Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!?~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS~similiar to Goolagong# - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!?~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS~similiar to Goolagong#


LENDL remains somewhat of an enigma~ he doesn`t rate very high in the popularity stakes & surprisingly is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Agassi, McEnroe, Connors etc.

However if you take a thorough look at his career you`ll see that he was clearly one of the top 2-3 most successful players ever. In fact he made more slam finals than Sampras~> however he lost 11-Slam finals & some of them multiples times to the same old rivals^ especially Wilander & Becker did a good job of stalling Lendl`s march towards greatness ...Even the hot tempered Ringwood boy Pat Cash managed to deny Lendl the opportunity of the career slam [since he never won Wimby] !

Anyway here`s the question: WAS LENDL A CHOKER Also WHERE DOES HE RANK among the list of ALL TIME GREATS

Wins (8)
1984 French Open John McEnroe 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5
1985 U.S. Open John McEnroe 7-6, 6-3, 6-4
1986 French Open (2) Mikael Pernfors 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
1986 U.S. Open (2) Miloslav Mečíř 6-4, 6-2, 6-0
1987 French Open (3) Mats Wilander 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6
1987 U.S. Open (3) Mats Wilander 6-7, 6-0, 7-6, 6-4
1989 Australian Open Miloslav Mečíř 6-2, 6-2, 6-2
1990 Australian Open (2) Stefan Edberg 4-6, 7-6, 5-2 (retired)


Runner-ups (11)
1981 French Open Björn Borg 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
1982 U.S. Open Jimmy Connors 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
1983 Australian Open Mats Wilander 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
1983 U.S. Open Jimmy Connors 6-3, 6-7, 7-5, 6-0
1984 U.S. Open John McEnroe 6-3, 6-4, 6-1
1985 French Open Mats Wilander 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
1986 Wimbledon Boris Becker 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
1987 Wimbledon Pat Cash 7-6, 6-2, 7-5
1988 U.S. Open Mats Wilander 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
1989 U.S. Open Boris Becker 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6
1991 Australian Open Boris Becker 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4



It seems Evonne Goolagong was the female equivalent of Lendl--> she played in 18-Slam finals but only won 7-Slams & she lost nearly all of the close battles><...

Slam wins = 7
1971 French Open Helen Gourlay Cawley 6-3, 7-5
1971 Wimbledon Margaret Smith Court 6-4, 6-1
1974 Australian Open Chris Evert 7-6, 4-6, 6-0
1975 Australian Open (2) Martina Navrátilová 6-3, 6-2
1976 Australian Open (3) Renáta Tomanová 6-2, 6-2
1977 Australian Open (December) (4) Helen Gourlay Cawley 6-3, 6-0
1980 Wimbledon (2) Chris Evert 6-1, 7-6


Runner-ups = 11
1971 Australian Open Margaret Smith Court 2-6, 7-6, 7-5
1972 Australian Open Virginia Wade 6-4, 6-4
1972 French Open Billie Jean King 6-3, 6-3
1972 Wimbledon Billie Jean King 6-3, 6-3
1973 Australian Open Margaret Smith Court 6-4, 7-5
1973 U.S. Open Margaret Smith Court 7-6, 5-7, 6-2
1974 U.S. Open Billie Jean King 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
1975 Wimbledon Billie Jean King 6-0, 6-1
1975 U.S. Open Chris Evert 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
1976 Wimbledon Chris Evert 6-3, 4-6, 8-6
1976 U.S. Open Chris Evert 6-3, 6-0

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post #2 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 02:53 PM
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Re: ~~Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player!

He was DEFINITELY not a choker. He was one of the toughest players on the tour - perhaps the toughest of them all.

I think the main reason why he didn't won more slams is the very same reason why he's rarely mentioned amongst the very best ever despite staying at #1 forever and reaching more GS finals than anyone else: His top-level wasn't as fantastic as the true greats of the game. This is why he often lost to his opponents in GS finals where he'd usually play the very best playing at their best (otherwise they wouldn't have made the final).

Llendl was a very strong and stable player who would beat anyone NOT playing at their very very best. GS finals would be the one place where he'd meet someone great playing out of his mind.

Take someone like Sanchez-Vicario on the WTA tour. Although she didn't have anywhere near the power of Llendl, she was also a very very stable player who always made it to the finals or semifinals, but regularly lost to the true greats when it mattered (Graf & Seles mainly).
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post #3 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 03:00 PM
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Re: ~~Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player!

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He was DEFINITELY not a choker. He was one of the toughest players on the tour - perhaps the toughest of them all.

