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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl
By RAY McNULTY
February 22, 2007

OK, I'll admit it: I wasn't much of an Ivan Lendl fan.
Not back when.
Not when I first started to care about tennis, back in the late 1970s, which, really, makes me no different than most American tennis fans of my generation.
There was Jimmy Connors. There was John McEnroe. There was The Cold War.
And Lendl was on the other side.
Or so we thought.
"People didn't understand," Lendl was saying earlier this week from his winter home in Vero Beach, Fla., "that we hated the (Soviet) system more than they did."
Didn't understand.
Didn't care, either.
Lendl was from Czechoslovakia, a communist country. He spoke with an Eastern Bloc accent we didn't trust. He was one of them in an us against them world.
It didn't matter that he chose to live among us, or that he preferred our way of life so much that he became a U.S. citizen in 1992. We still rooted for the other guy, especially if the other guy was one of ours.
When Lendl played against Connors or McEnroe in a U.S. Open final, he was the visiting team.
But he refused to go away.
He started beating Connors, beating McEnroe, beating everyone the game put in front of him. He worked harder, hit harder, played harder. He climbed to the top of the tennis world and stayed there until Father Time served him off the court.
And, eventually, he won so much for so long that he won us over.
"Sometimes, it takes awhile before people realize you're not what they thought you were," said Lendl, who was enshrined in the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001 after a career in which he reached 19 Grand Slam finals, won eight of them and held the No. 1 ranking for a then-record 270 weeks.
Now, Lendl, who retired in 1994 and will turn 47 next month, is a respected and admired champion.
He doesn't play tennis any more - "The last time I played for pleasure was 10 years ago," he said - but he keeps up with the sport. He thinks Roger Federer is playing the best tennis ever. He was not surprised by this week's news that Federer had tied Connors' record of 160 consecutive weeks with the No. 1 ranking.
"I'm not sure that's news," said Lendl, who held the No. 1 ranking for 157 consecutive weeks from 1985-88. "He might have all the records before he's done."
Don't, however, try to tell Lendl it was tougher in his time than it is for Federer now.
True, Lendl's losses in Grand Slam finals came against the likes of Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Wilander, Becker and Cash. But Federer's dominance, he said, has nothing to do with an absence of fitting foes.
"He's just so much better than those other guys," Lendl said. "If he wasn't there, you'd have four or five guys with four or five majors. But he gobbles them all up."
Lendl wasn't as smooth as Federer, didn't have as many weapons, didn't look as pretty on the court. But he was every bit the warrior.
"I wanted to win every match," he said, "every tournament."
He's still competitive today, albeit on the golf course. And if you see him there, wave or say hello. He's not the cold, impersonal robot we thought he was. He's not the enemy. He's a nice guy and a good neighbor.
It's a shame, really, that America didn't embrace his greatness and appreciate his effort until it was so late in the game. But he holds no grudge.
"When I retired," Lendl said, "my coach, Tony Roche, told me: 'The older you get, the better you were.'"

Source: http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/other_sp...373348,00.html
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 11:36 AM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Great article thanks

Lendl was definitely one of the most misunderstood players in the modern era.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 11:40 AM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Well the media love him now, cause he doesn't play.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

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I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 11:44 AM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

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Originally Posted by Eden View Post
"He's just so much better than those other guys," Lendl said. "If he wasn't there, you'd have four or five guys with four or five majors. But he gobbles them all up."

Lendl is obviously capable of understanding simple math, unlike some people here on MTF.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 01:58 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

lendl is the truth, he joins the large group of legends saying Federer is heading to become GOAT without dissing his opponents.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 02:58 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

I always believed Lendl had a lot more class than a lot of his bratty opponents... and here he shows it again.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 03:33 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Lendl seemed to be under-appreciated back in his prime because other players had 'bigger' profiles, Mac and Jimbo. Then Boris emerged on the scene. Mac and Connors were stars before Lendl and were more established. Becker made a big splash with winning Wimbledon at 17 as an virtual unknown to many people. Lendl got on with the tennis in a quieter manner and that was his way, his style. I rooted for Mac and Connors against Lendl myself, but that's personal preference. Lendl was always a player to be respected as his record shows.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 03:58 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Lendl, showed those drunken yuppie fuck-ups how it's done in the Stockholm Open final 89.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 04:53 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

**
Never really liked Lend`s personality
...
But as a player you have to respect the guy, he certainly is right up there with the all-time greatest players & his competitiveness/professionalism gives him a unique aura that`s hard to explain...

Lets face it he was never going to win any popularity contests
...
However how can we argue with:
*19 Slam finals
*8-straight USO finals
*5-TMC
*10-years + at the top
*94-titles on all surfaces
...
He was a little unlucky in some of the Slam finals he played, especially losing tough matches to Wilander!!!... Lendl was too good to be a choker & yet had he won just a couple more Slams he`d definitely figure prominently in the GOAT talk...
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 06:27 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

I liked him from the start. McNulty is just showing us what a fool he is and how some people´s feeble minds work. I don´t think I ever once thought Lendl represented the enemy. It was only tennis.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-25-2007, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Quote:
Originally Posted by CmonAussie
Never really liked Lend`s personality
...
But as a player you have to respect the guy, he certainly is right up there with the all-time greatest players & his competitiveness/professionalism gives him a unique aura that`s hard to explain...

Lets face it he was never going to win any popularity contests
...
However how can we argue with:
*19 Slam finals
*8-straight USO finals
*5-TMC
*10-years + at the top
*94-titles on all surfaces
...
He was a little unlucky in some of the Slam finals he played, especially losing tough matches to Wilander!!!... Lendl was too good to be a choker & yet had he won just a couple more Slams he`d definitely figure prominently in the GOAT talk...
I agree with you

Lendl always gets a bit overlooked in the discussion of the best players ever, but I think everything would be different when he would have won Wimbledon once.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-25-2007, 10:24 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

I know plenty of folks - especially tennis coaches - who very much appreciated Lendl throughout his career. In fact, I've never met a coach who didn't like Lendl. Has there ever been a better backhand than Lendl's? Awesome player even if he was a bit stubborn at times.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 12:44 PM
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Was Ivan Lendl under-rated?

Underrated by the general tennis intelligentsia, the commentators,fans of today,internet forums

Atleast i think that his name is not taken in the same breath as John Mc,Connors or Borg.His name is not taken that much when you are referring to the greats of an era. Alright he has been inducted in Hall of fame etc but definitely Connors,McEnroe find more mention than him.

For a guy who has won 8 GS and was in 19 Slam Finals. Maybe with a conversion rate of a Federer he could have been a GOAT.

Why because lack of Charisma ? Or being an Easter European wanted down to settle in States? Didnt smile enough on the court? Was Robotic ? Lack of Plan B? Why
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 01:03 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonE View Post
Great article thanks

Lendl was definitely one of the most misunderstood players in the modern era.
Also, one of the very best and underrated.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 01:04 PM
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Re: Tennis fans finally come around to Lendl

It strange really to find why the crowd always rooted for whoever was against Lendl. If they wanted so much of a drama on court why dont they go to a Cinema. The height was when the crowd was rooting for out of all one Michael Chang in the French Open.
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