas,Clerc and Panatta early
     
    #60
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Mats won their only grass match and very easily
     
    #61
  12. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    3,138
    Rewatched the 2012 US Open final recently, ..... tennis. Won't make that mistake again, life is too short.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    #62
  13. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    3,138
    Hear he got told to hit down the middle when coming in, reducing the angles.
    Can't believe that was all it took, but maybe it was effective and was taking the game to Lendl in a way.
     
    #63
  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Connors vs Lendl at majors
    WIMBLEDON 1-0 CONNORS
    US OPEN 2-2
    FRENCH 2-0 LENDL
    DALLAS 1-0 CONNORS
    DAVIS CUP 1-0 CONNORS
    MSG 3-1 LENDL

    LENDL WINS 7-6 I excluded matches of the 70 (Lendl too young) and 90 (Jimmy too old)
    In finals however Connors wins 2-0
     
    #64
  15. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    The real majors on that list are Wimbledon, US Open, and French. That's what really matters for tennis legends like Connors and Lendl. I also don't think anything after 1984 should count because Connors was clearly never the same after that. He was too old and plagued by injuries but kept playing for the love of the game. Keep in mind that, unlike Agassi, Connors didn't take a working vacation for 5 years; he played all out. If you take those out (post 1984), Connors got the better of it for their biggest matches during times when they were both playing well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
    #65
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Disagree here, for both of them Dallas and Madison were majors and much more important than AL
     
    #66
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,332
    I think Connors declined around 1984 or so even though he was still a top ranked player. Lendl said Connors couldn't attack on certain shots anymore. So I'm not sure if you can count a Connors who lost a step or two to the Connors that Lendl faced after 1983 at the US Open for example. I saw a match in 1984 at Forest Hills at the Tournament of Champions on har tru that Lendl beat Connors 6-0 6-0 and trust me, it was as bad as the score indicated.
     
    #67
  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,047
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Some of those figures are wrong. Here's the entire head-to-head:

    Ivan Lendl 22-13 Jimmy Connors
    1979 Indianapolis QF: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-2, 7-6)
    1980 Memphis R16: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-2, 6-3)
    1980 WCT Dallas SF: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-4, 7-5, 6-3)
    1980 North Conway SF: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-4, 6-2)
    1980 Cincinnati QF: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-2, 6-0)
    Jan 1981 Masters RR: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (7-6, 6-1)
    1981 La Quinta F: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 7-6)
    1981 Davis Cup QF: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (7-5, 6-4)

    1982 Cincinnati SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-1, 6-1)
    1982 US Open F: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4)
    Jan 1983 Masters SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-3, 6-1)
    1983 Queen's Club SF: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-0, 6-3)
    1983 Montreal SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-1, 6-3)
    1983 US Open F: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-7, 7-5, 6-0)
    Jan 1984 Masters SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-3, 6-4)
    1984 Forest Hills SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-0, 6-0)
    1984 Wimbledon SF: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-1)
    1984 Tokyo Indoor F: Jimmy Connors def. Ivan Lendl (6-4, 3-6, 6-0)
    1984 Wembley SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-4, 6-2)
    Jan 1985 Masters SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (7-5, 6-7, 7-5)
    1985 Fort Myers F: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-3, 6-2)
    1985 WCT Dallas SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-3, 2-1 ret.)
    1985 French Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-2, 6-3, 6-1)
    1985 Stratton Mountain SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-0, 4-6, 6-4)
    1985 US Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-2, 6-3, 7-5)
    1986 Boca West SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 2-6, 5-2 def.)
    1986 Fort Myers F: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-2, 6-0)
    1986 Stratton Mountain SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-4, 3-6, 6-2)
    1987 Miami SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3)
    1987 Washington SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-4, 7-6)
    1987 Montreal SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (7-5, 6-4)
    1987 US Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-4, 6-2, 6-2)
    1987 Masters RR: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (4-3 ret.)
    1988 Toronto SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (6-4, 6-4)
    1992 US Open R64: Ivan Lendl def. Jimmy Connors (3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0)


    Abandoned match
    1984 Rotterdam F: Ivan Lendl led Jimmy Connors (6-0, 1-0)
    Lendl refused to play on after a bomb scare at the venue. As a result, the match was abandoned.

    Hardcourt: 14-5 to Lendl
    Clay: 2-2
    Grass: 2-0 to Connors
    Carpet: 6-4 to Lendl (another match abandoned)
    In Majors: 4-3 to Lendl
     
    #68
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Rotterdam too but in Tokyo, along Phily the largest indoor event of that time and specially at London's grass Jimmy won pretty easily, so it was even from 1981 till 1984 IMO
     
    #69
  20. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,047
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    I think 1984 was Connors' last prime year. He couldn't cope with peak McEnroe, but still had Lendl's number when it mattered most.
     
