Why was Ivan "The Terrible" Lendl the most hated player in the 80's?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Dutch-Guy, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. Dutch-Guy

    Dutch-Guy Legend

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    Ivan Lendl was the most dominant player in the 80's yet he was the most hated at the same time. Why? Coz he owned his Americans counterpart?

    Lendl vs McEnroe 21:15
    Lendl vs Connors 22:13
    Lendl vs Courier 4:0
    Lendl vs Gilbert 16:0
    Lendl vs Agassi 6:2
    Lendl vs Sampras 6:3

    Lendl vs Americans 72-37.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
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  2. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    He was quite popular in Europe.
    Some Americans hated him because he beat US players and wasn't friendly towards the media types.
     
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  3. Dutch-Guy

    Dutch-Guy Legend

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    I was too young to see him playing but you're right about him being popular in Europe.My dad used to be one of his fans(he still has some of his matches in VHS)

    I don't buy that since the same stuff happened to Navratilova:early in her career,the US public used to warm up to her until she started owning Chris Evert (beat her like 14 times in a row if i'm not mistaken).
     
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  4. HBK4life

    HBK4life Rookie

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    I would say combination of 80s cold war thinking and he had a pretty dry personality. I was too young to really watch him in his prime but I always thought the dude was a stone cold killer on the court.
     
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  5. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Navratilova was not seen as feminine enough back in the 70s.
    The perception of women in sports has changed in the last 30 years.
    S. Williams, Davenport, Safina, Kuznetsova - today this kind of woman player is quite common.
     
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  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    He was said to have a dour, sullen personality.
     
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  7. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    I don't agree. I disliked him because I thought he had no personality, he was whiny, he was dour, totally without charisma, and he was painfully boring.

    Also, don't assume that Americans only supported US players. The only US player I liked during that period was Connors. My other favorites were Swedish, Australian, German and French, among many others. I actually quite strongly disliked most of the higher ranked Americans of the time besides Connors (and even cheered against Jimmy if one of my other favorites was playing him).

    I used to be infuriated watching tennis on American television and listening to the extremely one-sided commentary - it was almost sickening the way the announcers would urge on the Americans to win. I always thought that since tennis was an international sport, they should be neutral and fair, and commend good play on both sides. But despire that, even before he became a US citizen, the announcers were very complimentary about Lendl - it was as if they'd been paid to try to promote him and try to force people to like him (he was so misunderstood, he's really a nice guy, etc.).

    It's funny because I've recently started to watch some of the old matches from the 80's, and it stirs me up all over again to listen to some of the commentary!
     
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  8. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Try growing up in the eastern block where to him playing tennis was his ticket to getting out of that hellhole. He grew up with a serious attitude early on and carried it into his adulthood. It’s a lot easier for guys like Connors and Mac who had nothing to lose in comparison to Lend. Compared to the Czech Republic, America was the land of milk and honey. I grew up under communist occupation and people in general had a similar personality to Lendl. Friendly and relaxed around friends, but more reserved in public. Humor was dry sarcastic and witty, not slapstick and silly and over the top. I can see were Lendl’s personality came from. It’s too bad people back in the 80s didn’t get it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
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  9. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Connors and Borg were the ones who were boring and had absolutely no personality.
    Lendl was quite witty, though, I like his cynicism towards certain stupid reporters.
     
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  10. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Connors is/was certainly an ***, I admit that. At the time, I loved his tennis, though, and found him exciting to watch play. Watching him win Wimbledon '82 is what got me started playing tennis.

    I wasn't a Borg fan when he was in his prime, but have grown to appreciate him and find him very charismatic. The group of Swedes that followed Borg in the 80's were my favorites (Edberg, Jarryd, Wilander, Svensson, Pernfors, Nystrom). There's a group that most people have called boring and uncharismatic, but I thought they had massive amounts of charisma and humour.