I think the main reason why he didn't won more slams is the very same reason why he's rarely mentioned amongst the very best ever despite staying at #1 forever and reaching more GS finals than anyone else: His top-level wasn't as fantastic as the true greats of the game. This is why he often lost to his opponents in GS finals where he'd usually play the very best playing at their best (otherwise they wouldn't have made the final).

Llendl was a very strong and stable player who would beat anyone NOT playing at their very very best. GS finals would be the one place where he'd meet someone great playing out of his mind.

Take someone like Sanchez-Vicario on the WTA tour. Although she didn't have anywhere near the power of Llendl, she was also a very very stable player who always made it to the finals or semifinals, but regularly lost to the true greats when it mattered (Graf & Seles mainly).
Couldn't disagree more. Lendl played the most modern game of all of them and had shots more pwerful and, if you will, just plain "better", than anyone else at the time. I'd say he had the highest maximum capacity of them - definitely not the lowest. It's obvious it was choking to some extent. He lost his first four, but once he finally broke through in that epic five-setter against McEnroe, he did okay.
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post #4 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 03:08 PM
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Re: ~~Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male pla

Interesting question. Lendl BECAME a great player and a champion. He should definitely be mentioned in the same league as Connors, McEnroe and Agassi as a player, his persona was different. Lendl came from Czechoslovakia as it was then, and must have had a different upbringing to the Americans, he wasn't brash, he let his tennis do the talking.

I was a Connors and Mac fan, so I didn't mind Lendl losing those early finals. I always thought he was a very good player who couldn't win on the big occasions, I guess you could call him a 'choker' to a certain degree. Lendl overcame that somewhat though and DID start to win the big tourneys. 8 GS is not a bad haul. Mac of course choked himself in the RG final 84 for Lendl's first GS win.

The fact that Lendl never won Wimbledon is the biggest knock against him when you look back at his career. He made finals and semis but always found someone better than him on grass when it came to it. Lendl was a very consistent player overall, regular tournament winner on the tour, clear no.1 for 3 straight years. 8 US finals in a row is outstanding.

I rate Lendl highly myself. He worked hard and made the most of his ability. All time he's a player to be considered a great in his day.

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post #5 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 03:18 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male play

I must say that Lendl's achievements are good. 8 GS is a pretty neat number, but, he made 19 GS finals, and won just 8 of them, so, yeah, that's tough. But the players he lost to, McEnroe, Connors and Becker were good players, they are legends. So, maybe it was a mixture of him choking a little plus opponents who made use of it and won the match. I'd say the only big blemish is him not winning Wimbledon.
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post #6 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

#@@#
BlueSwan, KaxMisha, Dancing Hero & trickcy~>> thanks a lot for all your thoughtful comments< To a certain degree I agree with everything that you guys said- even though that may mean some contradictions><.
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post #7 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 04:15 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

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#@@#
BlueSwan, KaxMisha, Dancing Hero & trickcy~>> thanks a lot for all your thoughtful comments< To a certain degree I agree with everything that you guys said- even though that may mean some contradictions><.
So you agree that Lendl wasn't as good at his maximum as the other greats of his era, while also agreeing that he had the highest maximum capacity pf them all? Well, if that works for you, I guess it's okay.
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post #8 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 04:18 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

Lendl was a choker and I mean before he has won his first GS, so many jokes on his person, caricatures atc.
I remember I say a document about him and most of the ATP former players really hated him (Noah atc.) because of his attitude and less sense of humour!
But great player and the best we ever had and may be ever will.
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post #9 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

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So you agree that Lendl wasn't as good at his maximum as the other greats of his era, while also agreeing that he had the highest maximum capacity pf them all? Well, if that works for you, I guess it's okay.

I agree that Lendl had a more complete power game & that in the majority of tournaments [other than Slams]~ he showed that he was the dominant player of the mid-to-late 1980`s ! However at times he did seem somewhat one-dimensional & unable to adjust his game at the crucial moments ...Which is why I believe players like Becker & Wilander were able to take advantage of him when the pressure was greatest~>> in the Slam Finals . However after losing his 1st four Slam finals Lendl managed to win 8 of the next 15~ so to a certain degree he overcame his choking ways .. Then again he ended on a bittersweet note~ winning the 1990 AO when Edberg retired hurt & then losing the next AO final 12-months later to Becker [after Ivan had taken the 1st set]~ that would prove to be his last major final

-->>> Surely I contradicted myself a few times there??