    #70
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,332
    Perhaps but just from my own personal observation I thought I saw some clear decline in 1984.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
    #71
  22. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,689
    It's pretty impressive that Lendl had 5 genuine and sustained rivalries with other great players, McEnroe, Connors, Edberg, Becker and Wilander. I doubt many other players have had so many great rivalries.

    Of course his best rivalry was with McEnroe, with them clashing 26 times during Mac's prime, and the two players splitting victories pretty evenly overall and in their biggest matches. Of course the arrogant Mac refused to admit that they even had a rivalry for many years.
     
    #72
  23. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,689
    It's worth pointing out that Lendl never played either Becker or Edberg on European red clay, and only played Connors once on it. He would have been the heavy favourite against all 3 of those players on the surface.

    Because he was generally more versatile and more well-rounded than those rivals, he was was better able to get far enough to play them on his weakest surfaces, than they were to face him on their own weakest surfaces.

    Also despite Becker getting the better of Lendl in their big clashes, beating him 7 times out of 11 in grand slam/YEC matches, it was very impressive that, Lendl despite being over 7 and a half years older, was able to win their final 2 matches to turn their h2h around in his favour.
     
    #73
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    I agree partially because clay was not Lendl best turf but indoors and hard
     
    #74
  25. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,689
    True but I was talking about weakest surfaces and not strongest ones. Connors, McEnroe and Edberg were not as good on their weakest surface as Lendl was on his, influencing the surface breakdowns of his head to heads with them.

    What's also impressive was Lendl's records against the next generation. He won 6 matches out of 8 against Agassi, owning him until his back gave out, all 4 matches against Courier and 6 matches out of 8 against including their final 4 meetings. He won a respectable 3 matches out of 8 against Sampras, beating on carpet in 1993, and Sampras played best tennis of his career and enjoyed his greatest period of dominance in 1993-1994. Plus he won 5 matches out of 6 against Ivanisevic, beating him twice on carpet in 1992, and 6 matches out of 7 against Stich, beating 3 times in a row in 1991 when Stich won the Wimbledon title. Plus he beat both Muster and Bruguera on clay in 1992.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
    #75
  26. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,110
    Nah, those were his allies... :)
     
    #76
  27. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    That's very telling. Connors dominated before he went downhill, Lendl dominated after that, and Lendl himself acknowledged that it wasn't the same Connors.

    I think that says it all.
     
    #77
  28. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,562
    I don't understand this. Neither of the two retired "early", and they did so within two years of each other, Mac at 33 and Lendl at 34 or thereabouts. Even if their rivalry never disappeared, it was significantly deflated after Mac's 6-month sabbatical in 86, and his subsequent drop in the rankings. He tried hard to come back to the top but was never quite the same. There was some shoulder issue in 87 that hindered his progress. In 89 he made it to number 4 and that was his highest ranking after 86. But by then Becker and Edberg were Lendl's main rivals.
     
    #78
  29. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,387
    I'd still say that '84 was the last year he was close to top form...but Mac was a few notches above, nonetheless. That TOC match was truly a bad day at the office for Jimmy...not sure what was up that day. It was cringe-worthy. Yeah, Lendl was hot, but Connors was pretty dreadful.

    It was a bit of revenge for Ivan I suppose, as Connors beat him quite badly that prior summer at Queens (0 and 3). Still, Jimmy bit back again at '84 Wimby....I do think Ivan was favored to get to the final over him, by many observers.

    Net, net, they were still pretty competitive thru end of '84, even into '85 at the NYC Masters. That's when Ivan just seemed to pull ahead...perhaps it was more mental than anything for him.
     
    #79
  30. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,387
    From '85 onwards, Connors was not as consistently good as he had been in the past. He was VERY good, no doubt, and was often in the Top 10 (as high as #4), but it was not the same level of domination...he just had more "off" days.... those Wimby semis, like '85 or '87, he probably would've won when he was younger. Keep in mind his confidence was also shaken...he did not win an event again until 1988, despite some solid play and many finals...it was just very unusual. age and injuries were catching up to him. But, as we know, every so often he could produce some stellar play....even during some of the defeats.
     