    Other personalities I enjoyed from the period were Cash, Becker, Noah, Leconte (but Henri could also be too baffoonish), among others. Besides being boring, Lendl was arrogant as hell and quite condescending when talking about some of the other players.
     
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  11. Nuke

    Nuke Hall of Fame

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    Bad teeth, Dracula accent, and a sense of humor that didn't always translate well.
     
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  12. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Those head-to-heads are wrong:

    Ivan Lendl 21-15 John McEnroe
    1980 Milan SF: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 1-6, 6-2)
    1980 US Open QF: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5)
    1981 French Open QF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-4, 6-4, 7-5)
    1981 Davis Cup QF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-4, 14-12, 7-5)
    1982 Masters SF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-4, 6-2)
    1982 WCT Dallas F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3)
    1982 Toronto SF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-4, 6-4)
    1982 US Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-4, 6-4, 7-6)
    1983 Masters F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-4, 6-4, 6-2)
    1983 Philadelphia F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3)
    1983 WCT Dallas F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6)
    1983 Wimbledon SF: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (7-6, 6-4, 6-4)
    1983 San Francisco F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (3-6, 7-6, 6-4)
    1984 Masters F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-4, 6-4)
    1984 Philadelphia F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6)
    1984 Brussels F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-1, 6-3)
    1984 Forest Hills F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-4, 6-2)
    1984 World Team Cup F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-2)
    1984 French Open F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5)
    1984 US Open F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-4, 6-1)
    1985 Masters F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (7-5, 6-0, 6-4)
    1985 Forest Hills F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-3, 6-3)
    1985 World Team Cup F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-7, 7-6, 6-3)
    1985 Stratton Mountain F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (7-6, 6-2)
    1985 Montreal F: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (7-5, 6-3)
    1985 US Open F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (7-6, 6-3, 6-4)
    1987 US Open QF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-3, 6-3, 6-4)
    1988 French Open R16: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4)
    1989 Australian Open QF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (7-6, 6-2, 7-6)
    1989 WCT Dallas SF: John McEnroe def. Ivan Lendl (6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 7-5)
    1989 Montreal F: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-1, 6-3)
    1989 Masters RR: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-3, 6-3)
    1990 Toronto Indoor SF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-3, 6-2)
    1990 Queen's Club SF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-2, 6-4)
    1991 Long Island SF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-3, 7-5)
    1992 Toronto QF: Ivan Lendl def. John McEnroe (6-2, 6-4)

    Unfinished match
    1987 Stratton Mountain F: John McEnroe led Ivan Lendl (7-6, 1-4)

    Hardcourt: 9-4 to Lendl (another match unfinished)
    Clay: 5-2 to Lendl
    Grass: 1-1
    Carpet: 8-6 to McEnroe
    In Slams: 7-3 to Lendl


    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)

    Unfinished match
    1984 Rotterdam F: Ivan Lendl led Jimmy Connors (6-0, 1-0)

    Hardcourt: 14-5 to Lendl
    Clay: 2-2
    Grass: 2-0 to Connors
    Carpet: 6-4 to Lendl (another match unfinished)
    In Slams: 4-3 to Lendl


    Ivan Lendl 4-0 Jim Courier
    1989 US Open R32: Ivan Lendl def. Jim Courier (6-1, 6-2, 6-3)
    1990 Milan QF: Ivan Lendl def. Jim Courier (6-2, 6-4)
    1991 Tokyo Outdoor SF: Ivan Lendl def. Jim Courier (6-4, 6-1)
    1991 World Championships RR: Ivan Lendl def. Jim Courier (6-2, 6-3)

    Hardcourt: 2-0 to Lendl
    Clay: 0-0
    Grass: 0-0
    Carpet: 2-0 to Lendl
    In Slams: 1-0 to Lendl


