I took the best bits and posted in the stupid interview thread, but here it is in full.
Q. Ivan, is this a true story: Last year ‑‑
IVAN LENDL: Probably not (laughter).
Q. Last year, when Serena Williams got a very poor call against Jennifer Capriati and the USTA apologized to her publicly, you phoned the tournament and said, "What about an apology for my call in 1991?"
IVAN LENDL: Yeah, that is a true story (laughing).
Q. You were kidding.
IVAN LENDL: I was kidding, yes. But I found it very strange.
Q. What year was it that that called happened?
IVAN LENDL: I got bad calls every match, and I never got an apology. So I thought it was rather strange.
Q. Who was it that you phoned?
IVAN LENDL: Oh, I called Jim Curley just to bust his chops a little bit. I figured he just works too hard, doesn't laugh very much during these weeks, so I figured I'd give him something to chuckle about.
Q. Did he call you back and have a funny response?
IVAN LENDL: Oh, yeah, he always does. We know each other for a long time, so...
Q. How did you feel when you learned about this particular ceremony out here today?
IVAN LENDL: Nice shirt.
Q. Thank you.
IVAN LENDL: Color suits you well.
Q. Nice to have you back, as well (laughing).
IVAN LENDL: Well, obviously, it's great honor. I mean, this is a tournament I have always played well at, and probably my best Grand Slam. So it's great honor, and looking forward to it.
Q. What was the greatest moment you had in your career?
IVAN LENDL: I'm sorry?
Q. The greatest moment you had in your career, your greatest tournament.
IVAN LENDL: I don't really know. I never think about it too much. And people always say, well, when I beat John at the French Open in '84, is that the best moment? I say, no, it's not, and it's not the worst either, of course.
I always say each Grand Slam for the first time is more special than the others. I'm not going to put US Open above the Australian or the French above the US Open. I'm not going to do one or the other. Every time I won the Grand Slam for the first time, it's more special than the others, and the ones behind that were not too shabby either. They were very enjoyable.
Q. What do you think of how Andre Agassi has been able to extend the life of his career and what he's doing now?
IVAN LENDL: Well, it's phenomenal, of course. You know, you can sit down and think about why, but why bother with it? It's just fantastic. He's a great player. He is hitting the ball extremely well. Hopefully he has a lot more left in him.
Q. If he somehow finds a way to win this match today, can you try to put into perspective his place in history?
IVAN LENDL: That's why you guys are here.
Q. Did you expect that he could do so well? I remember back in '89 when you said if you had a child, a son, you would rather have maybe Pete Sampras son than an Andre Agassi. You said that at the Masters in New York. They are very different?
IVAN LENDL: I think if you look at Andre then and now, you look at two different models. Of course it's personal preference, I think Andre now is a great role model for the kids. He has started training differently than he was before, and so on and so on.
As I said, he's phenomenal, fantastic.
Q. So he changed a lot?
IVAN LENDL: I believe so.
Q. From what you expected at that time?
IVAN LENDL: I believe so, yes.
Q. A lot of people say Federer is the most talented guy ever. Do you agree with that?
IVAN LENDL: He's certainly ‑ how would I put it? ‑ he's certainly right up there. You could look at some other players who were extremely talented, but I think you have to ‑‑ you can very safely say he's one of the most talented players who is producing the wins which are expected of those talented players. Because there were some talented players and they never produced, in terms of records, what he's producing right now.
Clearly, I think the popular opinion is he's not done with what he's doing (smiling).
Q. What do you think of Rafael Nadal?
IVAN LENDL: I have never seen him play. I don't know much about him, but from the results, I think it could be quite interesting to see over the next few years between Federer and Nadal and maybe Roddick, Hewitt, Safin and so on and so on.
But I think he's going to be tough to beat on clay over the next few years.
Q. You never watched him on TV?
IVAN LENDL: I saw part of the matches, the semis of the French and the finals of Key Biscayne.
Q. What about Blake's comeback?
IVAN LENDL: I'm sorry?
Q. Blake, James Blake.
IVAN LENDL: Oh, Blake's comeback. I thought you were talking about mine, wow (laughing). It was scary thought.
Again, I think it's great. I think to overcome adversity like that, many times you come back better. It's great that he's back and playing well.
Q. Do you miss Czechoslovakia at all? Do you ever go back?
IVAN LENDL: Well, I don't, from Italy, you should know, it's Czech Republic and Slovakia. There's two countries now.