    #80
  31. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    Mental? Really?? There was nothing mental about it! After 1984, Connors was finished. Even diehard Connors fans knew he should have retired, but he loved the game too much. If you go by the logic that Lendl got the better of Connors because he won every match after 1984, then I guess you have to say Connors got he better of Laver because he beat him every time they played. I certainly don't see things that way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
    #81
  32. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,047
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Connors was always going to squeeze every last drop out of his tennis career, because it was the challenge of matches that motivated him most. McEnroe was burned out in his early 30s because the wins had dried up, and Connors took delight in pointing out that he was playing some of the best tennis of his career when he was McEnroe's age.
     
    #82
  33. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,352
    #83
  34. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    If you look at old Federer videos against Sampras, you'd see a completely different Federer, too. You wouldn't have any idea that the guy had such a good ground game.

    It's just how the style evolved. Lendl in 81 was still known as the young Czech with the huge forehand; biggest in the game. If he would have tried hitting harder more often, would it have worked against Borg and Connors or would he have just made errors sooner? We don't know.
     
    #84
  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Connors should have quit after the end of 84 season which was his last great yeat and his truly last big match was his Masters jan 85 semi that barely lost to Lendl

    It is so obvious that it was last time he could have beatem a truly big player in a truly big match
     
    #85
  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    The 84 Masters semi (jan 85) was Connors last showdown
     
    #86
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    1984 Connors won big Tokyo vs Lendl and played DC,WCT and Wimbledon finals as well as Masters,Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows semifinals qguxin his very last year of prime tennis
     
    #87
  38. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,689
    In his own words, the proudest moment of Connors's career was his 1991 US Open semi-final run, so I bet he is delighted that he didn't retire after declining from his prime. It's important to remember that tennis players often don't view their careers in the same way that fans do.

    I've said this before but it's amazing how incredibly well rounded Lendl's career was. Apart from Wimbledon, he won practically all the biggest tournaments available to him on every surface in North America, Europe and Australia, plus he was a Davis Cup champion in 1980. None of Lendl's rivals had anywhere near as well rounded a career as he did that's for sure.
     
    #88
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    Connors had some good moments after 84 but they are merely anecdotic and spendable
     
    #89
  40. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    Connors' 1991 US Open semi run was great for the fans. A lot of things just fell in place for him, but we all knew he wouldn't have a shot against a legitimate contender like Courier. He wouldn't have fared any better against Lendl or Agassi had they made it through the draw. It's so funny that everyone remembers Aaron Krickstein for losing against Connors in a match that Aaron should have won.

    Lendl was a legend, but I don't know if he's really any more well-rounded than most players in his category. Heck, if you say McEnroe was great on everything except clay and Lendl was great on everything except grass, you can say Lendl was no more well-rounded than Mac, who almost beat Lendl in the FO finals. Lendl certainly wasn't at his best on grass. His best surface was hard courts, but he was better on clay than most of the great American players because he was raised on it. You can argue that Agassi was more well-rounded because he won a career Grand Slam. Wilander was as well-rounded as Lendl in the sense that neither was great on grass, but once Wilander figured out hard courts, he was dominant on both clay and hard. Connors won the USO on grass, clay, and hard surfaces, and when he won on the green Har-tru clay he beat two of the greatest clay court players of all-time (Vilas and Borg).
     
    #90
  41. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,047
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Connors had chances against Courier, contrary to popular belief. Connors broke Courier in the second set on a close linecall, which prevented the crowd going crazy. I think that was crucial, as it kept the atmosphere relatively flat, just as Courier needed it to be.
     
    #91
  42. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,689
    They weren't spendable for him though. Every year the US Open rolls around, Connors has said that he always remembers his 1991 run more fondly than any of his titles there. Plus there were so many other highlights like beating a resurgent Mac in a final in Toulouse in 1989, his comeback against Pernfors at Wimbledon in 1987 etc.

    It's important to remember that tennis players don't judge when to retire based on how posters on a tennis forum will analyse their achievements. They retire when they stop loving the sport or their body physically gives up on them. Connors loved the sport and the competition, so his decision to continue playing on well past his prime was the right one.

    Of course he was more well rounded. McEnroe and Connors both never won a single official title on European red clay. At least Lendl won 2 official titles on grass at Queen's. Plus his Wimbledon record was far better than Mac's at Roland Garros. Connors never properly won the Davis Cup as well (his contribution to USA's 1981 title was pretty minimal). Wilander never won the Masters or even reached a semi-final at Wimbledon.

    Lendl was a multiple champion at 5 of the 6 biggest tournaments available to him during his career (the majors, the Masters and the WCT finals), a multiple finalist at the other of those events, and a Davis Cup champion.