    Ivan Lendl 16-0 Brad Gilbert
    1982 WCT Hartford R16: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-2, 6-2)
    1983 Tokyo Indoor SF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-2, 6-1)
    1984 Philadelphia QF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (3-6, 6-2, 6-1)
    1984 Brussels R32: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-1, 6-0)
    1985 Fort Myers QF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-4, 6-2)
    1985 Stratton Mountain QF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-3, 6-3)
    1985 Stuttgart Outdoor F: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-4, 6-0)
    1986 Philadelphia SF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (7-5, 4-6, 6-2)
    1986 Stratton Mountain QF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-2, 3-6, 6-2)
    1986 US Open R16: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (7-5, 6-1, 6-2)
    1987 Miami R16: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-2, 6-2, 6-4)
    1987 Washington F: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-1, 6-0)
    1987 Masters RR: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-2, 6-2)
    1987 Masters SF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-2, 6-4)
    1989 Forest Hills QF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-0, 6-1)
    1991 Philadelphia SF: Ivan Lendl def. Brad Gilbert (6-4, 3-6, 6-4)

    Hardcourt: 6-0 to Lendl
    Clay: 2-0 to Lendl
    Grass: 0-0
    Carpet: 8-0 to Lendl
    In Slams: 1-0 to Lendl
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
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  13. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Ivan Lendl 6-2 Andre Agassi
    1987 Stratton Mountain SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 5-7, 6-3)
    1988 US Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4)
    1988 Masters RR: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (1-6, 7-6, 6-3)
    1989 Forest Hills SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 6-3)
    1989 Montreal SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 3-6, 6-4)
    1989 US Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1)
    1992 Toronto F: Andre Agassi def. Ivan Lendl (3-6, 6-2, 6-0)
    1993 New Haven QF: Andre Agassi def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-4)

    Hardcourt: 4-2 to Lendl
    Clay: 1-0 to Lendl
    Grass: 0-0
    Carpet: 1-0 to Lendl
    In Slams: 2-0 to Lendl


    Pete Sampras 5-3 Ivan Lendl
    1990 Milan SF: Ivan Lendl def. Pete Sampras (3-6, 6-0, 6-3)
    1990 US Open QF: Pete Sampras def. Ivan Lendl (6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2)
    1991 Philadelphia F: Ivan Lendl def. Pete Sampras (5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3)
    1991 World Championships SF: Pete Sampras def. Ivan Lendl (6-2, 6-3)
    1992 Cincinnati F: Pete Sampras def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 3-6, 6-3)
    1993 Philadelphia SF: Ivan Lendl def. Pete Sampras (7-6, 6-4)
    1994 Sydney Outdoor F: Pete Sampras def. Ivan Lendl (7-6, 6-4)
    1994 Australian Open R16: Pete Sampras def. Ivan Lendl (7-6, 6-2, 7-6)

    Hardcourt: 4-0 to Sampras
    Clay: 0-0
    Grass: 0-0
    Carpet: 3-1 to Lendl
    In Slams: 2-0 to Sampras
     
    #13
  14. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Lendl

    I have to agree; Lendl's "personality" did not click here in the US...and he was dour, nearly all the time on court. Stats for Ivan vs. Connors are wrong, BTW...13:22 in favor of Lendl. Early in his career he had a reputation as a gagger/choker. Remember he played 4 GS finals before finally winning one (losing to Borg, Connors-twice, Wilander)...and he was nailed in the press for tanking a Masters match against Connors, as well as his dismal efforts at the latter stages of the '83 USO final (tho' watching it now, I feel less strongly about that and more positive re: Connors strong play to close it out).

    Ivan is/was a great player in the mid-to late 80's, , but not winning Big W will always hang over his head...(I do think he lost to much better grass players, some who are all time greats, obviously)...

    Another way of looking at Ivan comes by way of a quote from Connors: "He (Ivan) had to wait until I got old and Mac went away (mentally) to become #1" Now, obviously, this coincides with Ivan improving his fitness level and reaching peak levels of play, but there is some truth to it....he never beat Connors when it mattered until he was past 30yrs of age. He really only beat Jimmy regularly from 1985 on...and some of those matches were close. And despite his strong record against Mac, Mac pulled out some big matches at USO and W against him. Lastly, Wilander was able to win some pretty big ones against Ivan as well...at the AO and RG...so, not everyone saw Ivan as this invincible tennis giant

    Yet, I always to stress "look at WHO he lost to!"....no pikers in the bunch..
     