Q. Still Czech. Say Czech Republic then.
IVAN LENDL: Yeah, every now and then. I haven't been back in a while. I have not been back in about four years. It just gets very difficult with the kids' golf schedules during the summer. I just travel all the time. And I was just looking at the schedules now and starting the first week of October I will be every weekend with somebody at tournaments through Christmas. So it gets very difficult to just go away and not do that.
Q. Who's more talented: You in tennis, or your daughter in golf?
IVAN LENDL: Well, which one?
Q. This is what I ask. Is the oldest the better one?
IVAN LENDL: Well, they all have certain talents. You know, if you talk about hands, that's one talent. Hard work is talent as well. I think they all have certain talents. It's just the question is how can you calculate it and produce ‑‑ or make it come out so they can produce the best results with what they have.
Q. They are better than you on grass.
IVAN LENDL: I don't know. They still haven't beaten me from the same tees.
IVAN LENDL: Hi, Cindy. I saw somebody who knew you the other day. Somebody said they knew Cindy Schmerler; I turned around and ran (laughter).
Q. Funny. I do the same things with you. Are you as tough on your girls as your parents were on you? And, secondly, do they play any tennis?
IVAN LENDL: They don't play any tennis, that's the easy part.
I don't know, it's hard to tell. They tell me they want to be the best, so I try to show them what it takes. That's all. And sometimes you have to use your judgment, sometimes you step down hard, and sometimes you just let something go because you think the time for it isn't right so...
Q. Roger Federer, from what you've seen in degree of difficulty to play against, can you compare and contrast some of the people you played against?
IVAN LENDL: No. Because if you wanted to do that, you would have to be on the court against him to feel that ball. It's very easy to sit back and say, well, you could have done this, you could have done that. Unless you have been on that court and feel how that balls feels coming to you off the serve, off the forehand, how low the backhand stays and how hard it is to recognize where he is going with the shots, you should really not be making those comparisons.
Q. How about as far as completeness goes, being able to make shots and doing everything well?
IVAN LENDL: Well, I don't see any glaring weaknesses, let's put it that way.
But to be fair, if you take players from my era to now, the game has changed and the players have many more shots. They use them differently than we did. The speed of the game has changed. Stamina is not as big of a factor as quickness and strength right now because the points are much shorter, whether it is because the boys are bigger and stronger or it is because the balls and racquets; you can argue that for as long as you want.
So there are ‑‑ the players are more complete players now than they were 20 years ago, there's no question about that.
Q. Going back to before '84, you obviously had some problems in the Grand Slam finals. Did you ever have any doubts that you would break through, and what was the key to breaking through and having a good run?
IVAN LENDL: Well, I didn't ‑‑ I wouldn't say I had problems in Grand Slam finals; I had problems, period, with certain players. I had trouble beating John at that time. I was way down in the matches with Jimmy.
So what I did is I sat down and looked at it and says, "What do I need to do to get better so I can overtake them?" I was between 2 and 3 in the world for two, three years. That's not exactly where I wanted to be.
So in order to get better, you have to figure out how you're going to get better. So I worked on that and I took care of it.
Q. Specifically, was it the fitness and condition?
IVAN LENDL: Well, quickness. Mainly quickness. Because in order to beat Jimmy, I had to get around the ball a little bit quicker so I wasn't always on defensive and catching the ball on last stride, that I had little more time. Once I was able to get little bit quicker, then it has helped me a lot.
Q. You play tennis every now and then?
IVAN LENDL: I played first time in nine years about three weeks ago.
Q. How did you play? Horrible?
IVAN LENDL: Was interesting (smiling).
Q. Why did you decide to play?
IVAN LENDL: I auctioned an hour of my time for a charity.
Q. That's what they wanted to do?
IVAN LENDL: That was the only reason I played, yes.
Q. I just wanted to ask you about what Tony Roche brought to the latter stages of your tennis career. Secondly, what you think he might be able to help Roger with through his consultancy.
IVAN LENDL: Well, I think Tony was ‑‑ we never really worked on any technique too much ‑ very little, if any. But Tony was fantastic at getting my feet going well. He always was concerned about my rhythm and timing of my feet. As I just said, when I moved well, you can't ‑‑ you know it better than anyone, if you don't get to the shot, I don't care how good you are, you can't hit it properly.
And so he was concerned about me being in good position so I can hit any shot I choose to hit at that time from what I had.
And I'm sure he's doing the same thing with Roger; we never discuss it, what he does with Roger, because it's none of my business, that's between the two of them and I don't want to get involved.
But he is fantastic at that. He just has the feel, how much you should move, if your timing is right, and so on and so on. He was great at preparing me for the majors.