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post #10 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 04:39 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

Once Lendl won his first Slam, he did quite will in Slam finals. Also, Lendl was younger than both Connors and McEnroe, so losing his first Slam finals to them is understandable. He has a winning H-H with all the top players of his era except Edberg, which is somewhat surprising. Had Edberg not suffered a severe injury in that AO final he probably would have won it, in that he was totally dominating Ivan before the injury.
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post #11 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 04:50 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

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Runner-ups (11)
1981 French Open Björn Borg 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
1982 U.S. Open Jimmy Connors 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
1983 Australian Open Mats Wilander 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
1983 U.S. Open Jimmy Connors 6-3, 6-7, 7-5, 6-0
1984 U.S. Open John McEnroe 6-3, 6-4, 6-1
1985 French Open Mats Wilander 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
1986 Wimbledon Boris Becker 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
1987 Wimbledon Pat Cash 7-6, 6-2, 7-5
1988 U.S. Open Mats Wilander 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
1989 U.S. Open Boris Becker 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6
1991 Australian Open Boris Becker 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Of course - just look at all those clowns he lost to in Grand Slam finals...
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post #12 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 05:49 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male play

I seem to remember reading that Lendl won his I GS after winning 41 titles. Does anybody know if that's true? He's played 4 GS finals before winning his I GS. So, a conversion % uptil then of 20%. But overall % somewhere around 42%.
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post #13 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 05:58 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male play

He did play in the incredibly competative period. McEnroe (peak 81-84), Becker (peak 85-91) and Edberg (peak 88-92) all had their best periods during his era and Connors played some of his best tennis from 82-83. All won over 5 grand slams in their career, but Lendl's record was the best of this group.

The current greatness league of active players in order of achievements to date (a factual comparison rather than fan biased assessment):

Federer 17 GS, 6 Year End Masters, 24 Master Series.
Nadal 14 GS, 27 Master Series, 1 Olympic Gold.
Djokovic 9 GS, 4 Year End Masters, 24 Master Series.


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post #14 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-18-2006, 07:26 PM
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

It's been rightly noted that Lendl's career completely turned around after the '84 French final against McEnroe. He became an extremely mentally strong player after that breakthrough Slam win.

I don't know if choker is the proper term for his early career performance. I would call it more of a tanker, particularly his losses to Connors at the '82 and '83 US Opens. He was already a better player than Connors in both of those years, but he just went away in both matches once Connors nudged ahead. Those pathetic showings really soured me on Lendl, but he made a remarkable transformation midway through his career

Lendl had some very interesting comments during the Canadian Masters event this summer. He spent a few games in the booth with PMac on ESPN's coverage and spoke about his daughter's golf game, and how it wasn't so important how she was doing in competitions, but how it was far more important for her to learn how to control her mind and deal with executing under pressure. He then related that to his mental development in his tennis career, and what a huge role the mind plays in professional tennis and golf.

As for his losses post '84 French, I think in most cases he just lost to the better player that day, and in the case of Wimbledon, players that were just better on that surface.
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post #15 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: #Was LENDL the biggest CHOKER?!? ~Ivan made the MOST slam FINALS of any male player~!

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It's been rightly noted that Lendl's career completely turned around after the '84 French final against McEnroe. He became an extremely mentally strong player after that breakthrough Slam win.

I don't know if choker is the proper term for his early career performance. I would call it more of a tanker, particularly his losses to Connors at the '82 and '83 US Opens. He was already a better player than Connors in both of those years, but he just went away in both matches once Connors nudged ahead. Those pathetic showings really soured me on Lendl, but he made a remarkable transformation midway through his career

Lendl had some very interesting comments during the Canadian Masters event this summer. He spent a few games in the booth with PMac on ESPN's coverage and spoke about his daughter's golf game, and how it wasn't so important how she was doing in competitions, but how it was far more important for her to learn how to control her mind and deal with executing under pressure. He then related that to his mental development in his tennis career, and what a huge role the mind plays in professional tennis and golf.

As for his losses post '84 French, I think in most cases he just lost to the better player that day, and in the case of Wimbledon, players that were just better on that surface.

Wow Pigpen Stinks ~ Thanks very much!!
That`s a great post of yours & I really appreciate the insights you had about his comments regarding the mental side of the game

As for choking~ yeah those two losses to Connors in the 1982 & 1983 US Open finals kind of stand out as tank jobs~ with the way he finished in those finals... I guess Connors working of the New York crowd really worked ! As for the Wimbledon losses~ considering it wasn`t his best surface I guess it`s admirable that he atleast was able to make the finals there in back-to-back years
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