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  15. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Lendl was the Federer of the mid to late 80s. Connors comment is ridiculous and just sounds like sour grapes or some sort of grudge that he holds. That’s like Rod Laver saying “Federer is lucky I’m 70 and not playing anymore”. What BS..
     
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  16. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Lendl was nowhere near Fed's achievement level; Sure Connor's remarks are sour grapes, but there is a bit of truth there, I think....and, I am sure I am not alone alone in that opinion...Mac was off doing God knows what when he should have been dominating the tour given his stellar 1984....leaving a 35 yr old Connors to be the sole US challenger to Lendl, certainly a tall order. Let's face it, the years add up quickly, no matter who you are and its hard to maintain that "top dog" position; Connors stayed in the Top 4 or 5 for an awfully long time. Mac had his head up his a## after '84. And frankly, if not for Lendl, Connors might've picked up a few more GS during those later years.

    Wilander made the best of it, I think, and cracked Lendl's facade of invincibility with some regularity in his march to #1. Not to mention Becker getting a few in there over him when it mattered.

    All of this stuff combined makes Lendl's accomplishments have a bit of a tinge to them...as great as he was, there are some real blemishes. Which is why I always struggle w/putting him ahead of Mac or Connors, even tho his record is deeper than Mac's and at least equal to Connors'. And certainly, it was well-known that Mac & Jimmy detested Ivan...in Mac's case, perhaps justified, given Ivan's tendency to try and drive the ball into his face when Mac was at the net. Nice!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
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  17. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    He beat McEnroe.
     
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  18. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    I admired his Terminator-like on court personality, but i've heard he was a prankster in the locker room and actually a pretty nice/funny guy off the court.
     
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  19. jhick

    jhick Semi-Pro

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    I heard he used to play a lot of head games with other players, probably another reason why he wasn't so popular.
     
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  20. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    At the start of his career he was a HORRIBLE interview - he was moody, sullen, sarcastic, dry....etc all has been discussed ad naseum. But he was also very very intellegent and really had a deep distrust of the press (coming from his background duh) and his early press interviews poisoned the well so so speak for quite a long time. His attitude on and off court didn't help as well - I mean those all black outfits he wore ALL THE TIME then his getting resentful at the press for calling him Darth Vader...etc - Whats so cool is that I got to meet him at a few industry events back in the day and he is a really funny and a great guy in person - he just doesnt suffer fools lightly.
    Its really funny as he loves this country and fully embraced it on a personal and business side and that never really came across - in truth ask anyone involved on the business side of tennis and most all though Ivan was a much more personable (and 10x smarter) than McEnroe or Conners - in fact Mcenroe had to be one of the biggest schumck's out there. Jeez whats more apple pie then buying an estate in Greenwich and playing golf 7 days a week.
     
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  21. Dutch-Guy

    Dutch-Guy Legend

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    H2H updated (thanx Mustard and jrepac).72-37 What a complete ownage!!!
     
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  22. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    My pleasure. Sampras should be 5-3 up in the OP, not 6-3 :)
     
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  23. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Oh, please! Lendl never dominated his era the way Federer has.

    I remember also a story about Lendl and Wilander who were schedule to play an exhibition match. Wilander's luggage, including his tennis equipment, was lost/delayed, so he had to quickly go to a shop and buy 'off-the-shelf' tennis racquets.

    Lendl knew this - but proceeded to beat Mats 6-0, 6-0. Was that really necessary? It was an exo, no prize money or ranking points on the line. At least the audience deserved better than that. Lendl was so obsessive about his own racquets, you'd think he'd be a little understanding.
     
