Wimbledon 1989: Lendl's greatest chance for the title

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Enceladus, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Enceladus

    Enceladus New User

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    Lendl ended up in the semifinals, but he was never so close to winning Becker as he was in 1989. And if Becker had stood up against Edberg, I would have believed him, Edberg showed a low performance in the finals. Edberg 89 looked more playable than Becker 86 or Cash 87. Do you agree?
     
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  2. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    I thought 87 was his best shot. But Cash was red hot....kinda came out of nowhere, clocking Wilander, Connors and Lendl in succession, no easy feat.
     
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  3. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Professional

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    All 3 very tough opponents and tough years for Lendl. Edberg might have been a little off in the 89 final, but he was red hot during the very late 80's and very early 90's, so this was pretty close to peak Edberg. (let's remember that he won Wimbledon the year before and the year after, not to mention making it to the French Open final in 1989! He just had an off-day against Becker)

    Edberg seemed to run in streaks. He wasn't as consistent day in and day out as Federer, for example. Very hot streak in 1991 US Open, probably some of his best tennis ever. Then defeated soundly by Courier at AO final just a few months after seriously trouncing him at US Open?!?
     
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  4. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    I think lendl himself said that was the closest he got was in 1989 against Becker, I think there was also a rain delay that shifted the momentum for Becker after that cost him...
    I personally think of 1990 as his best shot even tho edberg trounced him in the semis.. he put all his eggs in one basket that year skipping the clay court season for grass, using a bigger racquet, getting very comfortable in the surface, and winning Queens the week before beating Mac and Becker, but wasn't meant to be...
    Mac did end up being right when they asked about lendl's chances of winning W I think in '90, he said something like " I think if he practices a million years on grass he still won't win.. his game just isn't suited for it..."
     
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  5. Thomas195

    Thomas195 Semi-Pro

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    Actually before 2001, Wimbledon grass was faster than Queens. Lendl actually found it more comfortable with Queen grass.

    Likewise, Muster reached Queen SF despite not winning a single Wimbledon match.
     
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  6. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    It's hard for me to say which year was Lendl's best shot. I thought he won some darn good matches vs. really good grass court players in 1986 leading up to the finals. Becker handled 1986 better than some players do in his situation - going from the upstart out of no where to suddenly having the pressure of being the defending champion. He handled it beautifully. It didn't really catch up with him until 1987.

    Was it 1987 that Lendl handled Edberg in the semis? Edberg had already won the Australian, so that was a good win. He really should've beaten Cash. But Pat beat Lendl mentally as much as physically. He channeled his dislike for Ivan into a golden performance. On that one day Cash became a Wimbledon champion. And nothing before that day nor since really mattered ever again because he was a Wimbledon champion and a legitimate one. Instant forgiveness forever.

    The 1988 semis is where I thought Lendl was going to break through. He played such a great match. I'm sure Becker's respect for Lendl shot up enormously after that battle.

    But it was 1990 where Lendl really seemed ready to win it, and he showed it at Queen's Club destroying both Mac and Becker en route to the title. But he never looked that good during the 90 Wimbledon. And it all came crashing down around Ivan in the semis. I think that's the day his Wimbledon dream truly died.
     
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  7. Mainad

    Mainad Bionic Poster

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    Cash said that the only player he feared at that year's Wimbledon was Becker who was the 2 times defending champion until, in one of the biggest upsets ever at Wimbledon, Becker got taken out for him in the 2nd round by his fellow countryman, Peter Doohan (subsequently dubbed by the press, 'The Becker Wrecker').

    Of such ironic moments, history is often made! :cool:
     
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  8. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep. Lendl took out Edberg in four: 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-4.
     
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  9. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl's easiest run to the Wimbledon semi finals was in 1983, ironically. Lendl then lost a close 3-set match to McEnroe in the semi finals, with underdog Chris Lewis waiting in the final. I think this is what sowed the seeds for Lendl in convincing him that he could win Wimbledon. As each year passed, his obsession with winning Wimbledon grew, reaching its peak from 1989-1992. He gave everything, and it wasn't enough for him to win it.

    Regarding his Wimbledon finals of 1986 and 1987, Lendl had missed opportunities. In 1986, Becker was 0-40 down on serve late in the third set, giving Lendl set points. In 1987, while Cash was in peak form in the second set, Lendl led 4-1 and 5-2 against Cash in the third set. On both occasions, Becker and Cash got out of the holes and won the third sets, and won the match with it.