Q. About Federer and talent, would you say you feel sometimes it's more difficult to be successful when you're too talented than successful when you're less talented?
IVAN LENDL: Did I say that?
Q. No, no. It's a question I ask.
IVAN LENDL: Oh, you're saying that.
Q. That talent can be dangerous.
IVAN LENDL: I think talent is dangerous to have if you take it for granted. If you use it well and put hard work with it together, it's hard to catch that guy. And I think that's what you're seeing right now.
Just like you can talk about Tiger Woods, how much talent he has and how much work he puts into it, and he's tough to beat. Same thing with Roger.
Q. Going back again, 25 years ago, you make your debut in Davis Cup tie in Argentina against Vilas and Clerc. It was surprise for us because you beat them.
IVAN LENDL: You didn't like that (laughter)?
Q. How do you remember that tie?
IVAN LENDL: Well, actually, there are few things that I remember about that tie. Obviously, winning. My friendship with Jose Luis. We came there, it was really cold, he brought us jackets. A really good, nice gesture on his part.
Funny people never talk about that, I think that was ‑‑ certainly early on it was one of my biggest achievements, and it may have stayed that way because I had never beaten either Guillermo or Jose Luis. To beat them in Argentina at that tie for the first time, it was very special. It was certainly unexpected. I always think very sort of fondly of that tie.
Q. Between former tennis players, who do you think is the best golfer? Maybe now Kafelnikov is a good competitor?
IVAN LENDL: Well, I don't know how good Yevgeny is. I saw the scores from the Moscow Open.
But it's very difficult, I can tell you ‑ I played the Czech Open a few times ‑ and it's very difficult just to go on to a scene where the course is prepared differently ‑ when the greens are fast and he's not used to it and they're hard as a rock and he's not used to it.
So I have seen the scores. I wouldn't say I'm better than him because I know how difficult that is, and if you not used to it, your scores go up by seven, ten shots just like that because of the conditions of the golf course.
But there is easy way to find out, isn't there (smiling)? I'm still competitive, I promise that.
Q. Although you said you wouldn't put the French or the Australian or the U.S., one over the other, I think a lot of us that were here in those days probably thought you becoming the US Open champion was probably the biggest achievement for you to do. What is your abiding memory of that day and winning the US Open here in New York?
IVAN LENDL: Well, again, that was just the tie in Argentina. It was a little unexpected because I was clearly the underdog to John at that time. He has beaten me twice that summer. He was ahead in the first set, had a set point. I was able to save that set point, I believe, with a passing shot. And then take the match.
And two things I remember from that: A, that it was little bit unexpected, and, B, once I got a first set and a break, how great I felt on the court. I felt like I was really sort of flowing on the court.
It's a feeling which everybody strives for and it's extremely difficult to get at all times. You can get a certain extent of it. But that day it was right up there.
Q. To have it against McEnroe on this particular court here.
IVAN LENDL: Yeah, you get into, you want to call it a zone or whatever, or subzone, below that, you can get into the subzone a lot. To get into the zone fully, it's very special on any given day. I have done that few times. But to get into the zone on a big occasion is truly special. That day certainly was it, especially after the first half of the first set.
Q. Do you remember just big Slams, big wins, or also the small tournaments, the minor tournaments you played? Do you remember also the small details, or you have forgotten about them?
IVAN LENDL: I still remember some. I try to forget some of them, I promise. Your buddy Camporese still probably remembers I had two matchpoint on him in Rotterdam, and I didn't like losing that.
But I remember some. Some of them slip.
Q. You don't remember, for instance, when you had to travel all the night and then reach a tournament in Florence and you had to ‑‑ I had to ask to a player to wait for you in order to make you play. And then you won.
IVAN LENDL: No, I don't remember that one, no.
IVAN LENDL: But thank you (smiling).
Q. Can you relate at all to Kim? She lost four major finals before finally winning last night.
IVAN LENDL: No, the games are so different and the times are different. You know, you just go out there, do your best. Sometimes it's good enough and sometimes it is, and sometimes it stays your only one and sometimes you win bunch others behind it.
Many times the players get in there and it's just about as well as they could have done, and other times they get in there and they favorites and they don't win.
So I don't know what her situation was in terms of should she have won more or not, that's hard to judge. But let's see what happens in the future.
Q. As little as you are involved in tennis right now, can you take special pride in this honor?
IVAN LENDL: Oh, absolutely. As I said, it's the Grand Slam where I probably had the best record and from all the four Grand Slams for me. It's great honor.