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  24. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Ivan/Jimmy/Mac

    I guess they could all be jerks at times...in very different ways....Ivan was a very complex person; certainly, he did not trust the press. And, privately, he may have had good reasons to stay away. But, Jimmy and John had the US fans in their hip pockets...Lendl just could never engender them in that way. And, it is true, he was very, very happy to be here in the US...he's gone on record w/that. There were some fine rivalries back then...
     
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  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Federer is lucky that Rod is 70. Because if he was 60 . . . .
     
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  26. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Drakulie has an accent?
     
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  27. leeroy85

    leeroy85 Rookie

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    Thinking "hated" is the wrong word, more like unappreciated.
     
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  28. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    I'm not old enough to know first hand what the scene was like back in his prime, but from ive read, he was the first really dominant champion to come out of Eastern Europe, and his game was very deliberate and mechanical, and he was very focused and driven and not seen as a lovable sort of personality. Plus he was beating all the more charismatic players and American heroes of the time.

    Seems like he was the Ivan Drago of the tennis world.

    In saying that I've heard he was a great guy off court. One of my former coaches was a director at some of the smaller tournaments leading up to the Aus Open, and according to him Lendl was one of the most generous players with his time, and always very punctual in his off court commitments to the tournament. McEnroe according to him was among the rudest, most arrogant people he had ever met, and did things like show up to official Davis Cup dinners in his bathrobe, called a tournament ref a 'f-ing *******' to his face over small scheduling issues etc. This all before the defaulting incident at the Aus Open.

    Anyway, apparently Lendl always played in brand new clothes every match, and would discard frames if they were lightly damaged or scratched, so at the end of the tournament he would always leave all his match clothing, shoes, used rackets etc as a gift for the ball kids, usually boxes full of stuff.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
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  29. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    i agree, he was my favorite of the time.

    i did , however, get annoyed with the whole sawdust/plucking sawdust out of his eyelashes routine.

    mac did too!

    lendl was revolutionary in so many ways in his approach to the game.
    meticulous.
     
    #29
  30. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Yes, that was tiresome. Lendl was the first, and one of the few, to be very slow and methodical between points, and to use the entire 30 second clock for each and every point. Of course, today they all take massive amounts of time between points, toweling off, etc. Lendl's antics would be nothing today, but at the time it was very annoying.

    Others might take an extra few seconds after a long rally, or might towel off occasionally between points on a very hot and humid day, but Lendl was the only one who had the identical routine preparation and movement regardless of the conditions or previous point played - and he timed it down to the second.

    And because he used the sawdust, they had to sweep his end of the court at every change of ends.

    Out of curiosity, did any other player ever take up the habit of using sawdust?
     
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  31. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    alot of people thought his game was so boring to watch because his strokes and demeanor were so mechanical. he would bounce the ball 4x before every first serve, and 3x before every second serve. and he was the complete opposite of a graceful fluid player like federer. his strokes/movement was more like Sjeng Schalken. even his equipment was precise - 72.5# on all of his racquets. alot of players do things like this today, but when he was playing, nobody did. he was basically a robot, and when compared to that era of mac, connors, noah, etc. who showed more flair/excitement on court, lendl was pretty much the crowds least favorite against most of his opponents. i think his personality was similar to sampras, he didnt really care about the crowd, he just was there to play.
     
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  32. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Good description, I agree completely.
     
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  33. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Lendl was totally different in his press conferences/interviews to how he was on the court. His interviews were hilarious, and just as funny as Roddick's nowadays which draw so much praise. And even on court remember his funny exchange with Connors at the net in their Wimbledon semi-final in 1984. Can you imagine something like happening in such a big match nowadays.

    Unfortunately interview transcripts weren't widely available back then, especially at non-slam events, while nowadays you could find Roddick's interview after his 1st round match at San Jose or Atlanta if you wanted to. Now many tennis fans place a lot of importance in what big-name players say in their interviews. Just look at how practically every word uttered by Federer or Nadal is sliced and diced in the General Pro Player section here.

