Good Ivan Lendl interview

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, May 25, 2009.

  1. timnz

    timnz Legend

    Oct 17, 2008
  2. gpt

    gpt Professional

    Mar 4, 2009
    Thanks for posting an interesting read
  3. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    wow, nice find. Thanks so much for posting! I really love any Lendl interview.

    yep, that's Lendl's caustic sense of humour. LOLOL!

    Unexpected, but not so suprising that he didn't like Jimmy or Mac, but that he liked Stefan.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2009
  4. droliver

    droliver Professional

    Aug 24, 2008
    Birmingham, AL U.S.A.
    I found this interesting when asked about the 1984 French Open defeat of John McEnroe


    BTURNER Hall of Fame

    Jul 27, 2007
    I think he's right on the money on the French. Would have almost ensured a mac attack at Australia and he would have had a completely differnet outlook on clay courts of 85 and even 86.
  6. Gasquetrules

    Gasquetrules Semi-Pro

    Jan 1, 2007
    Looking forward to reading the interview...

    I admire Lendl a great deal and still miss his presence in the men's game. He seemed to dominate it for so long.

    Interestingly, McEnroe defines himself by his rivalry with Borg and brings up Borg and himself constantly. This is because he clearly mastered Borg and came to dominate that rivalry. He won it in the end.

    But the opposite is the case with Lendl. The second half of Mac's career was his rivalry with Ivan, and Lendl clearly came out on top in that one. Mac dominated early, but once Lendl fully matured as a player McEnroe was an easy win for him.

    This is why McEnroe never mentions Lendl in public, during his commentating, etc. He'd like for us to forget about Ivan Lendl. Lendl did to Mac what Nadal has done to Federer.
  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    This was an interview on the eve of Lendl's twenty-fifth anniversary of his big breakthrough against McEnroe that goes a lot deeper than the usual fluff pieces at a sporting event:
    “Another significant influence on your life was growing-up in a communist state. Is it true that you watched the Soviet tanks rolling into Prague?”

    “Yeah, I remember my parents were in Prague for club matches and I was with my grandparents in another town. They came to pick me up and we went home on the train and at every station there were tanks aiming at the trains.”

    “That must have been terrifying?”

    "Well, it wasn’t terrifying because you are only eight [and don’t understand]. My parents were very upset and I was warned not to use words like ’occupants’ or to laugh or spit or say anything against them. People went to jail for using words like that. That’s another reason I wouldn’t write an autobiography - people here just wouldn’t understand. People in Hungary and Poland and the former Soviet republics would understand but people in California? Are you kidding me? They have no idea what it was like.”

    "During those formative years here, your relationship with the media was strained,” I suggest. “And your relationship with the fans suffered as a result of that.”

    “Well, let me tell you about the media,” he says. “Because there was no freedom of speech in communist countries, I had to be careful what I said and didn’t upset the agreements or arrangements I had because if I was home they could have taken my passport and I would never have travelled again; would never have been heard of again. But the first question [at the press conference] was always, ’Would you like to live here? When are you going to defect?’ Well, what can I say? There was no answer I could give and that’s how it started.”
  8. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Mar 8, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Most excellent. Love reading Lendl interviews.

    The comment about Edberg is great and sounds true to me. Interesting people don't spend too much of their energy trying to convince others of how interesting they are.

    Not something one can say about McEnroe.
  9. gpt

    gpt Professional

    Mar 4, 2009
    Very good point and now that you mention it I dont recall McEnroe ever mentioning Lendl.
  10. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

    Apr 25, 2007
    “You lost the first two sets of that final and he was two games to love up in the third.”

    “Are you sure about that?” he asks.

    “Well, that’s what McEnroe says in his book.”

    “You are absolutely certain about that? I know popular recollection is that he was two sets and a break up but my recollection was that he was not a break up in the third but he was up a break in the fourth - 4-3 serving two gain points for 5-3. That’s my recollection.”

    “He definitely says in his book that he was up a break in the third,” I insist.

    “I dispute that. I don’t recall it that way.”

    Lendl is right. The first one to break in the third set was Lendl, going up 4-2; McEnroe broke right back. Then they stayed on serve until Lendl broke again at 5-4 to take the set.

    McEnroe somehow must have imagined later that he was ahead in the third, to the point where he ended up believing it, and wrote it in his book without bothering to check.

    Lendl is right also about the 4th set, though in this one there were many breaks in rapid succession. Mac had the early break at 1-1; Lendl broke right back, then Mac broke again at 2-2, then Lendl broke back at 3-4, and then once again at 6-5 to take the set.
  11. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Mar 8, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
  12. scotus

    scotus G.O.A.T.

    Jul 5, 2005
    I have heard Mac mention Lendl on a number of occasions (I watch a lot of tennis), and that does not even include the many times he had to comment on his French Open final loss to him.

    Mac has done at least one charity event with Lendl in NYC and has even tried to get Lendl to join the senior tour.

    The reason Mac mentions Borg a lot is because he genuinely likes him and respects him (along with Gerulitis).

    I still sense that he hates Connors, although Connors seems to have been saying more and more positive things about Mac in the last 10 years.
  13. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    I've been correcting posters here for years about the 2 sets & a break thing. But its understandable that so many have latched on to this, why would anyone dispute a player that actually played the match in question? plus it sounds more dramatic. in reality is 2 sets & break that big a lead on clay anyway? I don't think so, there have been much more dramatic comebacks on that surface over the years(& one break often is not enough to secure a set on clay)

    Mac also got the details wrong about his '85 RG Semi with Wilander.

    To be fair, Mac has never watched a tape of the '84 Final. I'm curious when he started saying he was up '2 sets & a break,' I doubt he ever talked about it while he was on tour, maybe when he became a commentator? which was some years after the match occurred.