    The 1989 semi final against Becker was the most painful for Lendl though. Lendl was as close to tears as you'll see him at the end, shaking his head in frustration. Lendl had levelled the match at 1-1 in sets and then went two breaks up in the third set with huge momentum before there was a rain delay. When the match started again, the momentum was more in the balance, but Lendl won the third set and was briefly a break up in the fourth set (at 3-2, I think). Becker got out of that hole and won in 5 sets, and Lendl had a few frustrating line calls go against him too.

    1990 would have been incredibly frustrating for him too, because he played so amazingly good grass-court tennis at Queen's Club, and then failed to replicate his amazing Queen's Club form at Wimbledon. He was outplayed by Edberg in the semis at Wimbledon that year.
     
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  10. Xavier G

    Xavier G Professional

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    What year Lendl's best chance was, I'm not sure, but Ivan could be considered a little unlucky in continually running up against better grass-court players in his day. McEnroe, Connors, Becker a few times, Cash, Edberg.
    Leconte in hot mode took him out early one year too, I think.

    On those faster courts back then, Lendl's formidable and powerful, but slightly wooden and basic, natural baseline game was at a distinct disadvantage against the best serve-volleyers when you needed to be confident and comfortable at the net and quick reactions came in handy. Some of the players I've named covered those grass courts better than Lendl too and maybe the weight of trying to win there played on his mind as the years went on.

    He did try to develop his game to win at Wimbledon over time, but the elite grass court players back then were always his undoing in the latter stages.
    Tough era for Ivan.
     
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  11. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    1985 Wimbledon was when Leconte beat Lendl, which was a truly sensational performance by Leconte in the third and fourth sets. The number of forehand returns down the line was incredible. When Leconte was in that mood, he could make more methodical players like Lendl look silly. Lendl beat Leconte at 1987 Wimbledon, but it was still tough.

    Lendl was unfortunate at Wimbledon. He didn't get that bit of luck he needed. Everything within his power he tried.
     
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  12. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    That's basically it....he lost to a listing of grass court "all stars"....Leconte, well, when he was "on" he could be pretty amazing. Other than him, Ivan did lose to guys who were simply better, more comfortable on the turf.
     
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  13. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Hall of Fame

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    Ah... I find myself pining for an era in which more than a handful of players can be considered "all stars." That was certainly true in the 1980s.
     
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  14. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I think his true S&V style almost necessitated streaks. It's a hard style to pull off all the time. Baseliners can sort of take their time on an off day, work the point, find their groove, play more positioning shots. A serve and volleyer doesn't have as many options to work through it - unless they're someone with a huge serve and hit a lot of aces and service winners or draw a lot of weak return (someone like Sampras). Edberg had a very good serve, but not a huge serve. He had to hit that first volley more than someone like Sampras.
     
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  15. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Didn't Lendl at one point very consciously increase his amount of S&V on grass, basically coming in behind very first serve as if he was a natural S&Ver? If so, is that what gave him his best chances to win, or is it what doomed him from not winning, or really neither?
     
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  16. Olli Jokinen

    Olli Jokinen Rookie

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    He played S/V consistently since 1986 on grass.
     
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  17. Bukowski

    Bukowski Rookie

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    I didnt know that about Muster :eek:
     
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  18. Pheasant

    Pheasant Semi-Pro

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    1988 would have been Lendl’s best chance. The level at Wimbledon dropped off that year. However, Lendl was injured all year. He started off with a broken foot in February, which caused him to miss 2 months. He then pulled a thight muscle during the FO, which likely played a part in his blowout loss to a bum named Svensson. And then at Wimbledon, he strained a thigh muscle. And to top it all off, Lendl had separated cartilage in his tennis shoulder. He played the USO in extreme pain, yet somehow made it to thefinal. Later that month, he had shoulder surgery.

    I think that 1988 could have been Lendl’s year. But it wasn’t meant to be.
     
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  19. subban

    subban Rookie

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    Its a shame Lendl didn't get rid of the S & V and just play his baseline game but with maybe a different racquet with better technology to try to overpower the S & V players. I know when Cash finally switched over to a graphite racquet in '85 he finally started winning big matches on grass.
     
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  20. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    yes, we've debated this before re: Lendl. I was never keen on his switch to S&V, which he did not do in '83 or '84, yet reached the semis. Frankly, I think he would've been better off playing his normal game, maybe mixing in a little S&V , like Connors did. He just never seemed comfortable w/S&V. Just my humble opinion.
     
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  21. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    Lendl used a graphite racquet with a small head.
     
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