    If player interviews had been more accessible in the 80s, or Lendl was an active player on the tour right now, he definitely would have been more popular and appreciated. Very few current players are as humerous in their interviews as Lendl was in his.
     
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  34. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl could lose his temper as much as Connors and McEnroe sometimes.
     
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  35. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. Like Connors and Mac, Lendl was regularly fined for temper tantrums towards officials, and was once suspended for going over the fine limit.

    The label he had of being an emotionless robot was a complete myth.

    And I agree with those of you who have said that he was popular in Europe.
     
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  36. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    sawdust

    Can't believe I forgot about that...messy and annoying!

    I think many have hit on the fact that off court and w/the press, he was somewhat more personable, even funny at times. I have heard similar stories re: off court commitments. I think he treated those as business commitments, clearly.

    I think he kept his emotions pretty tightly wrapped...but he could show frustration and/or anger at times. He usually was not very vocal about it.

    In hindsight, I can appreciate his game and what he accomplished, but in terms of sheer entertainment, there were so many more colorful players at the time. It just hard to LIKE Lendl, period. But, I did feel SORRY almost for him after all those Wimby losses! He tried and tried and tried....
     
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  37. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster Semi-Pro

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    He was hated because we all knew he was a steroid freak. Martina was also the first woman to juice. It is an eastern european tradition to go on the juice. They practically invented the science of steroid use in athletes.
     
    #37
  38. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]
     
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  39. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    LOL, I just love the responses from posters that never saw him play.

    Lendl's play had nothing to do with why people (and Tennis magazine/SI) disliked him. It was all about his demenour. Sorry, but to those that are CLUELESS, he was the Federer of the 80's (not BETTER). You people sooooo miss the point. He dominated pure and simple.
     
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  40. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I agree with everything else, but not sure I would compare the two in this manner. I would say "vaguely" similiar in that they were pretty controlled with their temper, but Pete showed wayyyy more emotion on court. Pete's style was different and his aggressive play was unlike Lendl's. So that translated into their "on court" personality. But I do agree with the other stuff, the man was a boring robot for the most part much so because he showed no emotion.
     
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  41. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Was there any "Federer of the 1980s"? I think not.

    Lendl dominated from late 1985 to late 1987. Before this period, he had a reputation in some circles of being a "choker" after losing 6 of his first 7 slam finals. After his late 1985 - late 1987 peak, he was challenged a lot more by players like Wilander, Becker and Edberg. Becker, in particular, really had Lendl's number in big matches. Even Pat Cash gave Lendl some big defeats.
     
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  42. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Mustard, you are a good guy on the boards, but Lendl was the best player of the 80's with Mac being a close second. He dominated, maybe you should look up his stats and major final appearances. You miss the point when the term "Federer of the 80's"..it just means he dominated his peers. In the same way?? no, but none the less he was the best player. just curious, but how old are you?
     
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  43. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Oh please nothing. By the time Federer retires his Grand Slam win/loss record will be very close to Lendl’s (obviously better, but close). The only difference between Lendl’s total major count and Federer’s is a few wins here and there. Obviously Federer is the best and all that but show some respect to Lendl. He DID dominate his era. And lets not forget Lendl had way way harder competition in the 80s than Federer had for a big chunk of his career.
     
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  44. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm well aware of the stats. Lendl was the best player of the 1980s if you take the decade as a whole, yes. That's pretty obvious.

    My age? I'm 26. I have loads of DVDs of past matches dating back to the 1970s and I've studied the recent history of the game in detail since I was a kid, so I know what I'm talking about. In the first half of the 1980s, Lendl was pillored for being "unable to win the big ones" and looked very intimidated by Connors in the 1982 and 1983 US Open finals, and was outplayed by Wilander in the 1983 Australian Open final. Even Lendl's brilliant 1984 French Open win from 2 sets down was only a brief respite from the stick. The stick was undeserved considering the level of his competition, but it wasn't until he beat McEnroe in the 1985 US Open final (a surprise win, BTW), that this sort of criticism stopped towards Lendl.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
    #44
  45. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    He was one of the dominant players of the 80's, yes. He was not the Federer of the 80's. He never won Wimbledon and he did not have the GS match record of Federer in the 00's.