    Away from those blue chip tournaments, Lendl also won many of the other most important tournaments across a variety of surfaces; Monte-Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, Barcelona, Wembley, Queen's and Stockholm in Europe, Boca West, Canada, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Forest Hills in North America, and the Sydney indoor event in Australia

    He one of the greatest players of all time on hard courts and carpet, probably the third greatest player of the open era on clay and an excellent player on grass (he was far better on grass than most players in tennis history have been on their weakest surfaces). US green clay, European red clay, outdoor hard, indoor hard, carpet, and grass, Lendl had good tournament wins across all surfaces.

    In terms of all surface achievements and versatility, none of his 5 great rivals match up to him. That doesn't necessarily mean he is greater of course, but certainly more well rounded.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
    #92
  43. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,047
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Apart from 1984 when Connors played Davis Cup full-time, Connors played just 3 Davis Cup ties in his career in all the other years combined (2 in 1975 and 1 in 1981).
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
    #93
  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,579
    That's all true but there's more to the story: the Lendl that Connors dominated was not the same Lendl that dominated the game later. Lendl improved at the same time that Connors declined. In early '84 he started getting fitter; and in '85 when he started working with Roche he became even more fit and made his biggest strides mentally.

    It was a double impression I had, watching those two back then. I wanted Connors to win, but with every succeeding match that they played, Connors looked slower; and all the while Lendl was just making it more difficult for Connors to hurt him.

    Connors matched up well with Lendl and would always have been a tough rival for Lendl, under any circumstances. But prime Connors never played peak Lendl. There was an 8-year age difference between them and their best years just never overlapped.
     
    #94
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,332
    I would guess that prime Connors and prime Lendl would be a tough battle on any surface. Even their career records are so close.
     
    #95
  46. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Florida
    Prime Connors and prime Lendl would be under 2 different eras. Prime Connors was using the T2000, while prime Lendl had graphite. That would be like comparing prime Laver to prime Sampras (if you buy in that prime Lendl was late 80's).

    I don't know if I completely buy in that Lendl was so much better after 1984. In 84 he was 24 years old, and unlike Agassi, he didn't need a kick in the butt to get serious about fitness. He already had victories against the best in the world including Borg, Connors, and McEnroe. If not for those superstars, he would have been as dominant in the early 80's as Federer was in his early years and everyone would be saying those were his best years. In the late 80's his competition was good, but not as consistent. Take a look at Becker and Agassi, for instance. Wilander had self-confidence issues until he finally broke through, and then he had too much confidence, and tennis lost its meaning for him. Edberg had tremendous talent, but he was never consistently good either. Lendl was clearly the most consistent of the bunch.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
    #96
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,715
    I agree.As I posted before, I saw Lendl many times in the period 1980-1982 and he did not get any bit better later on at all except that he improved fitness and mental strength because that is simply what he nedeed to improve.
    The other reason is Borg was not there anymore,Connors was declining and no longer a big factor and the same can be said about Mac.
    Of course, only Wilander could challenge Lendl' supremacy over a full season because Beckwr and Edberg weren' t consistent enough and while those 3 were great players they never reached the stature of 1980-81 Borg 1982 Connors and 1983-84 Mac so Lendll improving fitness and mental strength was enough to dominate
     
    #97
  48. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,387
    I'm talking about Lendl's head, not Connor's legs. That January '85 Masters match was a big deal, in the sense that it was a really close match where Lendl was trailing in the 3rd set, only to surge to victory. I take that into account along w/the come from behind win over Mac in '84 RG to say that "yes", Lendl had finally broken down some mental barriers against his toughest foes.

    After '84, Connors had some good tennis in him still, just not quite enough to win a GS event. But, definitely enough to stage some great, memorable matches. End of '85, even '87, would've been good times to exit, since he was in Top 5 at the time.
     
    #98
  49. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,387
    '84 was a very strong year for Connors; if not for McEnroe, he easily could've been the #1 player. Surely, he would've won Wimbledon and squared off against Lendl in both the RG and USO finals.
     
    #99
  50. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,387
    I might argue that Wilander, Connors and Agassi had more well rounded "all surface" careers than Ivan....it's a bit dicey on how to assess this. But, these 3 guys were very comfortable on all the surfaces for the most part and won at least 1 GS event on each surface. Ivan just had very few wins on grass against his top rivals, despite some wimby finals and 2 Queens titles. Whereas you could point to the others and say they had some key wins against their top rivals on their relatively worst surfaces. Wilander sliced up Mac and Lendl on the Aussie grass, which is often forgotten now. But, otherwise, Ivan had a fantastic career....no real argument about that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012

Share This Page