Q. You had a great rivalry with John. You saw his fiery personality up close a lot. Does it ever surprise you to see what he's evolved into now, being the commentator on all the networks, former Davis Cup captain? Does it seem like a natural progression or does it sometimes surprise you?
IVAN LENDL: It must be natural for him, yes. I know I couldn't do it. I just couldn't sit that long. It just would drive me crazy.
But John does a great job on television. I think he is one of the very few guys who really see the match out there the way it is. As long as he enjoys it, that's all what counts.
Q. Ivan, when Andre ‑‑
IVAN LENDL: Are they allowed to move from side to side
(referring to the journalists)? (Laughter).
Q. When Andre was young, you famously said with some humor or insight that ‑‑
IVAN LENDL: I have no humor, so disregard that.
Q. Yes, you do ‑‑ that he was a forehand and a haircut. Have you been surprised about his change, and how do you think he did?
IVAN LENDL: I'm not sure where you're heading with that, with his ‑‑
Q. His change as a man.
IVAN LENDL: As I said earlier, yes, I think he has worked on his game, he has worked on his fitness, and he is a great role model. It's great to see that he's still playing well, yes.
Q. How do you see the future and the present for the Czech tennis?
IVAN LENDL: Good question. I'm sorry, I have no idea (smiling).
Q. On first Sunday of July, looking for ‑‑
IVAN LENDL: This year?
Q. Usually in the last years, "Breakfast at Wimbledon."
IVAN LENDL: Oh, okay.
Q. Always looking for that, maybe have a good breakfast, you never won Wimbledon, so might be a nightmare for you?
IVAN LENDL: Actually, you will be surprised. I don't lose any sleep over that. I don't make a habit of watching tennis matches, but I try to watch all the major finals. I try to make time for that. So unless I have something going with the kids where I can't, I try to watch, and I enjoy that.
You see, I think the point ‑‑ two points I should really make is when I'm saying that, that this tournament is probably the best record among the four Grand Slams I have had, the reason I'm saying that is because in England, getting to finals twice and semis on five other occasions, it was much harder for me than winning here. And so, you know, yes, I would have liked to
won. No, I don't lose any sleep over it. And, yes, I'm very proud of the record.
Q. Can you give me your opinion about Coria and Nalbandian, please.
IVAN LENDL: Well, I think they're tough competitors, from very little I have seen on them, of them.
You don't get to be where they are by not being great players either, so they're great players, great competitors. I'm sorry, that's about all I know. They play right‑handed (smiling).
Q. Before you said that your children want to become best in their sport. Are you ever afraid that if you try to be best in one sport, you miss a lot of other, let's say, opportunities or...
IVAN LENDL: Such as? Such as? Sitting by the mall smoking (smiling)?
Q. Well, what's wrong with smoking?
IVAN LENDL: A lot.
Q. ...different sports. To get a more balanced life. Today, sports is much more demanding than it was 20 years ago maybe.>
IVAN LENDL: Yes, well, I think you have to give them their freedom as well. If you go to school and practice for five days a week, it still gives you two days you can go and see your friends, you can go to the movies, you do whatever you like to do.
I'm certainly not sorry that there were some things I missed. You may think you're missing something at that time but later when you look at it, you didn't miss anything.
Q. With Wimbledon, what do you think was your best opportunity? Was it the year you lost to Becker in the semis?>
IVAN LENDL: I think you're right of whatever year that was. I think that may have been '89 or '88, I'm not sure.
IVAN LENDL: '89, I was two sets to one up and had a break, I think. That's the year you're talking about?
IVAN LENDL: Yes, I think that was.
But, again, to say that, it's little bit unfair to Stefan. Because, you know, when you say that, it almost sounds like saying, "Yeah, I would have beaten Stefan." Well, that's certainly not a foregone conclusion, but I think that it was the best I felt on grass with a transition game where I was moving forward the best out of all the years I played, that year.
Q. The early '80s are remembered, I guess, as a ‑‑
IVAN LENDL: I'm sorry, start over.
Q. The early '80s.
IVAN LENDL: The early '80s, yes. Your accent throws me off (smiling).
Q. It was a time of really strong, almost bitter rivalries at the top of men's tennis. What happens now when you run into McEnroe, Connors around the tournaments?
IVAN LENDL: I haven't seen Jimmy in I don't know how long. I have seen John the other day for the first time probably in ‑‑ since he retired.
So nothing really happens. No fist fights break (smiling). Just normal two guys who pretty much respect each other, how good they were.
Q. Did you read John McEnroe's book?
IVAN LENDL: No, I did not.
Q. He talks about you.
IVAN LENDL: No, I did not.
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