    Lendl has 8 GS titles, Federer has 16 and is still playing (and 6 Wimbledon which Lendl failed to capture). Is that a few wins here and there?

    I'll give you that one. :) Many posters have stated that the competition in the 80's was stronger than this past decade and are often ridiculed for that statement on this forum. Glad you agree.
     
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  46. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl did everything in his power to win Wimbledon and became totally obsessed with it. He was certainly good enough to win Wimbledon, but for one reason or another, it never happened for him. My earliest tennis memory is Lendl totally dominating the field at Queen's Club in 1990. A few weeks later at Wimbledon, he wasn't the same for some reason. He peaked too soon.
     
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  47. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Yes it is. It's just 8 more matches over an entire 200+ grand slam match career.

    i don’t know what so hard to understand when I said “By the time Federer retires his Grand Slam win/loss record will be very close to Lendl’s”. It has nothing to do with how many majors he won. But the record shows how similarly dominant they were.
     
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  48. pjonesy

    pjonesy Professional

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    Good post. People forget that he lost 11 GS finals! Wilander certainly could give him problems, but he could not overpower Lendl. I think his aura of invincibility was shattered by Becker, Edberg and Sampras. Becker could overpower him with his serve, in a way that Mac never could. Becker also could stay even with Lendl from the baseline (maybe not on clay) and had the strength to hit clean winners. Edberg's kick serve gave Lendl fits and put him in positions where he could not hit passing shots so easily. Sampras proved in the 1990 US Open quarters, that Lendl could be shut down by a big, well disguised, accurate serve.

    I still think Lendl is one of the greatest players of all time, but he did have weaknesses that certain players were able to exploit. He played it safe in some ways, by staying at the baseline. But, he was able to dominate most players from that position. Bottom line, he was very well conditioned, mentally tough, had a very good serve, a great return and he absolutely was one of the greatest baseliners that has ever played the game. However, he was not perfect.
     
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  49. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    And how many legendary serve and volleyers did Federer have to face throughout his career? Apart from Grandpa Sampras with one foot into retirement.
     
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  50. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    He did that year, yeah. I remember I really wanted to see him to pull it off.

    Mustard's phrasing reminds me, too: in a way, Lendl peaked too late career-wise to be a real GOAT contender. He built his dominance out of long, slow, hard work and relentless self-improvement –going from a perennial choker to an emotional rock, making his physical fitness the difference between winning and losing, etc. He was still a work in progress almost half-way through his career, and that at least kept him from collecting the number of GS trophies that Sampras and Federer would collect.

    Similarly, it wasn't until late in his career that he started thinking about Wimbledon being part of his legacy, hired Tony Roche to help with his volley, and got serious about winning it. Early on he declined to play on the grounds that it wasn't his surface. (One year he pulled out, claiming he was allergic to grass, and then allowed himself to be photographed playing golf during the fortnight!) He had only a few years like 1990 where his chips were really on the table at Wimbledon; maybe that should be taken into account when comparing him to modern GOAT candidates who build every year of a long career around the event (and, we shouldn't forget, play it on a much more Lendl-friendly surface than Lendl did).

    I too think he was The Man for the 80's. His record is adequate to award him the decade, but less tangibly than that, he had this air of invincibility about him. As with Borg in the 70's, Sampras in the 90's, and Federer in the 00's, it felt for years like it was Lendl, space, and then a few good players that would beat him sometime, eventually, but it would be news when they did. Even when Wilander had a better year in 1988, it was still Lendl that seemed like the Big Dog that might wake up at any time, and you'd better watch your *** when he did!
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
    #50

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