    Even though Lendl was right about this, he also doesn't have the greatest memory about his career(In a recent interview, he said the '87 USO Open final was played at night. It actually had a 1 pm start time.)

    And don't get me started on Sampras' poor memory(many have noticed errors in his book, & he's pretty consistent in getting details wrong about his career over the years) Evert is awful as well.

    I would never assume any player gets all the details in these books right(unless they kept a diary while they were actually on tour)

    But I wonder about their "co-writers," why can't they be bothered to fact check this stuff?

    And every other day Brad Gilbert is saying some incorrect bit of trivia(with full confidence of course. He thinks Edberg was up 4-2, 40-15, in the 4th set vs Chang in '89. Or that no Italian player has been ranked in the top 20 since the 70s. No doubt this atmosphere contributes to the general ignorance of tennis fans. posters here parrot so much of what Mac & Gilbert say.)

    I guess espn has no one doing research in the truck(often in other sports, when a commentator gets something wrong, a short time later they will say 'my producer has told me that I was wrong, etc' But in tennis, commentators have free reign to say anything - provide false info on history, even rules, and no one corrects them)

    He was just giving some pretty big props to Lendl yesterday(going on about ridiculous fitness, inventing the modern power game, etc) He has done so many times in the past as well.

    And the Borg-Mac rivalry may be the most famous rivalry of all time. There was even a book written about it. Without it Mac's fame would have been less. It took him to another level. The Lendl-Mac rivalry had a much lower profile, nothing in it could compare to what happened in 1980(they played back to back 5 set major finals! and so much was on the line from a historical standpoint. and the tennis boom was close to its peak. by 1984/85 tennis was already declining)

    So its sort of understandable Mac would have more to say about his rivalry with Borg than Lendl. It transcended the sport(mac says to this day, more people come up to him & mention the wimbledon final more than any other match he played)
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  14. dirtballer

    dirtballer Professional

    Sep 15, 2004
    Very interesting interview. Believe it or not, my computer got attacked by a virus when I went from page 10 to page 11. I was afraid I wouldn't get to finish the interview. Fortunately, my anti-virus software caught it and I was able to read the rest..
  15. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

    Sep 13, 2007
    Weak era
    I have to say that this was the best interview from a tennis player I've ever read.Lendl seems to have been a much more interesting person than he got the credit for,has great sense of humour(IMO) and seems like a stand up guy.
  16. DBH

    DBH New User

    May 8, 2008
    Columbia, SC
    Moose, are you sure about the 1 pm start time for the '87 USO final? I know this final was on a Monday (after the scheduled Sunday date was rained out), but I strongly recollect watching a good part of this match (not just the end) on TV after I got home from school. This probably wouldn't have been possible had the match started at 1 pm Eastern time (I also lived in the eastern time zone).

    It may have been a situation where the match started in the afternoon and spilled into the early evening, similar to the '08 USO Monday final. On the other hand, it's quite possible that the final was actually played at 1 pm and CBS broadcasted it a bit later on a tape-delayed basis.

    Regarding the Sampras book, it was co-written by Peter Bodo, and while I respect Bodo's work, he does have quite a lot of factual errors in his _Courts of Babylon_ book, too. (Few errors were in _Inside Tennis_, which was written soon after the events described).

  17. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    It was a 5 hour match, & the lights were on by the conclusion(but with still plenty of daylight left) Not a night match by any means.

    These were Lendl's comments on it on TC recently: "I had a cold, so I was glad the USTA scheduled it at night"

    I wasn't just referring to the Bodo book, Sampras himself has a problem with dates (at the HOF he was interviewed walking around, looking at trophies -"this was my Australian Open Trophy that I won in ' best match was the Wimbledon final in '00 vs Andre...) and I've seen many other interviews where he does this.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  18. Todd6060

    Todd6060 New User

    May 26, 2009
    McEnroe frequently mentions Lendl when one player hits at his opponent's body from close range.
  19. paolo2143

    paolo2143 Rookie

    May 29, 2007
    Interestingly, McEnroe defines himself by his rivalry with Borg and brings up Borg and himself constantly. This is because he clearly mastered Borg and came to dominate that rivalry. He won it in the end.

    he may have gotten edge over borg at end of borg's career in 1981 effectively ,but overall borg actually had winning record against mac between 77-81 and even in 81 borg absolutely annihilated him in the first 2 matches of their challenge series(so much so that john actually apologised to crowd for his poor performances).I think mcenroe's game was a perfect compliment to borg's and they had some amazing matches but yes john could definitely handle borg better than he ever could ivan.THe funny thing is in 1981 when john actually played and beat bjorn in their last 3 matches he was getting hammered by ivan who in turn got beat twce by bjorn.
  20. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

    Oct 31, 2008
    Windsor, England
    McEnroe really respected Borg, whereas for example he didn't respect Connors or like him, and that goes for Lendl as well:)
  21. 120mphBodyServe

    120mphBodyServe Banned

    Feb 16, 2009
    Aiming an ICBM at Portland, Oregon..
    Link doesn't work for me... Help?

    Edit: Never mind.. It's a bug with Opera.. doesn't like .ece links...
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  22. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    May 31, 2006
    Great interview. I hope more people read this, there's a lot of insight there.

    Thanks for posting!
  23. SpaceCadet

    SpaceCadet New User

    May 19, 2008
    Great interview! Completely forgot that Lendl had to be very guarded while talking to the media, for fear of displeasing the Communist Powers at be.

    On a side note; why was Lendl labeled a "choker".

    From 1981-84 all his GS final loses (except for the 83 US Open) was to the higher seed. Since when was losing the higher seed a choke?
  24. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

    Jan 16, 2009
    You really think Mac doesn't respect Lendl??????????

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